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#1 BlindSite

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 10:30 PM

Key to success lies in respecting the earned rights of stars.

Reading through Michael Stahan's “inside the Helmet” there is a passage that details a media circus between Tiki Barber and Tom Coughlin.

Mid 2007 during Barber's final season as an NFL running back, he made comment to the New York media to the effect that Coughlin's decision to get away from the running game in a winnable game against his former charge, the Jacksonville Jaguars ultimately cost the team the game.

During an argument between Coughlin and Barber, Tiki's motivation for the comments came to surface. Rather than commenting on Coughlin's coaching style per se Barber was commenting on the coach not allowing the stars of the team to win the game.

During a breakfast following the incident with Coughlin Barber remarked to Strahan that after his service and after his impressive seasons past, with the game on the line the stars of the team had earned their right to either win or lose the game.

In the never ending chess match that football is, the coaching staff of any NFL team can fall victim to being too cute. To highlight an example is calling a draw play on third down instead of a pass to a tight end, or wide receiver. Up by a bunch of points, or early in the first quarter at 0-0 this move may be fine, but with the game on the wire, it can be a pointless endeavor.

During the Carolina vs New York match up for home field through the playoffs Davidson seemed to get away from calling run plays to Williams, short fades, smoke routes and screens to Smith, not to mention intermediate passes. To some analysts this may have cost the Panthers the game, as while the defense expected the ball to go to Smith the alternative or what can be called “cute” plays failed and as we know a field goal went swirling wide.

Later against New Orleans in several instances Davidson and Fox seemed to stick to the running game or try an ill advised, ineffective play when a simple, well proven forumla of using Smith, Muhammad or Hackett fell to the wayside, the pooch kick at the end fits in this category.

Steve Smith, Mushin Muhammad, Jake Delhomme and DeAngelo Williams have proven themselves to be stars of the team this year and realistically speaking when the game is on the line, or momentum needs to be shifted back to Carolina's way these players are the lightening rod for success.

Yes, defensive coordinators will know there's going to be a pass to the tall and strong Muhummad or the indefatigable Smith, but so what? Time and time again schemes and players have failed and the Panthers have excelled.

Over the years its easy to learn to trust Fox in the playoffs, but Davidson is entering his first time in the playoffs as an offensive coordinator and in keeping with that fact Davidson has to allow his stars to run the offense and win the games for Carolina. They've certainly earned the right this year.

#2 Fireball77

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 10:33 AM

Getting a feel for gameday playcalling takes time to develop, so certainly Davidson should rely some on the experience of his players and fellow assistant coaches in the playoffs. From what players have said, it does sound like he takes input from the players which is great. He also was around a really goof gameday playcaller on several playoff runs (Weis) so he can draw from that experience as well.

Tiki is a total tool though. I doubt highly that he would have taken public responsibility for the NYG losing that game had they handed him the ball 40 times and failed. He should have kept that thought of his in house.

#3 CharlotteBeer.com

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 12:59 PM

Did you write this? If so, it's very well done and insightful.

If you didn't, we should probably throw up a link.

#4 User Name

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 01:12 PM

Getting a feel for gameday playcalling takes time to develop, so certainly Davidson should rely some on the experience of his players and fellow assistant coaches in the playoffs. From what players have said, it does sound like he takes input from the players which is great. He also was around a really goof gameday playcaller on several playoff runs (Weis) so he can draw from that experience as well.

Tiki is a total tool though. I doubt highly that he would have taken public responsibility for the NYG losing that game had they handed him the ball 40 times and failed. He should have kept that thought of his in house.


I read that differently, as in Davidson, or for that matter the Panthers staff is reluctant to trust their players.

From the tongue lashing Jake gave Davidson last week, I question the validity of his "trusting" his playmakers. I do believe the O is now more open to audibles, but I also believe if the players had their way the O wouldn't go so conservative with a lead.

Same with the D, the "simplified" scheme that was being employed earlier in the year appeared to be more effective. Since the more structured version was inserted during the bye the D seems flat.

