The NFL is often a game of matchups, and each week, there are key cogs that change based on the strengths of the opponent or weaknesses the Panthers need to cover. This week, we’ll highlight three individuals that have something to prove, and need to step up for the team to be successful on Sunday.
The Panthers run defense was embarrassed by the Dallas Cowboys, not that it wasn’t a possibility. Zack Martin is the best guard in the entire NFL. He has dealt more than his fair share of bad games to interior DL league wide. The Cowboys on the whole have probably the best line in the NFC. There should be two angry men this week, and Jones is one of them. The one week mentality that the coaching staff preaches and the players talk about should be on display this week. Put the Cowboys game out of your mind, but let it fuel the kind of stifling run defense we saw in the first three week from Jones and Derrick Brown.
It’s a lot to expect a guy who has barely been with the team a week to step up and be someone the secondary can count on, but C.J. Henderson is as naturally talented a corner as they come. The ability is there, but he was clearly a nervous duck on the pond last week against Dallas. We saw him receiving individual instruction every play, and him surrendering a touchdown is something I can forgive under the circumstances (he had good coverage until right at the end). This week, you’d expect that he’ll have at least a moderate understanding of what he ought to do, and truly the offensive weapons for Philadelphia don’t compare to the Cowboys firepower.
Substitute Brady Christensen if that ends up being who gets the start at left tackle, but I personally believe it will be Trent Scott. He has the experience, and honestly, what we saw out of him last season is better than what we have seen from Cam Erving this season. Erving was a DNP for Wednesday practice, and I don’t expect that to change heading into the latter part of the week. That could end up being a good thing, or it could just make a dicey situation worse. Whoever it is will get to flank the rapidly rising Dennis Daley, who has put together two very good games in a row in relief of the injured Pat Elflein, who I do not think will be regaining his starting job.
Whoever it is, just absolutely must be better than what we’ve dealt with at left tackle so far. I mean, what is THIS.
This is so basic, they’re running ace power to the left. Erving’s job here is to chip the down lineman to his left and get to the second level. Both tight ends win here. This should be a big play. He is so timid about it that it drives me nuts. Commit to crushing the linebacker, and RUN THROUGH HIM. You KNOW this play is coming behind you off your left hip, why are you even considering going to this linebackers right side. Attack the play side shoulder and light him up!!!!!