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Panthers 6 Patriots 24: The Hog Molly Report

The Hog Molly report rolls in for week 9 of the 2021 season, and we have some serious shuffling to do.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the Hog Molly Report, where winning in the trenches is all that matters. Before we begin, we open with the reciting of our usual motto:

“Big men allow you to compete. We’re certainly going to look at the big hog mollies.”

In keeping with the proven philosophy that building a team from the inside out is the best strategy for long term success, my goal will be to watch the hog mollies each game during the season and discuss their performance.

The Panthers sank back into their woefulness on offense despite a defense doing what they could to provide a spark as they dropped an entirely winnable game to the New England Patriots on Sunday. All we needed was a shred of competency on offense. We received none. Now going forward, the Panthers will be starting a new quarterback until Sam Darnold’s scapula is deemed well enough to resume play, and honestly, I think we all needed a break anyway.

The offensive line

In a game that was a mess of injuries, it is pretty difficult to evaluate anyone as pieces get continually swapped and shuffled, and even harder to project where the team will be moving forward. The worst of it is that Matt Paradis suffered a torn ACL that will end his season and start bringing in the questions about what the team will do at center now and in the future. The reality is, for all the times he has been spotlighted for something bad, he quietly was probably the 2nd most consistent lineman on the team outside of Taylor Moton. Now you’re looking at a situation where Sam Tecklenberg or Pat Elflein is likely to move into the center spot, and along with the injury to Cam Erving, set off a wave of reorganization.

From left to right, the preliminary configuration on the line seems to be Daley, Jordan, Tecklenberg, Scott, Moton. That will just have to do. Kind of like the injury to Sam Darnold, Panthers fans and this right in general, were ready to see someone not named Cam Erving getting some long term starts at left tackle. Daley did well at left guard earlier in the year, no he gets to reprise his bit part at tackle. He had one really bad rep Sunday that i don’t ever want to see again.

That said... that was a really tough assignment. Alone on a island with the defensive end way out wide like that. That was likely to be an L from the get go.

The defensive line

Tell me if you’ve heard this story before. Defense plays excellent first half, creates opportunities for terrible offense to not really capitalize on, and eventually gets worked into submission. That seems to be our offense on repeat at the moment, and who knows where it will go from here with both a quarterback change and a full offensive line reshuffle.

In the first half as stated, the Panthers were getting plenty of pressure and causing turnovers putting the offense in favorable spots that ultimately only resulted in field goals. Haason Reddick continued his excellent season with another sack, and Brian Burns notched one as well before having his ankle twisted off by Mac Jones. We’ll see what ill effects that “anklegate” will have on Burns status for this weekend. After halftime, third quarters happened again, and it just wasn’t quite the same.

One problem we are facing right now are containing runs to the outside, well outside the tackles. In most cases, it’s not an issue of edge contain by a defensive end, but the Patriots definitely had success out there.

Damien Harris chart was the only one available on Nextgenstats, but if we could see the charts for Rhamondre Stevenson and Brandon Bolden, it would be easier to visualize. Derrick Brown and DaQuan Jones can’t do anything out there.

Overall, this defense would be good enough to take us really far if we had even an average offense to compliment it. But since week 5, we’re the cellar dwellers of the NFL as far as offensive output.

Final thoughts

There will be new faces this week on offense, and it probably isn’t going to go great. I’ll just be anxious to see someone else playing left tackle for a few weeks, and a new quarterback under center. We weren’t going anywhere fast before, so, might as well leave it up to the whims of novelty.