Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'analysis'.

More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


  • Articles
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Huddle Podcast


  • Videos
  • New Features
  • Other


  • FAQ
  • Huddle-isms


  • Reviews


  • Carolina Panthers
    • Carolina Panthers News and Talk
    • The NFL Draft
    • Panthers Fan Ticket Exchange
    • Smack Central
    • NFL and Fantasy Football
  • Charlotte Hornets
    • Charlotte Hornets Talk
    • College Basketball
  • Other Carolina Sports
    • College Football
    • Carolina Hurricanes
    • MLB - Major League Baseball
  • General Nonsense and Tomfoolery
    • The Lounge
    • Nerdvana
    • Brews and Bruhs - A Beer Forum
    • The Tinderbox
    • Site Support


  • Sports Photography
  • Carolina in the Caribbean
  • ThPantherFan
  • Panthers and the Salary Cap (2013-2014)
  • Teeray's Rabbit Punches
  • The Carolinian
  • Black Cats & All of That
  • My Carolina Panthers Depth Chart
  • Memento Mori
  • Black Paws & Blue Claws
  • Panthers FC
  • Thoughts from a questionable mind
  • Hubby's Musings
  • Thoughts From a Charlotte Basketball Fan
  • Tailgatin'
  • Panthers Analysis
  • Coty's Panther Blog
  • Carolina Fugging Panthers
  • Pointless Posts about the Panthers
  • The Canes Blog

Found 18 results

  1. Two posts on draftable players from the same dude in one day? Bet. David Njoku is a guy I've been talking about for a while. In my 2.0 Mock Draft, I have us selecting him in the 2nd round, and I currently would not complain if that were still the case. David Njoku is an intriguing prospect. In fact, I'd argue he's the best TE from this class. Njoku is the most athletic TE from this draft, and his receiving skills are top notch. He's growing really fast into his frame, and he's looking like someone ready to round out to be one of the best. He's real good at attaining YAC, and he's good real good technique when blocking. To really understand what he's capable of doing, I'll revisit some stuff I originally posted from my highlights of him in my mock draft 2.0 segment: __________________________________________________________________________ *Originally Posted In This Post* TE David Njoku is a fantastic TE of the Miami Hurricanes. He's a big, athletic guy who has a bit of a burst to him. He's a converted WR to TE, and he's been a really productive TE for the canes. Despite only starting recently in the college season, and splitting time with TE Chris Herndon, he's been really productive. Not only that, but he's currently 6'4 and 245 lbs (He came out of high school at 217 pounds; he's only a sophomore in college right now). He's been real good with what chances he's been given. He has great catching ability, and is a pretty decent pass blocker. He's got a ton of potential, and learning from one of the league's best former canes in Olsen would be most beneficial in his development. What separates him from everyone is his ability to get separation and YAC. He's perhaps one of the best in college with that ability, and he's got good speed to it. The issue with this is his tendency with wanting to run before the catch, but with proper coaching he'll be an unbelievable monster. I truly believe he might be one of the gems Gettleman would just love - physical and talent potential - and I think we just might as well hit on him if we can. Why do I like him so much? Here's some tape: 1. He's Extremely Athletic - Like Extremely You probably know what I'm gonna compare this play to. Yep. Anyhow, Njoku is a 6'4 athletic player still growing into his body. He's got insane athleticism for his position, and his gift is really shown in the GIF He goes completely airborne over a defender after getting some nice running room, and flips his way into the endzone. He has unbelievable hops; he was his high school's jumping champion with a 6ft. 11in. jump. He shows amazing athleticism and speed in this play, and just scrambles his way into the endzone. He's a great prospect and threat with his athletic traits. He's essentially a lot like Cam Newton - in a sense - with how amazing his athletic ability is. Coupled with his great hands, running ability, and jump height, he looks like a prospect just on the verge of breaking out. Did I mention he's still growing into his frame? 2. He's A Physical Body - Tough Catcher In this highlight, Njoku catches the ball, then bounces off about 3 defenders before finally being brought down. He shows great physicality and strength; being able to stand up in the barrage of hits. He's got good hands, and he ensures he has the ball in his hand before finally being brought down. He's a pretty physical threat, and yet again he's still not fully developed in his frame yet. That's a pretty big deal indeed. 3. He's Got Dangerous YAC Ability Not only is he physical and athletic, he's quite fast too. In this highlight, Njoku just absolutely toasts this defense and turns his catch into a huge gain. He's able to run after catching for quite the distance, and get into the red-zone. He's consistently made plays like this throughout his breakout sophomore campaign, but he's truly a good prospect. If he's able to hinder his tendency to run before the catch, he could become a legit monster in the NFL. Due to the fact he's a sophomore heading in to the NFL draft, he has a high ceiling. These kind of plays just express how much of a play-maker he truly is. _____________________________________________________________ Do you see why I've been - and still am - really high on him? David Njoku isn't your average talent. He may be raw, but he's really coming out as a name to watch for. He deserves every shred of hype he's getting, and the combine may make people real excited about this freak. Now, the question still remains, will he be the best rookie TE coming out immediately? The answer to that question? Most likely not. Now don't get me wrong. This kid will eventually be seen as the best TE down the stretch, but he won't be the best immediately in the NFL. As much upside as he has, he still has to start somewhere. Now why isn't he? Well, simply because he's young. Understand he is 6'4 and 245 lbs, came out of high school at 217 pounds, and was only a sophomore in college. He just simply needs some more time to grow. However, it's very obvious his growth is happening at a rapid rate, and he could easily have an NFL ready body by the first game of the season. However, we have to factor that right now, he's a bit undersized, and that's okay. He has the athleticism and upside to really get up there, and not to mention technique. In the below video by analyst Matt Waldman (who I just love watching videos of) really gets into depth on Njoku more than I ever could, and shows why he has all the potential in the world to become a really good blocking TE. The only thing in the way between him and that is his size, and he should easily grow into his frame. Again, I really recommend you watch the video. He details every aspect of Njoku real well in his film analysis. He even has a few extra comments in this article he made: As you can see, his receiving is amazing, and his athleticism is off the charts. He's got all the upside in the world to be the one of the greatest TEs in the game, and he's got the intelligence and technique to boot. His blocking technique looks sound, and he's got a lot of potential in that area. Where he does get beat, he gets beat due to his size. He still shows great technique, and I have mentioned he is a fast grower. He's not done getting into his frame yet at all. If Njoku is available in the 2nd round and we don't gun for him, I'll probably be disappointed honestly. I really like this kid, and I think he'd be a massive steal in the 2nd. Look for Njoku as one of the best upcoming TEs in this draft.
  2. The Jamal Adams hype train has been real lately. Everyone would argue he'd immediately impact our defense in a tremendous way, and shore up anyone's secondary once he lands right in it. Everyone believes he's one of the safest picks this draft. But is he truly a finished, ready All-Pro right out of the gate? Ethan Young does not believe so. For context, Ethan Young is a draftnik who likes to utilize many statistical elements of the game and film when considering his analysis of people. He successfully predicted James Bradberry to be a beast in the NFL, and heralded him as one of the best corners from the draft BEFORE the Panthers even drafted him. He utilizes film, SPARQ, athleticism, brains, and stats when considering all his decisions. However, Ethan does not believe Jamal Adams is even worth a first rounder, let alone a top 5 pick. He believes Adams needs to be more finished to even be considered that high, and highlights a couple of deficiencies he notices in Jamal Adams game. Here's his comments: Dissecting him pretty hard. When they talk of Jamal Adams angles, I hate to say but I agree. I've seen him on a couple of occasions miss when he should've hit, but I assumed it'd be something shored up during Training Camp and such. He argues these three safeties are in front of Adams: Well, what do you think? Is the guy who predicted Bradberry to be a stud right about Adams not even being worth a first rounder?
