I got a text from a good buddy of mine and he asked me if he thought that we would beat NO at home because he's in some league that makes picks on games for money or something. He's a Bostonian, so he doesn't see much Panther football.
Anyway, I told him we rarely get swept by the Saints, and that we will split. In fact we're .500 against them in the dome (4-4), and 3-4 against them at the Bank, since the Brees-Payton era. The Saints don't own us, we don't own the Saints. It's a pretty even rivalry no matter either team's situation.
In any case it got us talking about the Panthers, and I basically came upon this conclusion offensively. Our shortcomings in the secondary will cause us to get in shootouts with potent offenses.
People have almost grown accustomed to saying this season that our offense is not able to play in shootouts, but my question is why? Why has Shula built this offense to be so one-sided? We have shown that we can effectively run a ball controlled offense, but Cam and this EXACT same offensive talent last year and the year before under Chud showed that we can ALSO effectively go vertical and put up some serious points.
So, this is my hypothesis. Why don't we find that happy medium? If we can find that mix between what Chud did and what Shula does every game, we could basically be the best team in the NFL. Think about it. If we sped it up and went for the big play (which the offense can certainly do) on certain drives, but also slowed down and played smash mouth Fox/Shula ball on certain drives (which the offense can certainly do), we would be able to win any type of game.
Shula has shown us this season that he typically is a much more controlled situational play caller than Chud was, and he's also shown that he has some very similar formations and schemes that Chud ran the past 2 years, but he rarely pulls them out. We can score points, the talent hasn't changed for the most part. We have the same offensive linemen, the same running backs, the receiving core has gotten more unique (not necessarily better but also not worse), what's the issue?
I think that Shula tried to completely eliminate that "let loose" style that Chud ran, but the fact is that it didn't need to be eliminated. It just needs to be toned down, and it needs to be more controlled situationally (like the offense during the December win streak last year).