Carolina Panthers Vs. Atlanta Falcons: Line is the 'x-factor'

Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

I can sum up our woes in one simple question: did the offensive line do its job? Against the Saints, Newton was given a relatively clean pocket to operate out of and he was able to orchestrate a convincing dismantling of their defense. For our losses to the Giants and the Buccaneers, we were constantly getting beat at the line of scrimmage. That simply cannot continue if we are going to have success this year.

Last year, the Oline was considered a strength. We were built to run the football with our Pro-Bowl C and former Pro-Bowl RT. When we released RG Travelle Wharton, we replaced him with the rookie Amini Silatolu, who looked lost in his first start against the Bucs, and honestly so did everyone else outside of Byron Bell. Week two, however, the line bounced back and looked much sharper. However, RT Byron Bell would sustain an injury that kept him out of the line up, forcing Gary Williams to start... And that is just not good. We were thin at RT to begin with after cutting Otah in the offseason, and the Giants impressive pass rush was able to disrupt our run game and get after Cam Newton.

For all the problems people have with the option play, no running play is going to be successful when there are defenders in the backfield blowing up the play before it begins. Likewise, Newton should not be expected to scramble away from 3 defenders on every series. Now, play calling does have a part here (does Chudzinski know what a screen is?) but a large part of the issue is just execution by our lineman, and that has to get better or we will continue to struggle.

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