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#1 Mr. Scot

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 03:30 AM

Think back over the past season, and answer to yourself how many times you remember seeing these things or things like them:

- Thomas Davis making a bone-jarring tackle
- Chris Harris ripping a ball loose from a receiver or rusher
- Julius Peppers making a sack that looked painful
- Opposing offensive players looking like they’d been hit by a truck

If you’re like me, you remember isolated instances of these things, but not an abundance of any…or all. It just didn’t seem like they happened all that much. Granted, age may be catching up to me, but my memory is still fairly intact and the gray matter in my cranium still works well enough for a guy in his early forties.



(ummmm…where was I?)



(ah yes…defense)

One of the stated goals of offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson is that opponents leave the field “black and blue” after facing the Panther offense. Davidson’s done a good job building toward that promise, crafting a physical, run-based attack where the stiffarm is a weapon of mass destruction and players from Lance Briggs to Ronde Barber to the newly christened Stylez G White can all be run over.

But is there a corresponding nastiness to the defense?

In my opinion, not really.

At one point in “Remember the Titans”, Coach Bill Yoast encourages his players using the line “Defense is desire, fire and desire.” Not a complete description, but true at it’s base. Poor scheme can kill you (as evidenced in the playoff loss) but even the right scheme can be vanilla if the players running it aren’t especially physical.

So are the defensive issues solved by the hire of Ron Meeks?

Yes...and no.

There are two kinds of defensive coaching in the league. There’s the Tony Dungy type that’s cerebral enough to figure out the weaknesses in any offense and exploit them. Then on the flipside, you have fiery types like Bill Cowher that primarily push desire and physicality. Of these groups, I’d say Meeks falls into the first bunch. Eugene Robinson makes it sound like he lives up to his last name, describing him as someone who won’t yell or scream, but who is smart enough to help you get in the best position to make plays.

If Meeks does indeed do this, then the scheme will likely be better, so that potentially solves half the problem. But what about the lack of fire?

Every time I turned on a Steelers or Ravens game this season, there was at least one big “ouch, that hurt” moment a quarter. What would it take to get our players to play like that? The old GI Joe line used to say, “knowing is half the battle” and indeed it is. Knocking opposing players flat on their can is the other half. We’ve got a coordinator who “knows”. How then do we cultivate the “knocks”?

The clear answer: By hiring the right position coaches.

Bring in a guy like Tim Krumrie who is always full speed and never quits to exhort the defensive line. Hire someone like Dave McGinnis to coach the linebackers on channeling their aggression. Reach out to a coach like Herm Edwards who’ll teach his guys to always be after the ball right up till the whistle stops.

Mind you, I’m not saying it has to be these particular guys, just someone that fits the profile.

Since we’ve hired a coordinator who plays the role of quiet technician, let’s get some position coaches in who will fuel the motor in our players with the kind of high octane that produces those “ouch” moments every game, not every once in a while.

Do that, and I believe our defense can be a force, even without Julius Peppers.

We’ll see if anything like that happens as the position coach hirings play out.

#2 d-dave

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 04:59 AM

You're totally right about the lack of a really physical mind set on our defense this season. I think early on, the guys were playing very physical, but things changed after the first 6 games or so.

I hope that meeks is able to put our players into positions to succeed and we can get some coaches to have our players fired up and dominate other teams. Hopefully Fox is cool with that. =)

#3 DaveThePanther2008

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 06:03 AM

Mr. Scot and d-dave you both are correct.

Our defense has been good but not great. We have never been feared like Tampa, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore. If you made a good play against these guys. You could expect to pay the price on the hit or next play. They took it personal and made you pay.

I would love to see that type of respect and fear. Trgo just never instill that type of passion and intensity.

Jack Del Rio had us close. The Defense was tough and hard hitting.


Go Panthers

#4 BlindSite

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 06:47 AM

Our linebackers were great this year, Davis included, any opinion to the contrary is flat out wrong.

#5 thefuzz

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 09:32 AM

The only feared tackler on the D for us is Harris, and he is nowhere near a Troy or Ed type hitter.

The rest are good tacklers, but not big hitters. I personally like those who wrap up, and maybe miss the big hit. At the end of the day, the Safety is a more important position than most give it credit for, and we have good S's but not great.

#6 Kurb

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 09:46 AM

The only feared tackler on the D for us is Harris, and he is nowhere near a Troy or Ed type hitter
.


