I love a Shula bashing thread as much as the next guy, but it's not all Shula's fault. Look at me defending Shula. What has the world come to?
Here are the four biggest issues that have contributed to the Panthers 2 game losing streak (in no particular order):
1. Panthers are negative in turnover differential. The last turnover the Panthers had in their favor was Gano's fumble recovery against Detroit. Our defense has caused zero turnovers since then after leading the league in turnovers the first two games. The Panthers offense isn't good, giving them fewer opportunities doesn't help matters.
2. Offensive line looks awful against a 3-4. We have two tackles who do well against slower, larger bull rushing defensive ends. Against speedy ends or 3-4 backers, they are just awful. See the first play against the Ravens for reference. The good news is Chicago runs a classic base 4-3, although they will change it up a but like the Panthers from time to time.
3. No member of the defensive line demands a double team. Defenses now have the luxury of having a free offensive lineman to block Luke or any other linebacker they wish. This is a game changer and has an impact on the entire defense that cannot be overstated. If just one member of the defensive line would step up and require a constant double team, there would be a domino effect that would improve the play of all defensive positions on the field.
4. Run Blocking. It is almost non existent. This is a surprise to me, as I had such high hopes for Trai Turner. He hasn't developed as quickly as I had hoped. Silatolu looks like he hasn't improved since his rookie season. The poor play at both guard positions is forcing Kalil to stretch his play and in turn makes even him look bad. It looks like once again Cam Newton is our only hope for yards on the ground.
In my opinion, the following might get things turned around....
1. Let Cam be Cam. If Cam feels comfortable enough to take off ... let him. He is less likely to be injured running around in space than relying on Chandler and Bell to protect him. If Cam adds that element to the game, teams will be forced to gameplan around it, and that will open up things tremendously for the rest of the offense.
2. Keep KK Short in next to Alexander. These guys worked a lot next to each other in camp and preseason and looked fantastic on stunts. Both are talented enough to require that double team as a tandem. The center will be forced to help out instead of popping out to the second level. If that happens, the run defense is back to normal.