Not at all. Atlanta got one game away from the Super Bowl and we should have swept them last year
. We just have to stop shitting the bed early in the season so that when we go on our late season run we are still in it. Not running 65% read option this year makes me feel better already. Cam showed he is ALOT better under center so if we actually use our running game and playaction(I expect Shula to), along with his running ability, we will be hard to stop. We definitely still need a vet RG or Kug just to be ready from day 1, but Cam is going to light it up in year 3.
Thanks to dvr, I recorded all the panther games last year. I don't think it was a read option problem, it was an execution/play construction problem.
Looking at the first game at Tampa, there were 0 underneath routes... some digs and comebacks..but no drags, shallow crosses ..nothing. Everything was 10 yards at least down the field. The only thing short were the screens passes. The next 6 games were similar, contributing to the horrible play were some really bad overthrows and some really bad drops at inopportune moments. Our guard play the first 7 games was so bad it's not funny. Cam's ability to break arm tackles and extend plays masked how bad they were. Don't even let me get started about running inside the tackles....my god.
Around game 7 things got a little better with smitty running drags around the 5-7 yard mark.. and a lot more slants. Still an insane number of deep routes but I suppose that's what our offense is built off. Running backs were being kept in to block, but seemed like it wasn't needed as much. Gross started giving up tons of speed rushes to the outside, but I don't know if that was more of a helping Silatolu who should have had a speed pass light installed onto his helmet in passing plays. Bell started playing really well imo around this time however.
Coming into game 9 or 10, the backs were releasing consistently, Lots more underneath stuff, poor Murphy was running fly routes like no tomorrow though. He must be in shape. Olsen who was open the entire season started being the 2nd option rather than option number 4. Most of the season up to that point it was 1st was SS, then it was Lafell, tuck and run, then Olsen.
Last part of the season it was checkdown, checkdown, 15 yards, 15 yards, checkdown. Cam started looking real comfortable. Wasn't forcing at all, and Gross and Silatolu starting clicking on the left side. Hangartner and Williams also started trapping pretty good, but stunts killed them. Tolbert was a monster both catching, short yardage runs and lead blocking. It's crazy how underutilized he was looking back at it.
In my opinion if we get moderately consistent play at the RG position, use tolbert more, and if Silatolu gets better we are fine offensively. I don't think our DT play was as bad as everyone thinks it was, however if we have someone who commands double teams on the interior, its going to be ugly for whomever we play. CJ was getting doubled and Hardy was getting chipped or vice versa. I think the reason Dwan had such a good year was because of this. Star on the interior means Dwan will be just as disruptive if not more, and either CJ or Hardy won't be doubled.
Also as far as the LB's go. Looking at the games, as of game 9 , Kuechly was in almost every tackle not 20 yards down the field. Once he recognized the play, its dead. However Thomas Davis always stepped his game on on the big plays. He was a "playmaker" in every sense of the word. I am so happy he is back and healthy. Anderson was solid, I expected to see him as the weakest link, but he wasn't that bad at all. Not spectacular but really really solid. If Beason recovers and plays better than Anderson it's going to be scary.