Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Getting to know the enemy.
Here's our Q&A, which seems a lot less meaningful given what's happened. Maybe the football talk can distract you for a few minutes.
1. Tell me something about the Panthers defense I don't know.
WLB Thomas Davis is playing at a high level again after enduring three ACL surgeries on the same knee, a feat that has never been done before. Though I predicted he would retire before the season started he instead has me eating my words. Davis has played in 10 of 11 games with 7 starts amassing 63 tackles, 2 PDs, 2 FF. He might not be quite as fast as he was but he still and knows his assignments and makes plays.
2. Tell me something about the Panthers offense I don't know.
WR Brandon LaFell is a legitimate No. 2 WR and very capable of gashing a defense downfield. In 10 games LaFell now has 32 catches for 563 yards, a whopping 17.6 ypr. He's averaged 4 receptions for 80 yards and a TD the past two weeks. So the message is if the Chiefs secondary favors double coverage on Steve Smith too much then LaFell could make the play.
3. Are there any regrets about taking Cam Newton No. 1 overall?
I don't have any regrets at this point and honestly I don't expect I will. This has been a tough season for Panther fans and very confusing as to what happened to the offense. We knew the defense was a work in progress but it has actually exceeded our expectations in many areas.
What happened to our top 10 offense though has been the big disappointment. We can't point to a single cause but I think we have narrowed the problem down. We figured out a couple weeks ago our offensive line has degenerated to the point of being terrible at times and average at best. I assume I don't need to detail the impact poor offensive line play can have on a QB and a game plan. Newton hasn't had quite the season he did last year but it's still been a respectable one stat-wise none the less.
The second key cause might have just been solved. Newton apparently has been granted more freedom recently to change plays at the LOS. I'm not sure why already didn't have that freedom but glad to see it him play better. I'm thinking his MNF performance is a direct result of his use of the audible, something we have been tracking for a couple weeks now. Keep an eye on how much Newton changes plays at the LOS this weekend to see what kind of plays he changes to.
4. What is your perception of the Chiefs organization? Be honest!
Wow...that's a trick question. Honestly not as bad as many I read on my blog! I remember the days of the Nigerian Nightmare Christian Okoye and when the Chiefs defense had some teeth. Things have certainly been bad for Chiefs fans lately no denying it. I don't see how your GM can stick around...err how has stuck around this long?
5. Where can the Panthers beat the Chiefs? Where can the Chiefs beat the Panthers?
Our DEs Charles Johnson, Greg Hardy and rookie Frank Alexander are playing well so if your QB sits in the pocket too long he's going to take some hits. They are good at going for the ball as well. Johnson has 6 FFs on the season himself.
On offense the Panthers can hurt you like they tend to hurt everyone, with Cam Newton provided he's not standing like a statue in the pocket. If he's moving around and throwing downfield instead of standing and throwing dump off passes then he's hard to stop. He can convert a 3rd and 10 with his legs and size in a flash.
You can hurt the Panthers throwing deep if you throw on 1st and 2nd down when Haruki Nakamura is in the game. On passing downs he sits and Sherrod Martin comes in who is much better at playing the ball in the air.
On defense the Chiefs need to contain Cam in the pocket and play over the top to force him to throw it short. He's struggled at times with the short pass. If you can get pressure even better.