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Fixing the Panthers Offense in 4 Easy Steps

Sep 09 2013 07:17 AM Zod Carolina Panthers
On paper, the Panthers offense against the Seahawks looks almost palatable.

Cam Newton threw with good accuracy, no interceptions, and a touchdown. Deangelo Williams averaged 4.75 yards per carry. If you read those statistics without watching the game you might assume the Panthers won the game.

The fact that the offense put together only 7 points has many people, myself included, scratching our heads.

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I can best explain what I believe the Panthers offense was doing in boxing terms. Keep moving and throw lots of short jabs. Protect yourself from a devastating blow. Don't wind up for a knockout punch, it may backfire. Let the match play out and hope you kept it close enough for a judges decision.

This is the type of offense that Panthers offensive coordinator is known for. An offense that drives fans crazy, but defensive head coaches enjoy. Tony Dungy liked it in Tampa. Apparently Ron Rivera likes it here. These coaches relish the opportunity for defenses to win games.

However, the Panthers in game 1 took it too far in the conservative direction.

Here are three simple ways to improve on offense that can easily be implemented.

1. Let Cam be Cam. Cam Newton is a talent that should not be wasted like his name is Dilfer. One of Cam's strengths is the accuracy of his long ball. It makes no sense to acquire Tedd Ginn, who was open for the long ball yesterday, and not throw it to him. Even if incomplete a long pass play helps our offense by forcing the safeties to drop back in coverage and giving the short game more room to work. If you don't threaten deep, you may complete passes, but you won't go anywhere. Cam Newton's career low passing yards against the Seahawks are an indication that this is the case.

2. Keep them guessing. Third downs yesterday were extremely predictable, especially in short yardage situations. Shula has a history of this. I commented in the preseason that fans should get used to seeing a run up the gut on third downs. The Panthers need to add a variety of options on third down. A QB keeper after a play fake, a short slant to Smith, a pitch to the outside, anything but run up the gut. It is a safe bet that defensive coordinators have scouted Shula's Tampa days, if yesterday's game is any indication, they have done so for good reason. His tendencies have not changed.

3. Speed it up. I don't recall one play yesterday where the Seahawk defense was rushed or needed more time to get set up correctly. This happened numerous times to the Panthers defense. Going into a hurry up mode or even a no huddle unexpectedly would be a nice left hook to the chin.

4. Impose your will. This is not a X's and O's type of solution, but more of a mind set. Taking what the defense gives you is safe, but often it is not good enough. Afterall, they are giving it to you for a reason. You are falling into their game plan trap. Instead, attack them where they feel they are safe. In boxing terms, this knocks them back on their heels and makes them question their strategy. Winning offense attack aggressively, losing offenses settle passively.

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135 Comments

:: before

can you say a team that only scores seven points played well? that's what i'm having a hard time with. production is what matters. the offense simply just didn't produce. couldn't even get the ball into field goal range. i'm no fan of FGs, but at least it's points.
 

 

I can say they probably would have had 14 against a good defense, if not for... :(
 

Did we "play well"?  We didn't play poorly as a whole, our defense played pretty well, but our offense scored 7 points and had a turnover.  They failed to score enough points to win.  They did not play well.  You can't win in this league if you score 7 points against most teams.

 

I'm not saying that we should fire Rivera right now, nor bench our players.  But I am concerned because this is a pattern with this team and these coaches, so I'm worried about next week, and the weeks after.

 

For a season opener?  Yeah, I'd say so.  Week one is always sloppy for most teams, and we definitely had our bad moments (drops, dump mistakes, penalties, etc) but we were indeed in it up to the end.  Like I said, in a season opener, I'll take that over getting blown out anyday.

 

 

you have to be able to get at least 14 points on the board. if you can't, you're doing something wrong.

 

They did.  They fumbled.  They dropped.  They made mistakes.  But again, I expect that in week one.

 

Bottom line for me: I'm not ready to project an entire season of failure from a week one loss, and a close one at that.

 

If the team still hasn't won by week four or five, or the mistakes continue and/or get worse, then we can talk.

i have grown tired of watching this team play not to lose. I'm tired of broken promises of an aggressive offense and defense. for the first time since the Panthers have been a team I'm beginning to start to question why I even bother :/

please find players and coaches that play to win.

scratch that. let's get players and coaches that play to dominate.

