Little Panther Foo Foo was prowling through the forest, attempting to pick up football teams and grind them in the dirt. In his first three weeks, Little Panther Foo Foo was accosted by a Pirate, a Fallen Angel, and an Ogre (Who smelt suspiciously like Parfait, ruining an entire category of desert). Little Panther Foo Foo came out of those encounters with very little success, believe it or not. In fact, the encounters with the Pirate and the malodorous Ogre had more in common with a Japanese porno than a western fairy tale, although, admittedly, those two things also have a lot in common. What I’m trying to say is we got straight screwed as fans of the Carolina Panthers.
This week I am again going to attempt to accurately simulate our weekend match-up. The last weeks I was somewhat accurate in that I, too, developed game plans that I was unwilling to adjust throughout the game.
However, it seems that there is more than just an inflexible game plan standing in our way every week, this something more is not within my ability to simulate perfectly and so I must find other ways to accommodate this element of randomness. To wit I have decided, as I mentioned last week, to change my number 1, overall, inviolable, permanent, uncircumventable rule of ‘No Shenanigans’ to the more expansive, accommodating, less discriminatory-towards-the-Irish rule of ‘Yes, Shenanigans!’.
For the game this means that every fourth down must be a fake of some kind, every play on every down must involve some kind of misdirection. An example series could look something like the following:
1st and 10, Panthers 20: Cam Newton play action pass to Greg Olsen incomplete.
2nd and 10, Panthers 20: Jonathan Stewart draw for 5 yards.
3rd and 5, Panthers 25: Fake 99 yard Field Goal, Brad Nortman pass intended for Armanti Edwards intercepted by Akeem Dent, returned 33 Yards. Touchdown Atlanta Falcons.
In addition, our defense has been porous as shit at the most inopportune times. To facilitate this in my scientific experiment I shall do my best to call inappropriate plays out of completely out matched formations. I’m going to call goal line stands against 4 receiver sets on the wrong side of the 50. I will call dime packages against Jumbo sets in the red zone. I shall stand up against waves and waves of ocean waves with sand castles made of sand. I shall get washed down.
This game should be the Chuck E. Cheese Match Up Of The Week: Full of silly, silly things, lots of tickets being thrown around, and a really sad kid at the end of the day who had to eat one less slice of pizza than everybody else at the birthday party because nobody understands how to fractionate a circle.
The formula I mentioned above does in fact resemble what we might expect the Panthers to do, numbers wise, against the Atlanta Falcons. In effect, I made a sad.
Sound like fun
Panthers - Falcons
Score: 24 – 64
Total Offense: 395 – 397
Turn Overs: 4 – 1
3rd Down: 3/12 – 4/11
4th Down: 0/8 – 0/0
2 Pt Conversions: 0/4 – 0/0
Field position apparently matters, as may situational play calling.
The Panthers are often playing a game like this, we’ll call it Battleship. They want to call B-7 when there are only 6 empty spaces left on the opponents board. A3-A7 are as yet untargeted, as is B7, and the only ship left on their side is the battleship. The obvious shot is anywhere on the A line, but we shoot at B7 just in case.
You missed out if you never saw the Smurfs defend themselves against Gargamel. They were active, passionate, and successful, even if they were unprepared and constantly out of position. I place the blame for that last clause entirely on Papa Smurf. He was their leader, their coach, their Opie, if you will. He let them laze around and build pointless devices and flirt with the only girl in town (who may or may not have been their sister) instead of organizing a proper defense against the likes of Gargamel and his cat. Their nefarious plans were always thwarted by diligence and luck. If you can't see the parallels here then let me put it more plainly. We haven't always worked hard so we are screwed with out luck, which we never have.
If we come out playing soft and out of whack then I am afeared that we are going to look like that hapless Battleship player again. The NFL is going to look at Charlotte and see Pinocchio, struggling to be a real boy, even claiming to be one. Sure, we’ll tell a few lies, and our nose will get a little more prominent. The league and media might even mistake that for actual, legitimate growth. That mistake might even go so far as to give us some increased attention. But we are going to drink that attention, turn into a bunch of Donkeys in prime time and slink back into the shadows we came from if we don’t make some changes around here.
Some of those changes are strategy changes. We play with the ‘Let’s Drop Indy In To A Pit Of Snakes Without His Whip Or A Torch’ or ‘Let’s Assault The Death Star With Out Han Solo’ strategy. We need to learn to stop raising our hands and declaring we didn’t kill our wives and start fighting to prove it. If we are the Presidents of our franchise then we need to kick these terrorist teams off of our BOFA Stadium One and proudly and loudly declare that even if we are Replicants that we deserve a place in this league.
Are you with me? Or are you with Harrison Ford?
Either way. . .Panthers.