  3. I recently came across a nice article pertaining to the strengths and weaknesses of Leonard Fournette, a likely prospect we may be looking at for #8. He's considered as "one of the best runningback prospects since Adrian Peterson" and a transcendental talent. Arguably, it would be asinine for the Panthers to pass up this player at number 8 if he truly is that huge of a prospect, right? Well, since I'm hounding on LSU boys today, it's Fournette's turn. From this article, his stats reveal quite a lot of things. Plenty of things come into focus from the stats itself, and may cause one to rethink Fournette's worth at #8 overall, or reaffirm that notion. I'll let you peak at this guy's intro to set the table: So, here's a look at what this guy says. Fournette: Better Yards Created Per Attempt In 2016 His comments: So, it appears the idea that Fournette's production decreased due to his ankle injury is unfounded and unrealistic. Fournette had virtually the same numbers in 2015 and 2016, and could arguably have done better in the 2016 season. Now, that looks good, doesn't it? It's pretty good, but it does show his injury isn't much of an excuse that many like to assume. Anyhow, off to more data: Missed Tackles: A Huge Difference His comments: What this reveals is something I have touched on before in one of my other posts. Fournette's not an elusive guy anymore, and it's certainly hard to ignore these statistics of his latest season. Consider that we're drafting the 2016 Fournette vs the 2015 Fournette, and it'd be hard to bank on his return to 2015 form immediately. This data also reveals he's one of the worst at missed tackles in recent years during his 2016 campaign. Huge dropoff from his 2015 campaign. To put it frankly, he forced 44% more missed tackles in 2015 than 2016. That's very concerning. However, he still could easily be better than 2016, so it's fair to assume he'll likely be average to above average starting out in the NFL remaining healthy, so I wouldn't put too much weight and negativity into here. Shotgun Production: Worst RB For It In Past Two Years Now, this is where it gets dicey. Consider our old offense, and how heavily we relied on the shotgun. Now, one could argue Cam would thrive if given the chance to play under center, and our offense will evolve to that, but even so you still can't take out Newton's threat to run on every conceivable play. Fournette needs to work on this and fine-tune such production real fast. Anyhow, here's his conclusion: So, Fournette is a special downhill runner, but one of the worst out of the shotgun and EW running. Should be a tad concerning. Considering he should be heavily scheme limited, this puts a cap on the potential and hype this guy brings in my honest opinion. If this keeps up, he may not be the best runningback since AP after all. Even AP could cut AND run downhill coming out of college, yet Fournette is limited. Anyways, what are your thoughts? What do you make of this data? EDIT: I mentioned below some new findings. Cam Newton plays 9.2% of his snaps from center, and usually looks very uncomfortable in those situations. That would not play well if we were to draft Fournette, as Fournette's weakness is the shotgun. I believe this means that Fournette will not be in play at 8 after all. If we were to evolve towards Newton's strengths, we cannot try and force him into somewhere he's uncomfortable with. Makes me reason Fournette is not the pick even more.
  4. In the flurry of moves Gettleman made last week during the first wave of free agency, he managed to grab a guy by the name of Charles Johnson. No, not our CJ. Minnie's CJ. Charles Johnson. WR Charles Johnson was a guy who seemed invisible in one of the worst offenses in the NFL. Once considered as a hopeful speedy deep threat for the Vikings, he seemed to barely contribute to anything worthwhile on that offense. After all, if you couldn't perform at a high level in one of the league's worst offenses, what says you can ever make an impact in the NFL? Well, I believe there's more to that story. When considering his film from last year, one thing clearly stands out - the kid isn't getting enough opportunities. Whether it's because the Vikes' oline can't block long enough for deep plays, or due to Bradford's incompetence as an NFL quarterback, he hasn't been able to break out and prove he truly could be a threat. In the following, I break down a few plays that bring to light the potential Charles Johnson brings, and how the Vikings hindered that. Now, that's not to say he does have some stuff to work on - which I'll also allude to - but he's certainly capped in his total potential. Without further ado, here's my case for Charles Johnson (I'll call him CJ2 in some instances): Source Video: My Thoughts + Breakdown If you watch the source video, you'll likely be shocked at how many missed opportunities Charles Johnson had. Not only was he limited in how many deep routes he ran on instances, his QB couldn't simply accurately pass to his deep target. Below is an example of such: You'll notice Charles Johnson is wide open, yet Bradford was unable to nail him. Charles Johnson breezes by the corner, yet the Viking's o-line and Bradford failed him. Certainly not the most encouraging thing to see for any offense. But I want you to notice that Charles Johnson is capable of getting open. In the above play, he shows to clearly whiz past the corner on a deep route and get open. Had Bradford nailed that pass, it would've been a walk in touchdown. Sadly, that was not the case. Charles Johnson does show promise as a deep threat, and I just believe he's been hindered from showcasing that. However, that's not to say he didn't get some chances. Take a look at below: He presses the corner then gets open deep for a huge gain, showcasing good speed and capability as a deep threat. Had that pass not been overthrown and if he were able to keep stride, it would be a walk in touchdown. He has capability to become a deep threat; something the Panthers need with the loss of Ginn, and I believe Gettleman took care of that perfectly. Charles Johnson certainly looks like the guy for the part. Another example of potential CJ2 brings, but Minnesota hampering it: In this play, Minnesota shows yet again its incapability of throwing the ball deep. With CJ2 speeding past the corner and wide open, Bradford under-throws/miss-times the ball to make it a no play. CJ2 was forced to slow down to compensate for such terrible QB play, which resulted in the corner easily catching up. This should've been an easy walk-in touchdown from Charles Johnson, but Minnesota can't time the ball right for him. The result of such was a dud play. One thing that's consistent in these videos is how bad Minnesota was at throwing the deep ball. Most of CJ2's failures came from the Vikings overthrowing or underthrowing many passes. They just don't hit on his potential well whatsoever. CJ2 is also capable of running horizontal routes and beating the coverage. Check out this play: CJ2 lines up to the left of Bradford and zooms by past the corners and linebackers to get open for a good chunk of yards. His speed helps whiz him by traffic and make a terrific grab near the boundary. There wasn't much near him to take away that catch whatsoever. A solid play. What the Vikings seem to use him in the most are in these type of short passes. Here's one example: They try and utilize his speed in this way, but I just think that's to help compensate for Bradford's arm. You'll find a lot of these style of plays where CJ2 is misused - in my opinion - rather than utilized for the deep threat he is. However, he does have some issues, particularly in quick short throws. Here's one example: In this play, CJ2 attempts to catch with his body or whatever and fails miserably. The result is a play that could've easily ended up as an interception. This is not what you want when you have your WR running a quick route like that. Even so, he still is pretty reliable overall. He does show better hands than Ginn, and he still makes plays that he'll likely be used for. However, he sometimes shows inability to beat corners when challenged. Here's an example of a jump-ball where he couldn't win: When going against a corner in tight coverage, he wasn't able to win the battle. Now, this is what is to be expected due to the fact he's not Funchess or Benjamin. He's not the WR we expect to be able to win those battles all the time. So, considering that, he'll likely not be the guy we look for in a situation like this. What he does show is a guy who can run routes and get open deep. A guy who will be able to beat corners with speed and win with a QB throwing him those bombs downfield. Cam Newton is known for being one of the best in the league at that, so I have no doubt CJ2 will see his potential unleashed. Conclusion WR Charles Johnson will be the perfect replacement for Ginn. He has the speed and skill to be a deep threat and beat corners with speed and get open. Paired with Cam Newton, he should be able to shine. He has more reliable hands in comparison to Ted Ginn, and he shows he's able to turn on the afterburners and rip past secondaries and defenses with his athleticism and speed. On the Panthers, he's our speed option we'll use to get defenses to respect us. His film shows he's been misused far too often, and his QB can't hit him deep to save his life. His potential is being capped due to the Vikings inability to utilize him for the deep threat he is. The knock on him is his sloppy route work. When it comes to technical routes with pieces and sharp cuts, he can't hit them right. Because of that inability, he'll often get little separation as a result of lagging in that area. Due to this, his ceiling isn't really high, and I'd argue lower than Shepard's. His ability as a deep threat and straight line route runner is real solid, but as a technical route runner - not so much. CJ2 may have looked like he underperformed on paper, but the film shows the Vikings made him underperform. On the Panthers, I see his career being revitalized and him being a consistent good deep threat for 2017. He's a perfect plug with a QB who can throw deep, and I have no doubt his production will make us miss Ginn less.