Your right, I would say he hit's harder, but no where near as good a complete saftey.

The man JACKED UP Jacobs for petes sake.

#7 thefuzz

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 09:54 AM

Your right, I would say he hit's harder, but no where near as good a complete saftey.

The man JACKED UP Jacobs for petes sake.


I think that he can hit harder, but not on a consistent basis.


Reed is one of my favorite players in the game, and to be honest, I am very jealous that we don't have him.

#8 Lout

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 10:00 AM

The only feared tackler on the D for us is Harris, and he is nowhere near a Troy or Ed type hitter.

The rest are good tacklers, but not big hitters. I personally like those who wrap up, and maybe miss the big hit. At the end of the day, the Safety is a more important position than most give it credit for, and we have good S's but not great.


Harris hits harder than Polomalu and Reed.. also Thomas Davis is one of the hardest hitters in the entire league. I still remember his special teams tackle his rookie season that ended Terrence Murphy's career.

#9 Kurb

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 10:03 AM

I think that he can hit harder, but not on a consistent basis.


Reed is one of my favorite players in the game, and to be honest, I am very jealous that we don't have him.



He doesn't get the chances because he isn't as athletic, so ya I agree.

Reed is on my mancrush list as well.:biggrinjester:

#10 manwithcake

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 10:15 AM

Bring in a guy like Tim Krumrie who is always full speed and never quits to exhort the defensive line. Hire someone like Dave McGinnis to coach the linebackers on channeling their aggression. Reach out to a coach like Herm Edwards who’ll teach his guys to always be after the ball right up till the whistle stops.

Spot on. Unfortunately, it's looking less and less like Edwards is gonna coach next year, but you're dead on in suggesting we need coaches with attitude.

#11 bleys

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 10:30 AM

Thats very true. We've been waiting for nastiness on our defense for some time. The move of Thomas Davis to WLB was supposed to open him up so he could hit people and play with his speed more. I was hoping to see him make some hard hits.

Other than Harris' knocking out that Guard 3 times in a row, I didn't notice him make too many hard hits.

Godfrey laid the wood a few times, but they were never head on...


Our defense played through the '07 year and the '06 year even when the season was over for us. They kept playing for the coach, but we haven't been an aggressive/hard hitting defense for some time.

We could call it "Heart". But I don't think that's it. I think it's playing with a killer mentality. In the Arizona game, we were helping the other team get up off the ground... When we should have been licking our chops to put them on the ground again.

Within those 60 minutes, we have no friends. We lend no humanitarian aide. It's an all out war and every time the other team's offense gets on the field, we take that as an insult because we didn't hurt them enough to give up.

It's the line of thinking that counts. That's what Dan Morgan brought. He played old school football and use his body as a lethal weapon. (Unfortunately, thats the same reason he can't play now)

But regardless, our Defense just isn't nasty. We need to get mean on that side of the ball.

#12 rayzor

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 10:39 AM

it all goes back to the black glove award.

the guys were hitting hard trying to win it and when they took it away they got soft.

it needs to be brought back. screw the pansies worrying about people getting hurt.

#13 bleys

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 10:42 AM

it all goes back to the black glove award.

the guys were hitting hard trying to win it and when they took it away they got soft.

it needs to be brought back. screw the pansies worrying about people getting hurt.


I'm sayin, there are some brutal D's out there... Ravens and Steelers game was a beautiful game for any fan of Defense...

They play nasty. They don't show unsportsmanlike conduct on the field.. But they still play nasty.

We don't have that. We haven't had that for a long time.

We need that.

#14 Mr. Scot

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 11:13 AM

Our linebackers were great this year, Davis included, any opinion to the contrary is flat out wrong.

Ability-wise I would agree.

But defenses also thrive on intimidation. This is where we're lacking all around.

#15 Mr. Scot

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 11:14 AM

it all goes back to the black glove award.

the guys were hitting hard trying to win it and when they took it away they got soft.

it needs to be brought back. screw the pansies worrying about people getting hurt.

It does make you wonder why that went away.

It's also worth discussing whether Davis propensity for hard hits dropped with his switch in positions.

They play nasty. They don't show unsportsmanlike conduct on the field.. But they still play nasty.

Glad you mentioned that. Some folks thought sportsmanship was the problem. I disagree with that. You can be intimidating and hit hard while remaining a good sport.

Edited by Mr Scot, 29 January 2009 - 11:16 AM.



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