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They could have played like the Giants. 

 

 

I can fix the offense in two steps

1. Fire Shula
2. Hire someone competent at their job.

The way Shula uses Cam, is like giving someone a Lamborghini and letting him drive it like a Toyota Corrola.

Meanwhile Rivera is 2-13 in games decided by a touchdown or less. To me that's a damning statistic, something needs to change. Whether thats winning close games, or cleaning house.

 

Because it's easy to find a competent OC who just happens to be available in week two of the season, right?

 

And hey, installing a whole new system in mid-season after you spent an entire training camp and offseason learning this one?  No problem!

 

It's simple.  Heck, I do it in Madden all the time.  That's just like the real world, right? :)

i have grown tired of watching this team play not to lose. I'm tired of broken promises of an aggressive offense and defense. for the first time since the Panthers have been a team I'm beginning to start to question why I even bother :/

please find players and coaches that play to win.

scratch that. let's get players and coaches that play to dominate.

 

You didn't see an aggressive defense yesterday?

For a season opener?  Yeah, I'd say so.  Week one is always sloppy for most teams, and we definitely had our bad moments (drops, dump mistakes, penalties, etc) but we were indeed in it up to the end.  Like I said, in a season opener, I'll take that over getting blown out anyday.

 

Only Jacksonville scored fewer points than we did.  Jacksonville.

 

I suppose you can say that the Seahawks are the best defense in the league by far, but I think this is also a pretty big commentary on the state of our offense.

You didn't see an aggressive defense yesterday?

 

It doesn't appear to me that a lot of people really pay attention when watching these games.

Only Jacksonville scored fewer points than we did.  Jacksonville.

 

I suppose you can say that the Seahawks are the best defense in the league by far, but I think this is also a pretty big commentary on the state of our offense.

 

Technically, they are the second best in the league at this point.
 

How did that work out for us.

 

It almost won us the game if Dwill did not fumble. Turnover and penalties kill teams and we had more costly of both in that game.

Technically, they are the second best in the league at this point.
 

 

And we're the second worst offense, by that logic.

Because it's easy to find a competent OC who just happens to be available in week two of the season, right?

 

And hey, installing a whole new system in mid-season after you spent an entire training camp and offseason learning this one?  No problem!

 

It's simple.  Heck, I do it in Madden all the time.  That's just like the real world, right? :)

 

I don't think it would be terribly difficult to find someone who's more imaginative at calling the existing plays in our system.  And I certainly don't think it would be difficult to find someone who can get them in faster.  But we're pretty much stuck with Shula-ball.

 

Anyone think that Cam will own the most productive first three seasons after this year?
 

And we're the second worst offense, by that logic.

 

Not logic.  Rankings, based on week one performance.

 

Week one is all too often an illusion.  Prior seasons will tell you that.

 

hence why I say we don't know as much as we might think we do just yet.
 

Only Jacksonville scored fewer points than we did.  Jacksonville.

 

I suppose you can say that the Seahawks are the best defense in the league by far, but I think this is also a pretty big commentary on the state of our offense.

 

SEA scored the least amount for any winning team. Should they be worried about there offense and should they fire Pete Carrol?

Good write up.


As far as Shula goes.. I don't know yet. I know the Hawks have a great secondary and the fear of a pick 6 may have led to Shula's conservative playcalling.

The Bills secondary isn't nearly as good as the Seahawks. If the playcalling remains the same, then, I'll be right there with you on the "Shula Sucks" bandwagon.

I've my fingers crossed that they'll let Cam launch it a few times next week. If they don't, then to take that away from him, is a major hit for the entire team.


I disagree.

I know its counter-intuitive, but "playing it safe" against the better teams plays right into their hands..

They're already very good. Now you're gonna limit YOURSELF? Hell, they couldn't be more happy about that!

To beat the good teams, you had better come out MORE aggressive rather than less. They've already got more talent and better coaching than you do. You want to back it down and not take risks? They're more than happy to accept that favor from you.

I disagree.

I know its counter-intuitive, but "playing it safe" against the better teams plays right into their hands..

They're already very good. Now you're gonna limit YOURSELF? Hell, they couldn't be more happy about that!

To beat the good teams, you had better come out MORE aggressive rather than less. They've already got more talent and better coaching than you do. You want to back it down and not take risks? They're more than happy to accept that favor from you.