  5. I've been missing my Panthers data crunching, and an EXTREMELY active Free Agency so far got me ready to do some serious number crunching in Excel. Thanks to PFF's awesome Free Agent Tracker database, I decided to create a table summarizing moves made by ALL teams so far. There are lots of way's you can sort the table, but almost any way you look at it., Panthers come out near the very top in activity. Re-signing our own players, Adding new free agents from other teams, net players added. It also just so happens that we have the LOWEST % of unsigned UFAs remaining of any team even though we started with quite a high figure of 22 free agents. Dave and our front office have been doing WORK. Here's the table - sorted by net players added. Basically only the Bills are ahead of us in total signings and net players added. click on the table for a larger view. (How the heck did the Bills go into this offseason with a massive total of 38 free agents?!?!? Talk about re-building!) You might say, "oh it's just Carolina re-signing their own," and there would be some truth to this. Along with the Falcons, we've re-signed the highest number of our own Free Agents and we have the highest retention % of any team. BUT still, we're tied for 5th in terms of NEW free agents brought in! Pretty surprising for Dave Gettleman in the first week of free agency... We've also got a high number of players departing, signed with other teams... Really ANY way you look at it, this has been a shockingly busy Free Agency for the Panthers thus far. Exciting times to be a fan. [Apologies this is going to be a hit & run post tonight. I won't be able to read replies or comment further until tomorrow...]
  6. WR Kelvin Benjamin was expected to come back blazing from his ACL tear in 2015. Everyone expected the Panthers to have a juggernaut of an offense with the addition of WR Kelvin Benjamin to the mix of deadly weapons Cam would be able to utilize. Everyone expected us to be back in the game, and causing huge headaches for NFL teams everywhere. Sadly, that was not the case. Kelvin Benjamin came back, and appeared to have regressed from his amazing Rookie season. With questions concerning effort level, weak route running, and drops after drops, everyone was starting to wonder whether Kelvin Benjamin truly would be a number 1 receiver for the Panthers, and questioning his commitment to the game. His total yardage and TDs have decreased from his rookie season overall, as Kelvin Benjamin had 63 total receptions for 941 yards and 7 touchdowns this season, averaging 14.9 yards per reception. Although it looks decent on paper, you could tell Kelvin Benjamin was leaving a ton of potential on the field, and didn't appear to show much throughout the whole season. However, I truly believe the Kelvin Benjamin we saw most of the season isn't the Kelvin Benjamin we'll see at all next year. I believe there's simply more to the story than just simply regressing for whatever odd reason. After all, Kelvin Benjamin showed promise the first two games against the Broncos and 49ers, and showed up against the Falcons and Buccaneers for the last two games. Could there truly be another issue that's been bothering Kelvin Benjamin from achieving that WR1 status this team desperately needs, and is it possible Kelvin Benjamin to bring about a Pro-Bowl level season next year? Was There Anyone That Could've Predicted This Mess? Kelvin Benjamin suffered a devastating ACL injury in 2015, effectively causing him to miss 2015 in whole. It was an injury sustained in training camp, and one that struck fear into the hearts of Panther fans everywhere. No one expected the team to do well without him, or even sniff the playoffs if at that with the WR group they had. Against all odds, the Panthers made the Superbowl with a historic 15-1 run, but fell short as the Broncos exposed the Panthers offense. Amid all this, everyone expected the Panthers to comeback and do well in 2016. With Kelvin Benjamin diagnosed as to being okay for the 2016 season, everyone expected to see the monster that Kelvin Benjamin was hyped up to be in 2016. That never came to fruition. Nevertheless, there was one guy who predicted Kelvin Benjamin would regress. He predicted that Kelvin Benjamin won't be 100% until 2017, and that he would have a tough hill to climb in 2016. That guy was Joe Kenn, strength coach of the Carolina Panthers. The Root Of The Problem Joe Kenn noticed something about the extent of Kelvin Benjamin's injury. He expected that Kelvin Benjamin probably won't be 100% fine until 2017, and that it would be a process. He made such information known to WR Coach Ricky Proehl, who was skeptical and weary that this would be a possibility. Sure, this was news that should be concerning to some. If your number 1 receiver isn't expected to return to rookie form until 2017, then of course there should be steps made to monitor the situation. However, Proehl just wouldn't buy that Kelvin Benjamin wouldn't be able to overcome the setback he faced in 2015. After seeing Kelvin Benjamin's performance against the Broncos and 49ers, who wouldn't be skeptical of Joe Kenn's advice? Kelvin Benjamin amassed 13 catches for 199 yards and 3 touchdowns during that stretch, and absolutely dominated a deadly Broncos secondary in week one. I mean, tell me, would you expect a regression after seeing Kelvin Benjamin do stuff like this? Or this? Or even this? The first two games showed a Kelvin Benjamin everyone was familiar with. A big body receiver who makes some of the most insane catches and uses his body to his advantage. A huge disadvantage to any secondary or corner to try and take down. This is the Kelvin Benjamin we all loved and hoped to see all year. This wouldn't last long. Later on in the season, Kelvin Benjamin would go through a very depressing stretch of games, beginning with his no-show against the Vikings. Against the Vikings, Kelvin Benjamin amassed zero yards total. Zero. Not only that, he was only targeted once the whole game. When losing and struggling, you'd think the Panthers would look to their number 1 receiver as the answer, but that was never the case. Kelvin Benjamin came out of that game not contributing in anyway that would benefit the Panthers. It got worse as the Panthers faced the Saints for a second time, beginning a 5 game stretch of amassing a disappointing combined 10 catches for 158 yards and one touchdown. Kelvin Benjamin began growing greatly distraught - even to the point where he was benched for a stretch of plays against Oakland. This was not the type of season Panther fans expected from their returning #1 WR. Soon, Ricky Proehl finally admitted that Kelvin Benjamin had regressed in 2016, and that Joe Kenn was right: Kelvin Benjamin wasn't physically ready yet for an NFL season. Armed with this information, it clarifies the root cause of Kelvin Benjamin's disappointing season. With the swelling that began to occur in his knee, Kelvin Benjamin was soon limited in his abilities and what he could do. The fact it affected his development in training camp, along with his ability to practice further explains his lazy route running and low effort that seemed to radiate from him. With his leg still bothering him, Kelvin Benjamin just wasn't able to have the impact most would've liked to see from him. It appeared that Kelvin Benjamin may never truly become a dominant WR1 for the Panthers. However, Kelvin Benjamin set to prove that idea wrong as he came upon the last two games of the season. The Comeback Kelvin Benjamin appeared to have a spark as the last two games came into fruition. He showcased glimpses of the powerful, huge WR we all know and love as he led a campaign against the Falcons and Buccaneers. Although both games ended up as a loss, you still can't deny the effort level Kelvin Benjamin presented in both games, and how he looked like an absolute monster on the field. Against the Falcons, he would only have 4 catches in total, but with a total gain of 63 yards and 1 TD. On paper, this doesn't seem like much, but his impact on the field was huge. Kelvin Benjamin would begin making nice grabs and plays for the Panthers. He seemed to look like his old self on the field, as he made an insane catch into the endzone for a touchdown. Kelvin Benjamin would finish on a pretty strong note in that game. However, he wasn't done just yet. Against the Buccaneers, he would come out with 6 receptions for 93 yards and another TD, with 3 catches during a crucial drive that may have helped the Panthers win the game if it weren't for Olsen saving us the 8th overall pick. He would make some nice grabs and catches in that stretch, and finish it off with another one of his trademark touchdowns. This is the Kelvin Benjamin we were all hoping to see all season, yet apparently only decided to show up in the last 2 games of the season. The dominant, huge WR we all hoped would comeback and show up finally did for the last two games of the season. What triggered the release of this monster we all know and love? Simple. He got healthy. Proehl soon noticed that Kelvin Benjamin was getting healthier towards the end of the year, and it showed. Kelvin Benjamin's knee finally stopped acting up, and his performance shot up. He was no longer a wimp or a burden for the Panthers, but a solid contributor. When he got healthy, he began to show his talent and potential as a #1 receiver. When healthy, Kelvin Benjamin produces like no other. His frame and body gives him a huge advantage against any corner, and his power allows him to win contested catches for positive gains. The first two games and last two games showcased the real Kelvin Benjamin, and what he really looks like. So, beyond that, how does Kelvin Benjamin work to improve himself and ensure he reaches that goal of being our franchise WR? The Desire To Improve And Get Better Kelvin Benjamin knows he can be better, and he knows he has to work to get to that point. With that realization in mind, Kelvin Benjamin plans to work himself up to NFL shape and come prepared for the next season. Proehl mentioned that he believes Kelvin Benjamin plans to work hard throughout the offseason. He makes mention of some of Benjamin's plans to get better. Weight is something a lot of Panthers have bashed Kelvin Benjamin about. Looking sluggish on the field, many assumed it was due to a lack of conditioning and too much weight that hindered Kelvin Benjamin. Proehl also mentions he plans to personally work with Kelvin Benjamin and other receivers to get better this offseason. Not only that, but Kelvin Benjamin plans to help turn himself more into a leader-role rather than a nuisance. He admitted that he wasn't ready for that role coming out of Training Camp. He mentioned that he plans to turn himself around, and become a leader-like presence in the locker room. Proehl emphasizes Kelvin Benjamin's desire: The Restart With Kelvin Benjamin likely to finally be back fully healthy in 2017 - as predicted by Joe Kenn - Kelvin Benjamin will finally be able to fine-tune his technique during training camp, and not be limited in any role or way. With his plans to improve himself physically and mentally this offseason, there's no doubt in my mind that Kelvin Benjamin will be back in form for the 2017 season. With glimpses of greatness shown in the last two games, there's already precedent to assume that Kelvin Benjamin will likely have a comeback season and assume the role as our #1 wide receiver. This journey will not be easy. There's still a lot of hard work that Kelvin Benjamin must do during the offseason to achieve that goal. But the potential and desire is there, and Kelvin Benjamin knows 2016 was not what he truly is as a receiver. With everyone rooting for his true return, Kelvin Benjamin will work hard and improve himself. In an effort to restart his career, and become the wide receiver Gettleman and the Panthers envisioned as they selected him in the first round of the 2014 draft.