#5 VA Panther Fan

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 01:28 PM

This team has more playmakers on it than any other Panther team in the history of the franchise. From Jake's perspective, it appears realizes this and is frustrated when "give up" plays are called in from the sidelines, knowing that the talent is there and a play could be made.

From Davidson's perspective, I'm sure he has Fox whispering in his ear to play it close to the vest. The key is to balance the two perspectives. For the most part, even though the fans have some meat to their arguments, it's difficult to argue with 12-4.

#6 BlindSite

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 05:11 PM

Getting a feel for gameday playcalling takes time to develop, so certainly Davidson should rely some on the experience of his players and fellow assistant coaches in the playoffs. From what players have said, it does sound like he takes input from the players which is great. He also was around a really goof gameday playcaller on several playoff runs (Weis) so he can draw from that experience as well.

Tiki is a total tool though. I doubt highly that he would have taken public responsibility for the NYG losing that game had they handed him the ball 40 times and failed. He should have kept that thought of his in house.


Number one, Tiki though I don't like him that much, is one of the smartest football players ever to wear cleats. He was right in what he said, the New York media however took it out of context and that's what's lead to the irrational hatred of any player who makes comment in the locker room.

On a side note, fans need to pick on, something impassioned or "it is what it is" you can't have both.

Secondly, its not about whether or not he'd take responsibility, or even if he could win the game, its about giving the ball to the players who deserve it in those situations.

Did you write this? If so, it's very well done and insightful.

If you didn't, we should probably throw up a link.


I did write it, and thank you.

I read that differently, as in Davidson, or for that matter the Panthers staff is reluctant to trust their players.

From the tongue lashing Jake gave Davidson last week, I question the validity of his "trusting" his playmakers. I do believe the O is now more open to audibles, but I also believe if the players had their way the O wouldn't go so conservative with a lead.

Same with the D, the "simplified" scheme that was being employed earlier in the year appeared to be more effective. Since the more structured version was inserted during the bye the D seems flat.


Exactly, against the Giants and against the Saints there were times when I thought to myself, this is the perfect time to look deep, they've got a safety down and they're not rolling coverage and I saw three runs and a punt.

We need some killer instinct and this comes from the same vein of thinking, while its not the last drive game winning look-to-this-guy thing, its 'we can break there backs, so lets do it.'

This team has more playmakers on it than any other Panther team in the history of the franchise. From Jake's perspective, it appears realizes this and is frustrated when "give up" plays are called in from the sidelines, knowing that the talent is there and a play could be made.

From Davidson's perspective, I'm sure he has Fox whispering in his ear to play it close to the vest. The key is to balance the two perspectives. For the most part, even though the fans have some meat to their arguments, it's difficult to argue with 12-4.


I agree, Davidson is probably using runs that will work to the highest percentage against whatever defense he's facing based on what he's found in the film study and meeting rooms.

The thing is though if we're up by two scores and there's a noticeable momentum shift that tendency to go into the shell and stop trusting the play makers to make plays we tend to end up losing (NY) or winning with a field goal.

Everyone hated the Patriots for running up the score on opponents, but after living through a couple of games with my heart in my mouth watching vanilla schemes on both sides of the ball I can understand it.

You're up by 14 in the fourth, lets make it impossible for them to come back. This year I've seen too many quick strikes against a tired D when our offense isn't allowed to attack mercilessly.

#7 Fox007

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 06:59 PM

Number one, Tiki though I don't like him that much, is one of the smartest football players ever to wear cleats. He was right in what he said, the New York media however took it out of context and that's what's lead to the irrational hatred of any player who makes comment in the locker room.

On a side note, fans need to pick on, something impassioned or "it is what it is" you can't have both.

Secondly, its not about whether or not he'd take responsibility, or even if he could win the game, its about giving the ball to the players who deserve it in those situations.



I did write it, and thank you.