 

the "play it safe" mindset has worked against us quite often. that's been the difference between winning close games and losing them.

Defense were introduced before the game and fittingly so this was their game. I expected nothing against this Hawks d from our offense. They gave us a lead 7-6 for the majority of the game. Ask Ron Rivera who he thinks let him down the offense or HIS defense.

Hands down Ron will tell you the defense let him down go listen to his press conference he talks more about the opportunities the defense missed.

You see I put things into context of who we are.

Again
1. Defensive minded head coach
2. Defensive driven drafts
3. Defensive game plan
4. Defense introduced first to start the season
5. Conservative OC with conservative game plan
6. Punting on 4th and inches

Again I don't agree with this philosophy but this coaching staff wants to win games with its defense or else they would get Cam some fuging weapons and turn him loose.

Doesn't matter if the lead was 35-34 or 7-6 the offense gave us a lead and we played field position ball to attempt to protect that lead.

When their defense needed to make a play they did. When ours needed to make a play they tucked their tails and folded.

Stop talking about offense this was a defense game.

 

And when the offense needed to score a touchdown they fumbled. You can talk about the defense all you want, doesn't change the fact that the offense failed also

SEA scored the least amount for any winning team. Should they be worried about there offense and should they fire Pete Carrol?

 

I don't know, have they had consecutive losing seasons the last couple years and worries in the preseason about scoring points?

I thought Cam played a pretty good game, as did the oline.  Hell, i don't even think Shula did a bad job.  A few dropped passes and a few inches here and there, we might be out with a W.  

 

The defense played pretty good, still couldn't get them off the field but when you have some QB that runs around and gets multiple prayers answered pretty much ever game he plays, I just dont know what to say about that.  We do have to get better on 3rd downs though.

Yeah, it's a simple concept but you would be surprised at the number of people that don't realize that little tidbit that I mentioned in my previous post.


If you aren't here to read about and/or discuss the Carolina Panthers, why ARE you here?

I don't know, have they had consecutive losing seasons the last couple years and worries in the preseason about scoring points?

 

exactly. what they do works. what we do we have to find excuses for and reasons to believe "it's just not that bad".

 

win or get someone who can.
 

i think you're right about the secondary, but the offense should have scored more or at least got us un field goal range more than once. i'm not blaming this on cam. i'm blaming it on the secondary being weak and the receivers not hanging on to balls, williams fumbling, and game management that couldn't get the ball down the field and giving up on drives too early.


Indeed.

I mean, we didn't attempt a SINGLE field goal.

So the ONLY times in the game we even threatened to score on offense was the TD pass and D-Will's fumble.

Twice... in a 60 minute NFL game.

That ain't just good Seattle defense. That's PATHETIC Carolina offense. And, as Zod pointed out, the "numbers" look good... Cam completed 70% of his passes, didn't throw an interception, only sacked once, D-Will averaged 4+ yards per rush, etc.

So why did we only threaten to score twice? I believe it's for the exact reasons Zod has pointed out.

Sitting back, playing it safe, and hoping for the best is not usually the most successful of strategies when playing the league's best teams.

How did that work out for us.

Id say not so bad. Take away Olson's drop and DWill's fumble, and we possibly have 21 points. Lets say we only got field goals, that would be 13 and enough to win. Not to mention the special teams fumble that cost us a drive.

 

Yes, we only scored 7 points, but thats not all on the offense play calling,

I watched the game from a sports bar in Montana. Most everyone there was impressed with the way the Panthers played and I regularly overheard people saying that they would be a surprise team this year. The general perception was "look what they are doing to the Seahawks.....look how they are standing up to them"  It was really odd to hear so much positive about them when I am used to this place. I never started these conversations or even took part...I was just overhearing them.

 

 

If you go to Seattle's forum, they are all impressed with Carolina, and gained respect for the team. They seem more impressed then people here haha

I'd like to thank Zod and rayzor for injecting some logic and well-reasoned analysis into these threads about yesterday's game.  I tried in the locked Shula thread but was so dang mad I couldn't even type straight.  If we take the Bills and Giants, maybe we'll have something to look forward to after the bye.  If things aren't shaping up well by the middle of October, I expect JR may get his broom out of the closet, hand it to the G-man, and do a little house cleaning again.

 

On a positive note, if the season does go down the crapper this year, the 2014 draft is overloaded with OL talent.