  7. So, amid the amazing flood of moves Gettleman has done the past 24 hours, there's one particular signing that I believe may pan to be one of our most significant ones. You may argue that bringing Peppers back, getting Captain Munnerlyn on a 4 year deal, having another Charles Johnson, having a solid veteran in Mike Adams, or even grabbing Matt Kalil are our key signings this offseason, but there's just one guy we grabbed that I believe will have a huge impact. His name is Russell Shepard. Now, I know many of you were probably like "who dat" when you saw his name pop up as a potential Panther. I probably would've been the same, if it weren't for the fact I grabbed him for a couple weeks in fantasy. He rose through the depth charts and became a solid contributor for the Bucs. However, he's not just a WR. He's also a solid ST gunner who just happens to be one of the key leaders in Tampa. He's very highly regarded in Tampa, and his work ethic and strive to get better was something that seemed to radiate on everyone. He worked pretty dang hard to achieve to the point where he has now, and the sky's the limit to where he can be. Tampa Bay fans certainly are not happy to hear about this move at all. They truly do believe this guy is something special. Take a look at a comment I came across: Currently, his role is comparable to Philly Brown, but I dare say his upside is to work his way to Steve Smith's level. Now, I'm not saying he'll become anything that Steve Smith was - Smitty is certainly a legendary player that comes once in a lifetime - but it's fair to say his improvement from his ground to his ceiling is very likely to be high. So, how will he have an impact day one? Well, take a look: Impact: Special Teams Ace Our special teams have always been mediocre. It's dull, it's boring, and it's average. Nothing special, except a lot of stupid mistakes. The only bright spots were Vernon Butler beasting last year, Jeremy Cash's role, and MVP GOAT P Andy Lee prior to his injury. Other than that, it's a joke. How can we fix this dilemma? Simple. Sign someone who has leadership in that area and thrives in it. Remember that time when Ginn decided to trip over Teddy Williams, causing a huge fumble against the Bucs? Well, you'll never guess who was there to gun for it. I've never seen a guy fall over that fast to snatch a ball. Russell Shepard turns into the flash for a split second and snags the ball Ginn fails to achieve. He showcases good position to make a play, and grabs the ball when the opportunity presented itself. He's done stuff like this for a while, and he's real good at it. There's a reason he's highly regarded as a ST ace for the Buccaneers, and how he led them to be 4th in opponent punt coverage average. He brings physicality, will, and leadership to a ST team group that desperately needs it. With our ST standout Cash making his name known on our group, Shepard would help complement his play with his leadership and skill. Certainly a substantial upgrade in that area. Impact: Route Running Around these parts, route running is a rarity. You got Funchess who seemed to only be able to run routes when he's practicing in training camp. You got Kelvin Benjamin who's like "fug it" and runs a sluggish whatever-you-call-it, and you got everyone else. The only guy on the team who can run anything worth a piece of crap is Olsen. That says a lot. Enter in Russell Shepard. Check out this route he runs down here: Blows off the 49er corner with a solid route to make a nice grab in the endzone. This is some solid route work here. He makes a play by showing off his football route tree against this corner, and it pays off. You don't normally see this level from Carolina receivers, but Shepard brings that aspect with him. Solid guy who can run some routes. Check out another play: In this instance, Jameis Winston throws another one of his erratic throws that he always loves doing. So, how does he get bailed out? Russell Shepard adjusts to his mistake and turns it into a positive. He adjusts himself and his route to accompany Winston's error to turn this play into a good gain. Shows yet again decent feel for the flow of the football game and his ability to bail his QB out in the case of accuracy issues. I don't know about you, but Cam was pretty inaccurate last season. Adding Shepard as his "spell-check" to the offense certainly will help bring back confidence in Cam as he's able to throw to a reliable route runner. Impact: Deep Hitch Route Running In case you didn't notice, Carolina loves using deep hitch routes. It's a staple; our offense predominantly uses that route to gain yardage and make good plays. If you're going to be a Carolina WR, you're going to have to be able to run that route well. Luckily for us, Shepard is really good at that. Take a look at this one: Shepard a deep hitch in space and gets good YAC against the 'Aints secondary, getting a nice gain and completion for the Bucs. Showcases good route running and technique, and catches the ball for a solid gain. This is seen multiple times as his favorite go-to route, and it's something the Panthers just love using. Check out another deep hitch route: He begins by running out and hitting the top real nicely on the deep hitch route. You watch him quickly set up the hitch and play as the corner flies by past him. He plants himself well to make the catch and go for the YAC. Shows good technique and skill in achieving this result. Seems to be a common theme in his good plays when he runs deep hitches, and something our offense loves. I guarantee you Cam will be loving this guy on our team as one of his go-to options. Solid contributor as a route-runner in our scheme. Endgame: Is He Worth It? Yes. He brings leadership and maturity to a section of our team that desperately needs it. He brings about solid route running with potential to be really great. A solid guy the Bucs hated to lose, but a huge gain for us. Don't sleep on this latest installment of Gettlemagic. This guy looks like he can be something.