Exactly, against the Giants and against the Saints there were times when I thought to myself, this is the perfect time to look deep, they've got a safety down and they're not rolling coverage and I saw three runs and a punt.

We need some killer instinct and this comes from the same vein of thinking, while its not the last drive game winning look-to-this-guy thing, its 'we can break there backs, so lets do it.'



I agree, Davidson is probably using runs that will work to the highest percentage against whatever defense he's facing based on what he's found in the film study and meeting rooms.

The thing is though if we're up by two scores and there's a noticeable momentum shift that tendency to go into the shell and stop trusting the play makers to make plays we tend to end up losing (NY) or winning with a field goal.

Everyone hated the Patriots for running up the score on opponents, but after living through a couple of games with my heart in my mouth watching vanilla schemes on both sides of the ball I can understand it.

You're up by 14 in the fourth, lets make it impossible for them to come back. This year I've seen too many quick strikes against a tired D when our offense isn't allowed to attack mercilessly.



Yea i agree with all of that.

#8 SCpanther

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 07:23 PM

You make some good points Blindsite. I agree that they need to have more of a killer instinct when leading.

#9 Cold Cat

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 08:29 PM

Everyone hated the Patriots for running up the score on opponents, but after living through a couple of games with my heart in my mouth watching vanilla schemes on both sides of the ball I can understand it.

You're up by 14 in the fourth, lets make it impossible for them to come back. This year I've seen too many quick strikes against a tired D when our offense isn't allowed to attack mercilessly.


I think most of us agree that we're tired of seeing a team come back on us because we become very stale on Offense when we have the lead. I'd love to see us keep the other team out of reach.

But in no way do I want to see us putting up 50 or 60 points in a game. I don't believe that running up the score is the right thing to do anytime. Thats the perfect recipe for someone on the opposeing Defense to get pretty mad and hurt one of our players. I'd love to have a comfortable lead and play some reserves. If we happen to score with them in then fine.

#10 Fiz

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 08:40 PM

your best written article by far

#11 User Name

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 08:52 PM

I'd love to have a comfortable lead and play some reserves. If we happen to score with them in then fine.


The problem with that is there is no such thing as a comfortable lead in the NFL. Would you feel 20pts to start the 4th quarter is safe? Well guess what the Saints threw up 21 in the fourth last week, and that hasn't just happened to the Cats, it actually happens often when a "comfortable" lead is achieved. It's a huge momentum shift when a team claws back and often they blow right on past the team that has let up.

Bottom line is in the NFL hell in any league except maybe Pop Warner you should never let up, score as often as possible and shut the other team out if you can. A wise ball coach once said it better to me than anyone, "you won't loose many games if you score every time you have the ball".

#12 pstall

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 09:34 PM

This can almost be a Catch 22. The "cute" factor, while I agree with, can be the perfect time to run when the D is expecting something else.

To me, the key is getting 2nd and short. That opens the door for great options and truly puts the D on it's heels. Will it be a run or a pass?
For the Panther's this is especially important because 3rd and long they are not great at.
I do know at times, you run a play or two to entice the D into a formation you want for maximum impact.
There were a couple of times in the Giant's game that a simple reverse or end around would have caught them in the wrong formation. Maybe we went vanilla knowing that we were dominating and if we could win with vanilla then the kitchen sink in the playoffs would be no problem.
I have no idea of knowing.

#13 User Name

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 09:49 PM

I have no idea of knowing.


I think you have plenty of company...

#14 Delhommey

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 10:24 PM

"Cute" to me means getting away from your strengths to surprise the other team and should be used ultra sparingly.

The other team doesn't really expect your offensive linemen to catch a pass and it's probably best you don't try and shock them that way.

Cute was the play action on the goalline in Minnesota that came back to haunt us in the end.

#15 Fiz

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Posted 01 January 2009 - 11:11 PM

To me, the key is getting 2nd and short. That opens the door for great options and truly puts the D on it's heels. Will it be a run or a pass?


oh my god brilliant analysis there nute


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