Should Frank Reich and his Carolina Panthers be desperate now?
After getting demolished by the Detroit Lions 42-24 Sunday, the Panthers are now 0-5 on the year with more empty rhetoric coming from the first-year head coach than adjustments and solutions.
Maybe Carolina SHOULD play with desperation and a sense of urgency. A sense of pride would have gone further than what they’ve shown so far. Anything other than cavalier and uninspired football we saw Sunday. Quite frankly, Carolina is playing like a team that doesn’t care anymore even though they say that they do. Here are observations from the Panthers’ latest disappointing loss.
Football is a brutal game and the reminders are often harsh and cruel. When Panthers’ rookie guard Chandler Zavala landed face down after a run play in a first-quarter drive, it sucked the air out for an energetic Ford Field crowd. Shock and concern remained as medical staff secured the 24-year-old’s neck with a brace and stopped his body to a backboard.
Zavala was released from a Detroit area hospital and traveled back to Charlotte with the team. After the game, Reich took an educated guess while questioned about Zavala’s status.
“We think it was a bad stinger, but our medical staff is always going to take every precaution to protect our players,” he said.
Prayers to Zavala for a speedy recovery.
Out Of Sync Offense
Once again, the Panthers’ offense looked disoriented and confused. The big plays that Reich promised have yet to materialize. Instead, it’s:
- Play calls that took too long to relay.
- Spammed screen passes
Carolina only scored one touchdown in the first three quarters and scored again in garbage time. Reich, in theory, is trying to simplify the playbook for Bryce Young and being conservative in his play calls. However, this approach is hurting the rookie QB, because these calls and plays aren’t playing to his strengths nor are they playing to the strengths of the unit collectively.
The screen passes and runs up the middle aren’t indicative of the explosive plays that Reich promised. Since this is a trend now, it may be time for offensive coordinator Thomas Brown to ‘grab the sticks.’
Young’s two interceptions coupled with Miles Sanders’ fumble gave Detroit 21 points. Their offense capitalized on all the takeaways for a 28-10 lead at halftime.
The Panthers’ turnovers are costlier than other teams, because as solid as their defense is their sets become exploitable as the game progresses. It becomes easier because the offense doesn’t control time of possession.
Plus, their offense isn’t efficient and potent enough to chip away at leads. Young acknowledged his mistakes after the game.
“It’s tough,” Young says of the turnovers. “You put our defense in a tough situation. They’re (Lions) a really good team and really good on offense as well, so it’s not like they need any handouts. Then, you already set them up so those are on me. I have to do a better job of eliminating those”
The Panthers return to action next Sunday as they travel to Miami to face the Dolphins.