  8. Hey all, A few of you have been very kind to let me know you miss some of the data analysis I used to do, and in particular, to ask if I can do some similar roster analysis by position groups as I did last year in the offseason. I'm just beginning to see quite a lot of light at the end of the tunnel in terms of a lighter workload with my job, after a pretty insane 6-8 months, and looking forward to doing some roster analysis very soon... Toward that end, I was browsing around some of the Panthers pages at Spotrac tonight. Spotrac is not a site I usually spend a lot of time on, except this time of year. It's probably been 8 - 10 months since I've been over there. It looks to me as if they've revised the site a bit. I landed on a page which looked quite different from what I remembered, and which I found VERY VERY helpful in giving a quick "at-a-glance" overview of how things stand in terms of contracts & free agents, position by position. Here are a couple of the facts that just JUMPED off the page at me. Shocking Observation #1 I was STUNNED to see how little we're paying for WR. Of course Ted Ginn is a pending free agent, so this could change fairly soon if we re-sign him, but even so, we're investing much less at WR than ANY OTHER POSITION on the team, only 4.8 million contracted for this position right now for 2017, which is really surprising for a position where we usually have 5 or 6 players on the 53. Heck, we're spending nearly twice as much for SPECIAL TEAMS than WR! Yikes. Looks like an open door for bringing in some new talent, which we sorely need. I wonder if we have been spending near the least on WR in the league? Might be interesting to research... Maybe I just find this particularly shocking in comparison to the Antonio Brown signing. 1 player getting 4 times what our whole current WR corps is getting. Wow. Here's a closer look at the WRs on our Roster. This is clearly a position where we're back in re-build mode after high hopes last offseason that we were developing some good talent and stability after a few years of churning. It didn't happen. Yes, I think some of the guys like Damiere Byrd, Key Garrett, and Philly Brown still have lots of upside, but really, at least in terms of proven players, pretty much apart from KB we have a clean slate... Funch certainly is not yet proven. He didn't have a good year in 2016. I'm not as confident about him as I was following his rookie season... Looking at the above, I really HOPE we do re-sign Ted Ginn for a reasonable amount. YES, bring in new blood and competition too both via free agency & the draft, but without Ginn we would have HUGE holes at WR. Shocking Observation #2: Counting pending free agents, we currently have an INCREDIBLE total of 18 Olinemen on the roster, Yes, 18, including 8 tackles, and yet even amidst all those bodies we don't have much talent or any certainty at EITHER RT or LT. NO CERTAINTY at all. Of course a lot of these guys are just camp bodies / practice squad guys and many may soon be gone..., but truly this is a position disaster, and it looks like our Front Office is just throwing up stuff onto the wall and hoping something sticks - or hoping they find a diamond in the manure pile. (Granted, they did a pretty good job sniffing out Andrew Norwell, and also Tyler Larsen as a potential backup Center looked very solid and rose from the heap. Really hope we keep him... but Cs and Gs are much easier to find than franchise Left Tackles.) We can't assume Oher will be back. We MUST assume he's likely not going to play. Remmers has proven to be a liability, (although I'm ok if we re-sign him as depth and potential back up at both RT and LT if D. Williams starts at RT in 2017. At least Remmer's a better back up LT option than DAVID FOUCAULT!) We've GOT to sign a proven vet during free agency to shore up LT. MUST. MUST. MUST. If Dave doesn't do it, I will be jumping on the Gettle-bashing bandwagon headfirst. So, those are the two big things that jumped out at me browsing Spotrac tonight. Anyone else notice anything as you browse the team roster / contract situation? Give a look-see then comment here.
  9. SS Jamal Adams is getting a ton of hype. Many here consider him - including me - an absolute must-grab if available with the #8 pick. He would immediately solidify a position of necessity (SS) and provide immediate impact and leadership to go along with our ball-hawking Kurt Coleman when he's moved to his natural FS position. As I was searching around for some good information concerning draft picks, I came across this beauty: Certainly never heard of this commentator/youtuber before, but he provides some very good insight into Jamal Adams and what he brings to the table. If him and Fournette are available at the same time, that'd certainly be a tough choice. But, after thinking, I believe we could find immediate value in the later rounds at runningback, and come out with a solid day one starter in Adams if he's available. I certainly want him after watching this. Discuss.
  10. Note: these tables and graphs are discussed and explained in greater detail in a Carolina Huddle home page entry. You can find the article here: [link to follow] Panthers have only won 8 season openers in their history, but in 5 of those 8 seasons, they've been to the playoffs. In 2005 and 2013, the Panthers lost very close season openers, but went on to have excellent seasons, and make the playoffs. Does the week 1 score have any correlation with season scoring - either points scored or points allowed? Here are the data to help answer those questions - both in table and graph format. First, here's a look at Points Scored in week 1 and in the averages for each season (in all games, losses, and wins) Here are the data in terms of points allowed in week 1 games, and for each season:
  11. Continuing my occasional series looking back at the Panthers 2015 season... Previous entries include: A review of the Panthers roster week-by-week, including season snap totals for each player. A look at red-zone scoring percentage - comparing 2015 and 2014. A look at the Panthers' record at home versus away. *** Today I want to look a bit more closely at points per game. It is still astounding to me that the Panthers led the NFL in scoring in 2015, and especially the fact that we did it without our #1 wide out Kelvin Benjamin. It would have been one thing if the points per game stat were inflated by one or two huge wins, but what is most striking to me as I look back at the 2015 stats, is the CONSISTENCY of our scoring success throughout the season. It is pretty remarkable, and I thought it might be worth digging into and doing some comparison with past seasons, and with a few other teams.... Here's a look at points scored and allowed per game week-by-week in 2015: Only in the first quarter of the season did we average less than 30 points per game. The consistency is striking. Twelve weeks in a row from week 3 to week 15 when we scored at least 27 points - and that included our toughest stretch of the season - the "murderer's row" stretch against Seattle, Philly, Indy & Green Bay. Just look at that again. It's AMAZING: only 2 games (our 2 losses) when we scored fewer than 20 points. only 4 games when we scored fewer than 25 points 10 games when we scored at least 30 points 8 games when we scored at least 35 points 3 games when we scored at least 40 points Given that I'm a pretty recent Panthers fan, I thought it would be interesting to compare those numbers with previous Panthers' seasons. What I notice from the table above is that the sheer number of games where we scored at least 20 or 30 points, while both franchise records, isn't too far above several past seasons' achievements: In 2005 the Panthers scored at least 20 points in 15 games, only two fewer than in 2015. In 1999 (only an 8-8 season), the Panthers scored at least 30 points in 8 games, just two fewer than the 10 games which achieved that feat in 2015. It's fun to note that in Cam Newton's 5 seasons as a Panther, the team has had SIX 40+ point games, equaling the combined total for 40 point games during all 16 years prior to Cam. (In 16 years pre-Cam, the Panthers averaged one 40 point game every 3 years. With our 2015 success, Cam is averaging better than one 40 point game per season.) What really got my attention in looking back at the 2015 season in light of Panthers history was the right side of the table and the consecutive games streaks. This is where the 2015 Panthers blew past team history out of the water. Previously the longest streak of consecutive 20+ point games was 9 games, in 2005. The Panthers smashed that streak with the 14 consecutive 20+ point games in 2015. The team's average 20+ point games streak over it's history is five games per season. Consistency in our offense and scoring production has not really been a trait the Panthers are known for. A game in which the offense clicked and put up dozens of points was often followed by a game where the team couldn't move the ball. 2015 shattered that stereotype and historical pattern, and if the Panthers can continue this kind of scoring consistency in 2016 and beyond, special things are going to happen. While interesting (to me at least), those numbers and streaks of 20, 30 and 40 point games are only part of the picture in understanding our league-leading scoring offense in 2015. Here's a look at the scoring data (points scored, points allowed) and offensive and defensive rankings (by points) for all 21 Panthers seasons: No Panthers offense had previously ranked higher than 4th in the league in terms of scoring, and there had been only five prior seasons where the Panthers had a top-10 scoring offense. Measured by points, the Panthers offense typically ranked in the bottom half of the league (17th). In only three prior seasons (1999, 2008, 2011) had we ever scored more than 400 points in a season, (while in double that number of seasons - six - we FAILED to score even 300 points in a season. OUCH!) 500 points for the Panthers in 2015?!?! Without Kelvin Benjamin? Really?! YES!!! Interestingly, two of our three previous highest-scoring seasons (1999 and 2011) were not winning seasons for the Panthers. Our defense in those seasons was near the bottom of the league (26th and 27th) in terms of points allowed. No matter how good an offense is at scoring, it means little if the defense is giving away points. (See the New Orleans Saints for further evidence!) High-flying offense is exciting, but combine it with an excellent, stingy defense as we did in 2015, (and also in 1996 and 2005) and you have a recipe for winning. Hopefully we mastered that recipe in 2015 and will continue perfecting it in 2016.... In my next season-in-review post I'll look more closely at the defense and some stats related to our league-leading performance in forcing turnovers and capitalizing off of them.
