The Panthers meteoric blast off of optimism came back to earth on Saturday. The clean and virtually mistake free game vs the Texans seems like ages ago. Turnovers, penalties, and blown assignments were the theme of the day in Nashville. Should Panther Nation be upset? I have to say that I’m not concerned in the slightest. In fact, here are some things that have me excited.
Other than our fourth-string Left Tackle becoming a turnstile while the game was on the line, our offensive line has been very impressive thus far. The run blocking needs improvement for sure, but the pass protection has been awesome. During the off season, the biggest concern for me was the ability to protect Cam. The Panthers will only go as far as he takes us, after all. And to a man, the starting offensive line has looked fantastic in pass pro. In particular, Matt Kalil and Tyler Larsen have been a huge bright spot. If they protect (with Ryan Kalil coming back soon) Cam the way they have DA, this will be a fun season.
There have been a few lapses, but by-and-large this run defense is nasty. The Panthers need to pay Star. This guy clogs up the middle and is going to make things very difficult on opposing teams. However, one concern is this strength will force teams (like Atlanta) to spread us out and throw darts. This is not our strength as we need more defensive backs. So I do think our strong run defense means we will probably be a bend but don’t break kind of defense.
The Best Is Yet To Come
No Cam Newton, no Luke Kuechly, no Ryan Kalil or Charles Johnson. And oh yeah, no Curtis Samuel. This team really can’t be judged based on this game without our stars. My only concern is will these guys be rusty in San Francisco in Week 1. Brian Hoyer has looked good and they do have some defensive studs, so do not take Week 1 for granted. We had better win, but it will take a solid effort to do so.
So my bottom line here is this was a pre-season game that was not pretty, but not something to worry about. I didn’t even mention how good CMC and even CAP looked in the game. There is a reason to be excited, but the mistakes and miscues can not be a trend. And how about an interception???? I’m still saddled up for the meteoric rocket ship ride. Are you?