Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich boldly proclaimed that the team is close to a 28-30 point game after their Monday Night Football loss to the Saints. Now it’s the time to prove it.
The Panthers’ week three opponent, Seattle Seahawks, is food statically. Their passing defense surrendered 650 yards and three touchdowns on the year and their completion percentage is 71.2 percent. Their rush defense isn’t any better. Opposing offenses are averaging 194 yards on 67 attempts.
With these conditions and a veteran Andy Dalton getting the start, this has the makeup of a ‘get right game.’
If the Panthers want to rebound after two tough weeks, here are the keys to the game.
Carolina is 29th in the league in total points scored and part of their struggles lies with an offensive line that’s always losing position in the trenches.
During this drive in Monday’s game, notice how the Saints decimated the pocket. Their front seven was able to penetrate mainly because they pushed the Panthers’ offensive line back. Granted, the line is missing Austin Corbett and Brady Christensen. However, they still have to be more aggressive and forceful at the snap. For extra protection, Reich should substitute an extra lineman for a tight end and make said lineman an “eligible” receiver. Adding an extra lineman should free up the backfield to keep the chains moving. Also, that extra protection should help a struggling passing game.
It’s no secret that the Panthers’ receivers are struggling to gain separation, but they can gain some against Seattle’s secondary by targeting Seahawks rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon.
In this play, Lions Wr Kalif Raymond was able to get ahead using the short motion. Raymond then runs the route and gets on top and Jarred Goff was able to find him for the touchdown. Witherspoon is a rookie corner and there should be someone in that receiving corps that can take advantage of this matchup.
Disciplined Game Management
Andy Dalton will get the start in place of an injured Bryce Young. This is a situation where Dalton, as a backup, will get a simplified scheme on Sunday. While a solid ground game is to be expected, that doesn’t mean that Dalton shouldn’t be able to take some well-timed shots and test a very vulnerable and injured Seahawks’ secondary. Since the Panthers’ receivers lack speed, look for Dalton to throw the ball in tight coverage most of the time.
Don’t expect Carolina to attack the secondary early. Look for them to establish the run before opening up the passing game and lean on the run to extend drives and time of possession.
Kickoff for Sunday’s matchup against Seattle is 4:05 PM EST.