  12. I'm not sure how many entries I'll post in the coming weeks in the "2015 Season in Review" series I'm hoping to do.... I don't have a master plan! But as I post things, I'll link them here to create a 2015 Season in Review Stats & Analysis Index. 1. RED ZONE SCORING (May 8, 2016) - there are two entries for this topic: blog entry briefer entry in Panthers Forum 2. Winning % Home versus Away games (May 8, 2016) 3. 2015 Panthers Roster game by game, and snap counts (May 4, 2016) For reference, the other day I posted a game-by-game overview of the Panthers roster and which players were active. This post also included season snap counts for each player. Updated to include "lost snaps" of players who've departed and need to be replaced. To be continued.... ------ Note: I'll try to remember to tag all entries with the "panthers 2015" and "season in review" tags to make it easier to follow this series.
  13. Now that the draft is over, and in the lull prior to OTAs, Mini-Camp & Training Camp, I'm bored and missing Panthers' football. That creates a great opportunity to go back and do a more thorough 2015 Season-In-Review series related to the stats from last season. I cracked open my 2015 gamebook data spreadsheet for the first time in over two months today and was browsing around the stats there to see what jumped out at me... What most caught my eye, and therefore I want to focus on in this entry is the Panthers DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENT in the RED ZONE in 2015. In fact, I don't think I realized this until today, but we ranked 2nd in the NFL (behind Detroit, oddly enough) in regular season red-zone touchdown %. When you include the post-season, we led the NFL in Red Zone TD efficiency. We improved from a Red Zone Touchdown percent of 48% in 2014 (ranked 26th in the NFL) to over 69% in 2015 (ranked 1st). Here's the data from 2011 - 2015. Note that we not only improved on Red Zone TD%, but significantly increased the number of times were were getting in the red-zone, even exceeding Cam's high-flying rookie season in 2011. Furthermore, we also increased our total Red Zone scoring percentage, avoiding turnovers in the Red Zone. Let's look at the data up close & personal, for both the 2014 and 2015 seasons: In 2014, in 7 of our first 14 games we had a Red Zone Touchdown % of less than 50%. In a horrid 5 game stretch in mid season (Seattle - Min), we only scored 2 TDs in 9 trips to the Red Zone. Ouch. But in general, we were struggling to even get in the red zone in that stretch, let alone score TDs. In 2015, we only had a RZ TD % under 50% in two games (week 1 and week 4). After our pivotal win at Seattle in week 6 (where we were 3-for-3 in Red Zone TDs) we never again dropped below 50% in red zone TD scoring. One other thing I found particularly impressive is that in all but 4 of our 72 trips into the red zone in 2015, we came away with at least a field goal. 50 TDs and 18 FGs in 72 Red Zone trips. Pretty amazing. Since I know tables can make people's eyes glaze over, here's the 2014 and 2015 data in graph form: The Houston, Dallas, at Atlanta and Denver games really stick out when you look at the 2015 data, both for few red zone attempts and few red zone TDs. Of course the Atlanta & Denver games were our only two losses. In Dallas we didn't overwhelm on offense, but didn't need to as our defense was so dominant (two pick 6s...). Against Houston too, our defense helped us win. It might be interesting to review these 4 games in some detail (both game film, and stats) to identify what factors dampened our offense in these games. Here's another comparison of the two years - looking at red zone performance side by side for wins & losses each season: I find it interesting that the performance even in winning games in 2014 was quite a bit weaker than in 2015. In 2015, our offense just hit a new level entirely. A 70% Red Zone touchdown % is REALLY GOOD. And this was without Kelvin Benjamin!! Finally, while there are MANY factors that contribute to a win or loss in the NFL, here's a quick breakdown of how we fared from 2011 - 2015 when our Red Zone TD% was 50% or less, vs. when it was above 50%. I've not done formal statistical analysis on this data, but there's (not surprisingly) a clear correlation between converting Red Zone trips into touchdowns and winning. In 2013 and 2015 we did still find ways to win some games when we were struggling to score TDs in the Red Zone, but overall from 2011 - 2015, we only won 36% of the games where we scored TDs on 50% or fewer of our Red Zone attempts, while we won 76% of the games where we scored TDs on more than 50% of our RZ attempts. At some point I may take a closer look at 2013 - 2015 Red Zone data and try to identify patterns and teams where we struggle in the Red Zone. But if I do that analysis, it will be for another day, and another post. I'll also try to do some additional "Season-in-Review" entries in the coming weeks, mining the gamebook data for interesting stats & analysis. Stay tuned.... ---------- Update: I've posted an exceerpt of this blog entry over on the Panthers Forum. Here's the link to the discussion thread:
  14. (Earlier today I posted two "waaaaay toooo early roster prediction" comments in another Huddler's "Preliminary Depth Chart" thread in the Panthers' forum, and thought it might be worth posting that analysis here for future reference...) Gettleman has a weakness for Hog Mollies. He admitted he couldn't help himself in picking Butler. (No complaints, I think it was a very solid pick). I have a weakness for spreadsheets! Even though I said I wasn't gonna do it... I couldn't help myself. Since I'm very curious about whether all of our draft picks will make the roster this year, and since I've gotten an early crush on a couple of our UDFAs, and since I'm wondering what positions we might still need to bolster with FA signings, I wanted to play with the roster and see how it's shaping up... how many spots are realistically open. So... here you go. Just my opinion of course. Offense here, then will follow with defense in the next comment. Panthers' Offense: I came up with 14 almost certain locks (barring injury or a very unexpected decline in play). The only potential question mark I could see among this group is Tolbert. I'm pretty sure we're expecting to keep him this season, but looks like we're bringing in some solid competition: (UDFAs RB Devon Johnson, FB Andrew Bonnet). Beyond that are 8 semi-definite locks, numbered above from 15 (Joe Webb) to 22 (Beau Sandland). In a few cases I've chosen the player whose position it is to lose (Fozzy, Philly, Chris Scott, Gino Gradkowski). Right now these guys are penciled in... but it's not at all too hard to imagine that they could be beat out by someone else. This leaves maybe 2 or 3 openings on the roster. With only 4 WRs highlighted above, I'd tend to think there could be another 2 WRs added, with Garrett in the running just because he could be a target to be poached from our PS. Also, I'm quite nervous carrying only 8 Oline guys on our 53. Would really like a 9th so, I am advocating for a veteran OT pickup. If we add 2 WRs and 1 OT (yet to be found), this would give us: 3 QBs (though Webb's primary role is on ST) 3 RBs 1 FB 3 TEs 2 C 3 G 4 T 6 WRs TOTAL: 25 players on Offense. In addition to the 22 players numbered above, I'll go out on a limb with a WAAAAYYYY TOO EARLY (sight unseen!) prediction, and predict that Garrett & Hill will be the WRs to make the roster, along with a yet to be signed OT. Now for Defense: This is a LOT more fluid. A couple of position groups (DE, CB & S) will have serious competition. Here's how I see it shaping up now in this WAAAYYY TOO EARLY analysis: I have only 10 near certain locks for the roster... meaning (as we all know) there are starting spots up for grabs... even my #10, Tre Boston is a bit uncertain. I have him as a lock to make the roster. But whether he starts...? We'll have to see. After these 10 are another 7 pretty solid bets to be on the 53, for a total of 17 certain or semi-certain locks. That means as many as 8 spots up for grabs.... Wow. I've indicated those I think are the current favorites to win these open spots with question marks. As with Garrett on Offense, I think Jeremy Cash has a good head-start to make the roster