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Along the Sidelines - Patriots Edition

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#1 Jeremy Igo

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 07:43 AM

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I realize many want to quickly forget the Friday night game in Foxboro, and while much of the game can (and should) be thrown out, there are a few things worth mentioning and remembering.

 

No one should ever question the skill level or importance of Luke Kuechly to the Panthers defense. Over the past two seasons, media voices have said he has benefited from an excellent defensive line and simply pads his numbers based on that fact. However, when Kuechly left the field on Friday night, there was a huge drop in defensive performance.

 

I noticed Luke was wearing extra padding on his right wrist and thumb. Kuechly usually does wear wrist braces, but this was something else. It looks as though he may have seen limited play as a precaution. See for yourself...

 

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Star Lotulelei was one of the bright spots on defense. He posted a couple of tackle, an assist, and this hurry on QB Tom Brady.

 

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Another bright spot was rookie Kelvin Benjamin who had five receptions. I noticed a familiar face tackling Benjamin. Former Panthers linebacker James Anderson (55 below) was signed by the Patriots in June.

 

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Benjamin continues to improve and refine his game as the preseason progresses.Things like pointing our the line of scrimmage marker and making sure he is lining up absolutely perfect shows he understands how much of his position are about the small details.

 

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The Patriots tried shutting Benjamin down by placing veteran CB Darelle Revis on him.

 

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The result was an 11 yard reception and a first down.

 

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Jonathan Stewart once again had the best performance of the running backs, but that isn't saying much considering the poor performance by the entire offense that night. But Stewart did manage to almost get 3 yards per carry, while Deangelo Williams averages less than 2.

 

Stewart is strong enough to power through initial contact....

 

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...and nimble footed enough to avoid it.

 

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Cam Newton had a rough night, but still managed to post a respectable 88.2 QB rating. I wonder what his rating would have been without Kelvin Benjamin on the field.

 

Cam was under pressure for 8 of his 17 snaps. The most troubling statistic is that Cam was only blitzed twice by the Patriots defense. That means the Patriots were able to apply pressure 6 times from their base defense. Not good.

 

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On one awkward fall, Cam strained a back muscle. Noticing he was unable to get up out of the huddle, Greg Olsen motioned for a trainer.

 

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Along the sidelines, Ron Rivera was not satisfied with Cam's performance. Rivera has said Cam will play in the last preseason game. He needs as many snaps as possible with his completely new receivers before the season starts.

 

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Thomas Davis posted six tackles on the night. 

 

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While others are getting up, walking away, Davis remained intensely focused on the first down marker, making sure his man didn't get there.

 

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Tom Brady was free to throw the ball all night long, only being pressured four times by the defense. Only one of those pressure came when the Panthers played their base defense. For a team built on applying pressure with only four down lineman, that is not a good showing.

 

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If there is one thing Brady does extremely well and Cam needs to improve on it is moving in the pocket while under pressure but still making the throw. Brady is a master at moving his feet just enough to stay in the protection, but never taking his eyes off his receivers.

 

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The turf at Gillette Stadium is very soft, packed with plenty of small rubber granules that act as soil. Kicks resemble a golf swing as the rubber divots fly.

 

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Brenton Bersin was targeted twice, had two receptions, and racked up 42 yards. People laugh when Bersin is mentioned as a number two receiver, but I don't understand why. He does everything well, from catching....

 

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... to run blocking. People overlook the fact that Bersin is 6'3 and 210 pounds. Bigger and stronger than Brandon Lafell.

 

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At the end of the night, the entire Panther bench looked deflated. Notice all of the pursed lips.....

 

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Psychologists will tell you that particular facial expression means the patient is feeling unsure, frustrated, or disappointed.

 

I'd say that sounds about right.



#2 Montie_0123

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 08:13 AM

Great write up as always hopefully the team can correct their mistakes. And hopefully Cam can build some chemistry/trust with the other WRs outside of KB and Olsen.


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#3 Ex Pat New Englander

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 08:15 AM

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Things I knew going into this game.

 

The Panthers have an amazing front seven. I find myself marvelling at Kuechly and Davis. I hope they stay healthy this year because they are fun to watch, even when they are destroying Patriot running backs. Star seems to have taken another leap in his development. I'm jealous of your young talent at DT.

Also, the Panther's pass rush looked decent even without CJ. You didn't get any sacks, but a lot of that had to do with the quick release and good decision making of the Pats qb's. Brady had to thread the needle versus this D. Except for a few Panther defensive breakdowns, the Pats were forced to complete a bunch of difficult throws to keep drives alive. 

 

I'd hate to play this team if the secondary steps up. 

 

Things I didn't know...

 

KB is a match up nightmare. I was skeptical about the Panthers bringing in a first round WR as they tend to bust, and the front office's had been doing such a good job of drafting trench guys that I assumed this was a panic move due to your thiness at WR. I still think OL was a need, but KB looks legit, and will only improve with time.

 

Before you throw Byron Bell under the bus, consider that Chandler Jones is primed for a 15+ sack season. Also, the Pats knew Cam was rolling on shaky wheels. Last year, he made our DE's look silly when they lost contain on him. If Cam was healthy, Chandler Jones would never take a inside move on a rush and lose contain. If Cam is hobbled this year, get ready for a lot more teams letting there DL pin their ears back and attacking. You may want to consider employing some quicker passes and screens if you want to keep teams off balance, and cam upright.

     



#4 MV%doe

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 08:33 AM

Zod, thanks for finally getting a house pic.

#5 HubKat

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 08:36 AM

Ju


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#6 zacka77ack

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 08:53 AM

I wonder how it feels to have Star hoisted on your shoulders.

#7 Kevin Greene

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 08:56 AM

Bersin will be a great story. We need a UDFA to bust out big time.



#8 Argus Plexus

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 09:11 AM

I love the way Stewart runs



#9 Chaos

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 09:22 AM

Thomas Davis was playing with authority. This guy brings it on every single snap, preseason or regular season. I didn't even realize he had shed the knee brace. Hands down my favorite player.

#10 Jeremy Igo

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 09:27 AM

Defensive tackles are probably the most difficult to shoot. Rarely a chance without someone being in the way.

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#11 ViaVeritasVita

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 09:28 AM

Things I knew going into this game.

 

Things I didn't know...

 

aside from the one Pats troll that came here Friday night, the three or four Pats fans that have come here to post have been quite reasonable and intelligent. i may dislike the Pats for their coaching staff and QB, but pretty much every Pats fan i have ever met has been pretty down to earth about their team and pretty knowledgeable about football in general. kudos to the Patriots fanbase. you are the one redeeming quality about your team haha


Edited by ViaVeritasVita, 24 August 2014 - 09:29 AM.


#12 SCP

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 09:37 AM

We have some really good players at most positions. But man do we have some holes to fill.


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#13 Boner Champ

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 10:08 AM

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#14 Jesus Hog

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 10:41 AM

I remember the preseason game against Philly last year. We looked HORRIBLE. Although we want to look dominant all the time, it's ok to throw in a stinker periodically in the preseason.

When Manning was with the Colts, they never seemed to win a preseason game. It happens every year - people make predictions about the regular season based on preseason. There are always teams that look dominant early and suck when the bullets fly for real. Same thing is true the other way around.

Just a bit of perspective.

#15 CPF4LIFE

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 12:01 PM

Cam never runs in pre season anyway so its hard to say he didnt because of the ankle. Im confident he will be ready to go week 1.





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