A Conversation About the Panthers Season and a Panthers - Bucs Preview

Editors Note: My apologies to Scatterbrain for altering the title dramatically but I thought he had some good stuff in his post I thought needed to be on FP.

I haven't been able to get my hands or eyes on the tape of the Tampa Bay game, but I do have some video that we can go over... also, I have a few things for you guys to consider :)

First off: People are saying that we should go 3-13 rather than 5-11... I am completely against this. All of the logic aside about gaining confidence for our young players (and our new head coach), I need to point out the most significant reason of all: The next four games are against teams IN OUR CONFERENCE. It would be tremendous to take two of those games (We could sweep Tampa, and steal the season-ender against New Orleans!), and perhaps we could get one out of Houston.

Wins against our rivals, you guys don't think that would be huge for us? I'm not rooting for any single player in the draft, which means I'm not particular to any certain spot. I am not rooting for any draft pick or player, I am rooting for the Panthers. They're not here for the draft, they are here for the games. 4 of the next 5 games are against rivals... Of course I'm rooting for them to win all these games.

Secondly: The season of 2010 had a trend: losing bad. Baaaaaaaaad. There's a new trend: Losing close. By a touchdown, a field goal, or losing the game in the last five minutes. People are going to complain about the Indy game, but that's the progression: losing bad, losing close, winning close, winning good. I have no problem with that game or with the score.

Third: The Tampa Game...

We will start here:

The first play is a kick return that gets no blocks, easy pressure. Nothing much to say here. Their return man is Sammie Stroughter, out of Oregon St. He had a kick return of 97 yards in the 2009 season against our Panthers, so we should be weary of him. That is his only kick return, and he's only had one receiving touchdown. No yards or receptions this year, though. Here are his stats this year

Returns Yards Average Long TDs

13 381 29.3 78 0

I really don't have the vocabulary to do recaps, so realize i'm doing the best I can lol...

The next section of the video is the Bucs first and 10 after that KR. They hand to Blount, who gets a good block from a DB blitz, and gets about 7 yards. Then it shows 2nd and 3, where Freeman has the option to run, and does. He picks up the first down; so you can see he's still dangerous. Another Blount run for 6/7 yards... I think our defense has somewhat of an advantage in that it practices against this offense, basically. We have the same options of that running back and our quarter(running)back. Still, I expect Tampa to get at least 2 touchdowns!

Here are some enlightening segments of an article

After he slowly stripped down to his tattered white sleeveless undershirt, Buccaneers left tackle Donald Penn sat down in front of his locker at LP Field late Sunday afternoon and quickly stripped Tampa Bay's season down to two simple words.

"Turnovers and penalties," Penn said flatly. "That's the story of our season."

They were certainly the story Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, who took advantage of two critical Bucs penalties and five turnovers to rally for a 23-17 victory that extended Tampa Bay's losing streak to five games.

After five plays, including three runs for 30 yards by LeGarrette Blount, took the Bucs from their own 20-yard line to the Titans 26, two penalties – holding against tight end Kellen Winslow and a false start against guard Jeremy Zuttah – left them in a first-and-25 hole from which they never recovered.

"We were driving, we were running the ball and running it well and really taking care of them up front, and a couple of costly penalties just really set us back again," Faine said.

The defense also held strong after each of the Bucs' giveaways, allowing the Titans just two field goals on the five series that followed the four fumbles and one Freeman interception.

"The only reason we were even in the game is because our defense played lights out and created some turnovers and did some things to give us opportunities," Faine said. "We just didn't capitalize and execute."

The highlights...Link here

Blount has a great run in their first offensive set, where he literally hurdles one of the defenders. This guy is our Number 1 concern this Sunday! (Look at the defender though, it looks as if he spears himself to Blount... isn't that illegal?)

Next play is a trick KR, where the returner laterals it to a man going to the opposite side of the field. I wonder if we'll see any trick plays? Might as well, it's not as if we're in the hunt.

The next play is with Tampa on defense, with 10 men on the LoS. Tennessee would screen, and it SHOULD have been a play for a lot of yards, but Barber strips the runner of the ball. I'm not too worried about this with Olsen, Shockey, Stew, and D-Will. I think Shockey will be ready to play this game, too. He'll be energized.

The next one is Hasselbeck getting picked off by Talib on a lazy pass. It was a great play by Talib, but I think H-Beck could have protected that ball better. I don't remember too many short crossing routes by our Panthers, so I don't think we have to be concerned. But Cam will need to be on his game, or else he will have a turnover. I think he'll have one interception, but I think our O-Line will be good to him. No fumbles, one sack.

We have a great run by Chris Johnson, which makes me confident about our RBs. Johnson makes a great cutback about two seconds after the snap, makes a LB miss, and is off to the endzone. Tackling will be key in this game, because we've all seen what Blount can do to our guys!

Next is 4th and 1, and I really think the Bucs should have pressured here. They pull one D-Lineman back to coverage, and send a LB on a wide blitz. I don't like it, and initially you're only pressuring with 3. This is why I thin Cam will have a lot of time... They'll need to put two on Smitty, which hopefully means LaFell (GIVE THE MAN THE START) will have many opportunities, as will our TEs.

We see a terribly lazy throw by Freeman, which is Intercepted. I think we can cause some turnovers, but they'll have to be through the air. Freeman is on a 5 game losing streak, so I think he won't be as confident as he could be. The Titans send 5 men, and a LB gets some great pressure from the right side (the offense's right side). He pushes his man back, which makes Freeman throw. It was only 2nd and 10, and he did have a man about 2 yards beyond the LoS to dump it off to. I think Cam will have to be patient, and pick up what he can. Also, we need to get our running backs into the game early. That is how we will win, with big running plays. That will bring in the DBs a bit.

Next the Titans rush 3, pull everyone into coverage. This is a big passing play from Freeman to Mike Williams... again, we will need to pressure Freeman. Williams has four people around him, so this looks to be terrible coverage. There are two players here I am looking at, the safety who is ten yards behind, and a LB who is ten yards in front and jumps for the ball.

The last play is a 3rd and 10 completion for 9 yards, but they have no timeouts. I really think tampa would have won this game if that ball was spotted as a first down. We need to put this team away early in the 4th quarter, because Freeman is pretty good in the 2-minute drill (at least, here he was doing good).

That's about it. I hope this gives everyone a good idea about this upcoming game!! :)

My prediction... Carolina 31 Tampa Bay 20

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