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Panthers vs Buccaneers: Prove it or lose it

Last years Step UP or Step OUT series has given way to Prove it or Lose it for 2019, but a lot of the format stays the same. Let’s talk about who needs to prove it for the Carolina Panthers heading into the week two matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers couldn’t quite pull out a week one victory against the Los Angeles Rams, but losing by a single field goal to the defending NFC champions is not something to get really down about. In fact, if the ball had bounced even once favorably into the arms of a Panthers player, we could be talking about a different result, but it didn’t so we aren’t. Regardless of that misfortune, better play by certain members of the team could have swung the tide of victory our way. Let’s talk about them now.

LT Daryl Williams

It was not a disastrous first game for Daryl Williams, but it also isn’t one I would put on a highlight reel either. By my count in the Hog Molly Report, big Daryl accounted for two pressures and 1.5 sacks on the day, and both were due to a misfire in the communication department on the line more than they were a lack of athletic ability. While it’s preferable to see a sack happen due to communication rather than just a guy getting beat, it’s still something that he, running mate Greg Van Roten, and new center Matt Paradis need to work on.

WR D.J. Moore

While Moore was Carolina’s leading receiver on Sunday, he was also directly responsible for a drive killing fumble on the Panthers first offensive possession. This was another case of great skill and bad luck, because Moore was not being careless with the football, it was just an excellent punch by the Rams defender. However, he is starting to develop a reputation as a fumbler, and if he is going to be the team’s top target, he needs to rid himself of that label.

QB Cam Newton

There are a lot of reasons why Cam Newton’s 2019 debut could have gone better, some of which he can take ownership of and some he can’t. Do we expect rust to be a factor given his recent events? Of course. Was pressure by a very talented Rams defense a factor? It 100% was. Did he miss some throws an NFL quarterback needs to make? You know it.

This scatterchart needs to look very different as the season progresses.

At the end of the day, we didn’t learn much about whether Cam can return to the form that once made him NFL MVP, and that is going to be a season long learning process. We still need to see him run, and we need to see him go deep, both with success. I expect we’ll get to see both on Thursday night.

The Coaching Staff

It was plain for anyone watching to see that this team was simply not 100% on the same page, especially in the first half, and that without a doubt cost the team valuable points. If your quarterback’s radio fails, I get you might have to take a time out, but there is absolutely not a single excuse in the entire world for why you would take a delay of game penalty after that. Did you really not talk at all about the play call the entire time?

Worse yet, there was at least another delay penalty after that one, and a twelve men on the field call too. Not to mention the lack of blitzing, especially in third down and medium situations. I don’t care that we played a lot of nickel and dime formations to counter the Rams heavier receiver sets, send a corner or safety blitz! At least make it a threat. The whole point of going to multiple fronts is to be able to be creative with where you send pressure from, and we didn’t see much at all of that.

The Home Crowd

Yeah, yeah, it was a hot day. September in the south is still summer. With all the ways available to be prepared for such a thing, I’m not buying the excuses for the stadium being two-thirds empty with the game still well in reach in the fourth quarter. Our crowd needs to be better, and we need to be more dedicated to making the team feel that home is a place worth defending. It’s still going to be warm on Thursday night, regardless of it being a night game, and I hope the crowd will be up to the task of making things difficult on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Guys with nothing to prove

RG Trai Turner - Outstanding game handling Aaron Donald, a few pressures, but tell me who else in the league is capable of this?

RB Christian McCaffrey - His performance on Sunday was absolutely unreal, what a talent

LB Shaq Thompson - Easily the most effective overall defender we had on Sunday, finally getting to show that he can handle the full time workload.

CB James Bradberry - Best game of his career, no doubt. Here’s hoping this arrow will keep pointing way up.

DT Kawann Short - Extremely disruptive all day, didn’t record a sack but responsible for at least 4 pressures against a good offensive line.


Who has the most to prove entering week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    LT Daryl Williams
    (32 votes)
  • 14%
    WR D.J. Moore
    (92 votes)
  • 50%
    QB Cam Newton
    (317 votes)
  • 27%
    The Coaching staff
    (173 votes)
  • 1%
    Somebody else (comment)
    (8 votes)
622 votes total Vote Now