if we like him at all, because he would quite likely get poached from our PS. This would give us 25 players on defense, as follows: DEs 5 (gave the 5th spot to Miley based on how close he came to making the roster last year) DTs 5 (I could see us cutting Kyle Love... but for now he's got a spot to lose) LBs 6 (I've gone with Jacobs as it's currently his position to lose, but no means am certain he'll win the spot) S 4 (After Coleman and Boston, this is a wide open competition! I've guessed re: Marlowe & Cash) CBs: 5 (Since DG has not yet ever cut a draft pick, I presume all 3 of our draft picks will make the roster, but I'm not entirely comfortable with this combination of A solid player (Bene) coming off a late-season injury; A new FA (Boykin); and Three raw rookies. If we trim someone from the DL, I could see us carrying 6 CBs this season, perhaps keeping McClain as veteran depth / insurance. As for Special Teams... I can not imagine us carrying 4 on our roster. Only 3. (But it would not shock me at all if we carried a 2nd punter on our practice squad until we're sure about whomever we sign.) So: Jansen and Gano are locks, with a Punter TDB. Swayze Waters currently is the favorite, but he'll have competition in Palardy and probably at least one other punter (perhaps a veteran) in camp. So there you have a 53 man roster. 25 offense, 25 defense & 3 ST
  15. I've started posting some original tables and game analysis in two threads on the Panthers discussion forum. The Stats & Analysis thread has various statistics & analysis from other sources, as well as my own analysis of offensive production by quarter: Here is the offense by quarter table and analysis for both the Jacksonville & Houston games: Then, in another thread, I've posted my "Game at a Glance" tables and analysis for week 2: At some point I may copy my original tables and analysis for week 2 here, but for now, I wanted to bookmark these links to make it easy for people to find them. UPDATE: I've now posted my gamebook spreadsheet with all the game data (team stats) for weeks 1 and 2. You'll find it here:
  16. Over on the Panthers - Jags Preview & Analysis thread, I've posted quite a lot of tables and some analysis this evening. I thought it might be helpful to pull all those tables and analysis together here in one place. *** I put together some tables to help us get a picture of both the Panthers and the Jaguars starters at a glance. 1st an overview of the Panthers starters (including those substituting for injured players).2nd an overview of the Jaguars starters (including those substituting for injured players).3rd a comparison position by position of the two teams.For each player I compiled 6 statistics: years with the team, age, years played, height, weight, PFF Category. The PFF Category grades are the general categories assigned to each player in the PFF Depth Chart analyses. I've given each category a grade from 1 (poor) to 6 (elite). The PFF rankings primarily reflect 2014 season play. Here is the depth chart for the Panthers, Here is the depth chart for the Jaguars. Note that these depth charts are several months old, and so while the players are current, their place on the depth chart may have shifted substantially during the preseason A Look at the Panthers' Starters: A Look at Jacksonville's Starters: CORRECTIONS: I seem to have somehow gotten at least 2 incorrect weights for the JAX OLine. Sorry not to have caught the mistake earlier. Beadles should be 315 and Parnell is also 315. Not quite sure what happened. I cut and paste the data from the JAX roster page, but perhaps at some point I copied names and weights separately and got things mixed up? Here is the position by position comparison for the OFFENSE of both teams: Here is the position by position comparison for the DEFENSIVE STARTERS of both teams: Some of the things that struck me as I prepared these tables included the very obvious fact that Jacksonville is a team being rebuilt. A full third of the Jacksonville team is NEW: 7 of their starters slated to play on Sunday (i.e. not counting those out with injuries, but counting their replacements instead) have never played with Jacksonville before. This includes 1 rookie and 6 free agents signed for 2015. Another 8 starters have 1 season with Jacksonville - 6 of whom were rookies last year, and so are in their second season in the NFL. That is an INCREDIBLE 15 players (71% of the team's starters!) with only 0 - 1 year of experience with the team. By contrast for Carolina we have 4 new free agents starting (including Kyle Love who will replace Star) and 1 rookie. Note I did NOT count Ted Ginn as a new free agent since he played for Carolina in 2013. We have a pretty high number of 1st year players with Carolina as well - 7 starters with 1 year of experience on the team, 4 of whom were rookies last year, 3 of whom are veteran free agents. So for Carolina the total is 12 players with 0 - 1 year of time with the team (57% - still a pretty high figure, but not nearly as eye-popping as Jacksonville's %). Jacksonville is also in worse shape with injuries than we are, with 3 of their starters slated to sit out (2 of whom are among their best players), while Carolina only has Star sitting out that we know of (also one of our best players). The replacements for all 3 JAX players are rated "below average" by PFF, but so too is Kyle Love, our replacement for Star. Of course, as we've seen with Love, he's played well in preseason, so those ratings from last year may not reflect current play. But for Jacksonville, their already low average rankings for their starters got lower because of the players not starting. For Carolina, the difference was tiny. Jacksonville starters on Offense are CONSIDERABLY YOUNGER and LESS EXPERIENCED than Carolina's offense. For defense, the stats are pretty similar in terms of age & experience for both teams, but as noted above, Carolina has a BIG advantage in CONTINUITY, on both offense & defense, with our players on average having played together 1 - 1.5 years longer than their JAX counterparts. Looking at the players position by position, there's not too much to be said, most of the conclusions are pretty obvious. But a few notes: On Offense: Carolina looks to have the advantage at QB, RB, TE. WRs and OLine rankings are pretty similar for both teams. CAR has a tiny edge in WR, while JAX has a small edge in OLine rankings overall. However JAX has less continuity of their OLine, with 2 new starters added this year in contrast to Carolina only adding 1 new starter, Michael Oher. On Defense: CAR has the advantage at DT. Kony Ealy's "Poor" ranking by PFF means CAR & JAX average out to a matching ranking for DE. For LBs, obviously it's no contest. We rank better for CBs, while JAX has a small edge on Safeties. Carolina's overall defensive ranking is a full point/category higher than Jacksonville's and our continuity is better on defense. I know we've all heard the stories that Blake Bortles is playing so much better in the preseason, but in light of these comparisons, I really can't see much reason at all to favor Jacksonville. Based on the quality of our starters, we SHOULD win this game quite easily. The huge difference in continuity with Carolina's offense and defense having more time to jell and learn how to play together should be a significant advantage for Carolina. *** One last set of tables, and these in some ways are the clearest of all to show that we should have the edge on offense, defense and as a team. I've summed up the numbers of players per team in each PFF category, and then also looked at the same for the offense and the defense. Wow. The quality of Carolina's starters in comparison with JAX is striking. A full 50% of our starters (11 players) rank as good, very good or elite, compared with a total of only 3 JAX players (14%). I'd remembered hearing that Jacksonville's defense was better than its offense, but a full 45% of their defensive starters rank below average, though those figures, as true for Carolina as well, are lowered by injuries. Surprisingly for all our handwringing about offense, we only have 1 of our starters (Oher) or 9% ranked below average, vs. 4 players (36%) for JAX. Now we just need to translate all this nice data in our favor into a VERY CONVINCING WIN on the field!
