Byron Bell allowed 4.5 sacks to an almost forgotten Mario Williams last week. But it wasn't just another poor performance in the passing game... As CSR member BillWriter points out in his piece, when the offense started running to the middle and to the left in the second half, the running game was much more effective.
Yes, this was one game. But Bell's poor performance shouldn't come as a surprise. He was over-matched in week one against Seattle's Red Bryant and Michael Bennett, so much so that the offense had to scheme around his deficiencies, making him perform a vertical set just to keep Newton off his back.
So, how much more does the coaching staff need to see before they try something else? Yes, O-line depth is an issue right now, and we have a mess at guard, with Chris Scott, Amini Silatolu and Travelle Wharton platooning in and out. With that as it is, it would be nice to have some continuity at tackle, sure, but at what expense? Do we need to see Cam Newton hauled off on a stretcher before the coaching staff realizes that Bell isn't getting the job done?
Point out a problem -- offer a solution. I try to blog by this motto, so in that effort my proposed lineup would be:
LT: Jordan Gross
LG: Amini Silatolu
C: Ryan Kalil
RG: Chris Scott
RT: Travelle Wharton
(The LG and RT positions could be switched if needed.)
The Panthers' week three opponent, the New York Giants, have a multitude of pass rush weapons, and they will be coming after Cam Newton to try and take him off his game (kind of like they did last year). Jason Pierre Paul, Mathias Kiwanuka and Justin Tuck have to salivating at the film from the Buffalo game. Short of putting a TE, H-back and RB behind Bell to cleanup his mistakes, there isn't a feasible gameplan where Newton comes out of this okay. A change has to be made.
And with the dumpster fire that is the Panthers' secondary, it would be wise to control the clock and win the time of possession. How do they do that? Run the football on first and second down as much as possible, stay on schedule and keep third down manageable... just move the chains. Bell has proven to be inept in this facet as well, as the offense has been exponentially more successful running to the left and even up the middle, behind said mediocre guards.
Bell has been the starting RT for two-plus years, and we've seen little-to-no improvement. If we're going by last week, we've seen a massive regression. Sprinkle that in with a hardy serving of delusion and it's the perfect time to make a change:
There was a play here and there... When Cam was scrambling he’d come in on the back side late. Those things are going to happen. I could stay on him longer but I mean, it wasn’t a match that difficult. I’ve played against better guys. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good player. I feel like I played well against him for the most part. You try to go out there and win every block but it’s the National Football League. That man gets paid just like I get paid. I’m going to go out there and keep battling and get ready to work. I know what I’m capable of.
~Byron Bell, postgame