What we are seeing is not a bad offensive line, it is terrible cap management. Sherman, Beastmode, Wilson, Wagner, etc etc etc. they cost some coin. I do not see Gettlemen getting us into a mess like this. Some positions are devalued here, but not ignored. Their Left guard was seen holding a cardboard sign outside the stadium a few weeks ago that read, "I will play offensive line for food."
We are notoriously slow starters. We lost our #1 WR. We lost Star for 3 games. We lost Luke for 3 games. That is a LOT of talent up the gut. We lost Johnson for a game. Wins don't have to be pretty. This team will gel, and when it does, it will be nice. Who in the NFC HAS beaten anyone?
I will speculate here (have not read the entire thread, so sorry if it repeats an idea) 1. Yes the ball was behind him. Funchess could have had it, but I would not call it a drop. Slanting into the heart of the LBs and DBs on the goal line is tough enough--try doing it running with your eyes totally behind you knowing every eye in the stadium is fixed on that object coming toward you at 60 mph. 2. Funchess did a terrible job of getting off the LOS and creating separation. I think the LOS and separation out of the cut are the 2 things holding him back. 3. Even though Dickson was open, I think Cam was (possibly directed to do so) intentionally trying to give Funchess a TD to boost confidence. It was not at a point in the game where we were on the ropes--we had a comfortable lead.
Our situation at DE was totally different then too. We had a healthy Johnson, Ealy, Alexander, Addison, and Horton. Johnson and Alexander go down, Horton underperforms, Ealy has a few boneheaded plays, and we go 97 snaps without a pressure (something like that). DE became a priority very suddenly. Point? If I were an UDFA, I would not have come to Carolina and I doubt we were looking very hard.
You are right--but Ealy was a projected first rounder that fell to us in the second. Johnson was third rounder and Hardy a sixth, I think, which lowered expectations for them. Ealy was playing inside a lot Sunday. That is tough duty. He is earning his stripes, but if he can simply keep getting better, and I think he will, he will be fine. Heck, if Delaire works out, we should feel pretty good about the future of DE. The stat that I found to be most impressive about Delaire: 5 solo tackles. I am not sure Johnson gets renewed, especially if you look at his production. I am not sure Allen is doing anything here except squeezing a few more drops out of the orange. I can see us drafting a DE this year though.
Cox was preseason vs. scrubs, and I think it is way too early to call him a one-hit wonder. Most DEs get their sacks in bunches and few roll out as undrafted free agents setting the league on fire. The good part about his good performance is this--teams now have to account for him--so we should expect his production to wane. However, that will cause others to step up. With his quickness, we can move Ealy inside on passing downs (he has done fairly well there) and we can bring in Addison or Allen. That is a lot of quickness on the outside.
In perspective: CJohnson; in his first 19 games (2007-8) he had 21 tackles and six sacks. GHardy: in his first 15 games (2010) he had 24 tackles and three sacks. BDelhaire: in his first game he had 5 solo tackles and two sacks. Johnson averaged slightly over 1 tackle per game and about one sack every three games Hardy averaged about 1.5 tackles per game and one sack every five games
In fairness, Delhaire was going against a rookie he was probably very familiar with, but that goes both ways. Additionally, Delhaire was with his third defense in about as many months.
Where did you get this? I read previous comments and did not get any indication that people were saying anything more than, "He has great potential and has played very well today." Not feeling your paranoia.