  17. I've just published a series of blog entries with various statistics regarding the Panthers 2014 season, and the 2015 preseason: Panthers Statistics - Comparing 2014 Regular Season & 2015 PreseasonTop 10 / Bottom 10 - Panthers' Statistics in 2014 & 2015 Reviewing the Panthers' Preseason Gamebooks - Part 1: The Data These entries provide the background data for the analysis which follows. *** Looking at the Panthers 2015 Preseason Results in Comparison with the 2014 Season, and also in terms of momentum: The Panthers 2015 Preseason is now in the books. Having looked at each of the gamebooks, the overall preseason stats, and also having reviewed the 2014 season stats with its statistical highs and lows, what are some of the takeaways? General: In general, while it had its frustrating moments, the overall results of the preseason are encouraging. 3 wins in 4 games is nice and would extrapolate to 12 wins in the season. If only it were that easy…! Obviously all comments that follow below must be taken with some large grains of salt since the regular season and preseason are very different creatures. However, I see some areas of growth and improvement, as well as some familiar areas of struggle. There’s also evidence that we built up some good momentum – especially on the defensive side of the ball – with evident improvement as the preseason went on. That’s nice momentum to have going into the 2015 regular season. Read on to see some of the data that caught my attention as I looked again at the 2014 regular season stats alongside the 2015 preseason stats. Offense: In the 2015 preseason we scored more points per game, and gained greater yards per game than during 2014. It would be great if we could match or exceed our preseason levels during the regular season. Touchdowns – the preseason figures put us on the same pace as 2014. As far as field goals, the preseason levels would put us on record-tying pace for 40 completed field goals in the season. Red Zone efficiency – a familiar struggle which is very concerning. While there is no league-wide data or ranking of teams available for the preseason, our preseason red zone percentage is lower than our already very poor percentage in 2014. This needs to improve. Our Preseason offense was quite balanced - 2/3rds passing vs 1/3rd running in both yards & scoring. Similar to last year. We were one of only three teams in the league in preseason to rank in the top 10 in BOTH passing yards and rushing yards. We were 6th in passing yards and 9th in rushing yards. (Philly was 3rd in passing yards and 1st in rushing yards; Kansas City was 10th in both passing yards and rushing yards.) Having a balanced offense with strengths in both passing and running is a key for our success. It’s exciting that we have such a solid group of running backs on our 53 man roster. Interestingly, our yards per rushing play was identical in preseason to that of the 2014 season. Although that level was good enough to be ranked 5th in the preseason, it only equated to 13th in the regular season last year. It would be good to see that come up. We ranked highly in terms of total 1st downs per game in both 2014 and the preseason. Our 3rd and 4th down conversion averages were poor in the preseason after being quite strong in 2014, however the 3rd down efficiency average for the preseason masks the fact that our 3rd down conversion rate improved dramatically in games 3 and 4 from the levels in the 1st two games. Time of possession was a huge strength and important key in 2014. That needs to continue to improve for 2015 after a merely average performance in preseason. It is notable however that Carolina’s time of possession increased each game throughout the preseason. That’s very encouraging. One HUGE noticeable improvement for the offense during the preseason was a decrease in sacks allowed. With only 5 sacks allowed in the preseason, we were 4th best in the league. (No team had fewer than 4 sacks allowed.) That would put us on a pace for 20 sacks allowed in the regular season – less than half of what our O Line allowed last year. Our interceptions were low in 2014, but even lower in the preseason. Fumbles were also very low in the preseason. Our low turnovers, combined with the defense’s strong performance in takeaways combined to give us an excellent +5 turnover ratio in the preseason, an improvement over 2014 levels. If the preseason level continues, it should give us a good edge in winning games. DEFENSE: For a team known for our strong defense, our 2014 season stats and our 2015 preseason stats are a bit disappointing – basically “just average” in many categories, leading to the conclusion that consistency on defense is key. We’ve seen our defense play “lights out” and know what they’re capable of. Even though we lost the game to the Patriots by 1 point, the final two games of the Preseason were encouraging in terms of our defensive performance. We allowed New England and Pittsburgh to convert only 30% and 9% of their 3rd down opportunities respectively, while Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 in Red Zone scoring. That’s the kind of defensive dominance we need. 5 interceptions in the 4 preseason games is exciting, and perhaps a good indication of our improved secondary. In 2014 in spite of our dreadful two-month losing stretch mid-season, we managed to finish 10th in terms of fewest yards allowed per game: 340 yards per game. Our level of yards allowed per game in the 2015 preseason averaged out to a stingy 300 yards per game, decreasing every game. Sweet. If we can keep that up it would help ensure success in 2015. Preseason stats and rankings are obviously somewhat useless and misleading because while we allowed fewer yards per game both against passing and rushing during the preseason than during the 2014 season, our “rank” is worse as total yardage per game is generally lower in the preseason. At first glance, our preseason ranking of 25th in terms of rushing yards allowed looks abysmal, until you realize that it’s basically the same level we allowed in 2014 which ranked us in the middle of the league at 16th. Our percentage of 3rd downs allowed was surprisingly high in 2014 – 42%, ranking us 22nd. After struggling early on in the 2015 preseason, we got much stingier, finishing with a level of 36% of third downs allowed – 13th in the league. It is good to see 1st downs allowed by our defense decreased every game of the preseason, and the percentage of 3rd down conversions allowed dropped from an average of 48% the first two games, to an average of 19.5% in the final two games. That’s the kind of momentum we like to see. Another sign of positive momentum: our penalties decreased each game of the preseason. Very important. We thrive when we play “smart football” – high time of possession, few penalties, positive turnover ratio. Conclusion: Overall, looking at the preseason in light of the 2014 season, there are signs of improvement in some areas of both offense (e.g. fewer sacks allowed) and defense (increased take aways). There are signs of continued strength in maintaining balanced offensive pressure in both passing and running. Red Zone efficiency continues to be a struggle. Time of possession remains very important for the Panthers, as does a low number of penalties. Our offensive firepower isn’t necessarily high-octane enough to blow most teams out of the water, but a combination of strong defense, balanced offense with an effective running game, and smart football with high time of possession and low penalties should lead to success if achieved consistently throughout the season. There’s lots to be encouraged about regarding how the team has evolved in the past 8 months. P.S. I realize I neglected to mention Special Teams above in my analysis. Basically, our return game and our return coverage are still areas of concern. I've not analyzed them too closely, however. But the overall impression is that we were still vulnerable to allowing big gains by our opponents on returns, and our own returns were pretty weak overall. But, we were rotating in quite a few players to give them reps in the preseason. Hopefully once the special teams line ups are stabilized we'll see improvement. This is definitely something to keep an eye on. Thankfully we rock in one area of special teams: Field goals. Graham Gano led the NFL in the preseason making 10 of 10 field goals. His success will likely be the difference in winning us a few close games. Let's hope he keeps up his top level performance.
  18. Killing the Ron loves Vets over Rookies Meme: Every thread discussing potential rosters or UDFA rookies, someone will pipe up: “but yeah we know how Ron loves his vets…” But I’ve discovered, this is a Huddle meme that does NOT stand up to deeper examination. This is not to say Ron & co have never hung on to a vet too long, or that he doesn’t have some favorites whose places on the roster sometimes befuddle fans who are looking for obvious performance and impact… But more than any other Panthers’ head coach, Ron is showing a willingness to give Rookies a place on the roster – and not just a place, but the chance to start. You can see all the data for the number and % of rookies playing and starting year by year in the attached spreadsheet. (The table is too large for the blog format...). Panthers Rookies Data.xlsx But here's a summary: Coach Roster Avg age Roster Avg exp total active players roster rookies rookies % of roster rookies starting rookies % of total starters rookie games % of total rookie starts % of total Capers 27.6 4.3 58 9.8 16.7% 4.8 12.6% 13.3% 9.6% Siefert 27.4 4.1 58 10.3 17.8% 4.0 10.6% 15.8% 10.9% Fox 26.9 3.8 59 10.9 18.2% 4.6 12.2% 13.9% 7.0% Rivera 26.4 3.4 65 11.3 17.2% 6.3 15.3% 16.2% 13.6% Under Ron Rivera, the rosters have been younger and less experienced on average than under any of the other Panthers coaches. The level of rookies as a % of the active roster under Ron has actually been slightly BELOW average, because there has been higher player turnover under Ron with a higher number of total active players per year. However, in spite of that, Ron leads all coaches in the number and % of rookies starting, and the % of games with rookies playing and total starts by rookies. The chart below shows this clearly: Let me explain those last two columns a bit further. Merely calculating the level of rookies as a % of total starters didn’t seem enough, as it wouldn’t distinguish between a rookie who started 1 game (like David Foucault last year), or a rookie who started or played 16 games. I wanted to calculate the % of rookies as a % of total games played by all players, and % of total starts. To calculate that I first calculated the combined total Games Played in a season, taking the entire roster and summing up the games played by each player. For 2014 that was 714 total games played among the 65 players on the active roster (about 11 games played per player). The rookies on the roster played a total of 112 combined games, so dividing 112/714 gives us a figure of 15.7% games played by rookies as a % of total games. Similarly, the combined number of starts by rookies was 51 games in 2014. 51/352 total starts gives us a 14.5% of rookie starts in 2014. When I first brought up this data in a Huddle discussion a few people replied, well this is just because we’ve had exceptional rookies in recent years, all who’ve started from Day 1: Cam, Luke, Star, Kelvin… But it’s about more than just these players, because other years have also had rookies starting 15 or 16 games in their first season: Charles Godfrey, Jon Beason, Chris Gamble, Keary Colbert, Jordan Gross, Deon Grant, Chris Weinke, Chris Terry, Chuck Wiley, Blake Brockermeyer. What’s exceptional about Rivera is that he has started 25 rookies at some point over the past 4 seasons, with especially high levels in 2011 and 2014, an average of 6.3 rookies starting per season. He doesn’t just have a lot of rookies on the roster, he’s playing them. He leads all other coaches. The “Ron will always favor vets over rookies” meme is JUST. SIMPLY. WRONG. Note: it's worth browsing through the related forum discussion on this topic, because there I've included some additional charts and discussion in response to various comments.