They say "Numbers Never lie", so I won't delve into them too much in this deposition, I’ll solely base my views of our beloved Carolina Panthers (first game of the season) on my irrefutable, undeniable, indisputable… eyeball test. So in essence… what I seen is what you’ll get, now let’s get going.
I made my journey across country to Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York home of my old football team… The Buffalo Bills. I was a diehard Bills fan so revisiting the stadium and seeing the sea of blue jerseys had a nostalgic feel to it. Remembering the days of Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith and others coupling that with the memories of coming up short in four consecutive Super Bowl appearances was a feeling a little harder to swallow, and something I didn't want to get back to.
via t3.gstatic.comI was hoping for Carolina to fly in, steam roll their way to victory, and leave the stadium in shambles as I walk away smiling... not so much. Back down memory lane: following the Bills last Super Bowl game in 1993 I left renounced the Buffalo Bills for a new start. No… I’m not a band wagoneer ( Band Wagoneer: a person that goes from team to another because they’re winning, or because they’re following a certain player i.e. Michael Vick) but the NFL had finally answered my prayers and granted North Carolina a football franchise calling it The Carolina Panthers. My days of being a Buffalo Bill fan was over, I took the entire 1994 year off of football… until the Panthers inaugural season opened in 1995 and I hadn’t looked back since… until today.
Now If you read my last post titled NNL CARvsSEA 0-1: "I’m Worried" which pointed out that Ron Rivera is simply not getting it done as a head coach. It also states that he doesn’t take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. I’ll be the first to say that there is NOTHING wrong with playing it safe, but I will say you have you have to take advantage of your opportunities when they're staring you in your face. Our wins come when offense, defense, and special teams have decent days. Our offensive identity is non-existent and scares no one. Other NFL teams know that our coaching staff will not take a lot of chances on the offensive end or defensive. We have talented players in Carolina that are being under-utilized i.e. Cam’s deep passing, Cam’s running ability, Ginn’s speed over the top, the blitzing capability of the defense. I often wonder how other teams/players would handle our 3rd and 4th down situations. Immediately I see Peyton Manning waving off the field goal unit and going for it, the Texans bringing in their "Big Set" and handing off to Foster, or the Packers telling Rodgers to make a play… our coaching staff don’t possess that mindset.
Bring on the kicking/punt team
Sitting among myriad avid Bills fans with a Panther Jersey on only made me the butt of jokes and snide remarks following another debacle by our coaching staff. Once I made it to the safety of my F150 Super Cab (which sits on 37" Mickey Thompsons with a 7" lift on it) I looked back at the stadium before pulling away. Feeling like a jilted lover who’s just caught their significant other cheating on then with their best friend(we were besties DAMMIT). It feels like a friend you know and trust promise that they’ll come pick you up on time for your first day on the job, then never show or call.
MY TAKE-AWAYS FROM THE GAME
1. Offensive line struggled mightily – Byron "ring a ding ding ding dong" should be shot for his impersonation of an offensive line on Sunday. It almost look as if someone was paying him not to move fast. Cam Newton did sail some passes during this game but I'm not faulting him for that. If I got full frontal sacked by Mario Williams 4.5 times… I’d sail every pass I threw the rest of the game.
2. Mario Williams is a beast – for the remainder of the year every time there’s a Buffalo Bill highlight or pregame analysis video Carolina will be on it showing Mario Williams sacking Cam Newton multiples times and making plays all over the field so prepare yourself.
3. Our secondary struggled in this game but I can’t put it all on them or blown coverage’s. If you finish a NFL game with "1" solo sack, and it comes from a safety, that’s a problem for any teams secondary. WHERE THE HELL IS MONSTERS INC? Carolina has yeilded a mighty 3 sacks in two games this season, two of those sacks came from the safety posistion… Hardy 50? Alexander? KK?, Bueller?, Bueller???, On the bright side though, we haven’t paid Greg Hardy yet… we may have saved some money here.
4. Coaching… I believe I’ve already said enough.
Don't misunderstand my feelings for my team, I still love my Panthers and will pull for them no matter what. Prayerfully there is a coaching change on the horizon and afterwards life will be grand.
Gotta go now... on my way back home to Charlotte, someone told me that one of the famous Manning brothers will be in town soon and I really don't want to miss him. They slso said he's bringing friends. I will get my "Book of Eli" and pray about our upcoming game against the G-Men. See you at the game.