Pre-Game Meal: Carolina Panthers

A Sense of Urgency?:

A big congratulations goes out to Mr. and Mrs.Tom Brady for the birth of their new baby boy. Hopefully the happy couple will get around to naming the baby, but until then… Let’s talk football. This week has been one of the more gloomy ones in recent memory. After two straight losses, the media questioning the entire organization, and some disciplinary actions, some fans are worried. Stop. We’re still 7-5, we still have a lead in the division, we just haven’t won on the road.

I’m confident that Bill Belichick will be paying an extraordinary amount of attention to detail for the rest of the season which will lead to some improvements down the stretch. The fact of the matter is that we have a young defense and some of the veteran losses have left leadership holes. Once these guy become more comfortable with one another and can celebrate good plays together, they will bond and become strong. Players like Merriweather and Mayo will step up as vocal leaders and every fan will breathe a sigh of relief.

I didn’t want it to get to this point. BUT. Adalius Thomas. What the hell are you doing?

“Motivation is for kindergartners. I’m not a kindergartner,” he said. “Sending somebody home, that’s like, ‘Oh, you’re expelled,’ and come back and make good grades. Get that (expletive) out of here. That’s ridiculous.”

This is a team that appreciates motivation. We also don’t need anybody, especially on the defense, questioning our coach. Frankly, if you don’t like how Bill runs the show, you have two options:

1. Get off your butt during games, make some plays, and stop opposing offenses.

2. If you don’t need motivation AND you don’t care about winning, then why don’t you pack your stuff and you can get out of New England. Maybe you should try out a team that doesn’t care about winning either… like the Browns.

Belichick sent you home because you are consistently not doing what you are supposed to do, in and out of games. How is that everybody but four made it to practice on time? Wake up earlier, be passionate for this team. Be a leader and leave earlier. Your old coach might enjoy whining, complaining and crying, but he’s in New York. This is New England. I really don’t know what else to tell you except shut up and do your talking on the field. Whether that field will be in Foxboro… I just don’t know.

But hey, we’re not 1-11, we just have to run the table and play every game like it’s a playoff. 60 minutes of good football per week and try and make a run in January.

Weekly Match-Ups That Never Lose Faith:

* Laurence Maroney vs. Losing – For the first time in a while, I am placing the burden on the running game, and in particular, Laurence Maroney. Even though the Panthers have players like Jon Beason and Julius- “Please-Come-To-New-England” Peppers, they rank 26th in rushing yards per game allowed (133.3) and 30th in average yards per carry allowed (4.6). Let’s keep the defense off the field, control the line of scrimmage, and get the wheels turning. The offensive line plays a big role here. They have to step it up and block better, as well as protect Brady better. If they can play a strong game, Maroney, Morris, and Faulk will reap the benefits. Maybe for once, we should try it a little backwards. Instead of coming out of the gate with a head of steam (passing attack and two TDs), we slow down the game in the first half; create our own tempo and keep the defense rested. That way, when the second half starts, instead of scoring zero, Tom Brady and the boys can use their normal first half explosiveness to end their second-half slump. The rest of the season falls on the shoulders of Maroney on Sunday… don’t let us down.

* Tom Brady vs. Carolina Defense – Tom has 2 INTs in back-to-back games. Now that is uncharacteristic. I expect things to return to normal at Gillette Stadium where the Patriots have not lost yet this season. At home Tom has 12 TDs and 2 INT, keep in mind that 6 of those scores came at the expense of Kerry Collins’ former Titans, but that is still a comforting statistic. Brady needs more help from his lineman and receiving options not named Wes or Randy. Look for Ben Watson, Sam Aiken, and Julian Edelman early to spread the field and take some focus off of #1 and #2.

* Randy-Wes Welker-Moss vs. Four Defenders – If the Panthers follow the recent trend in defending the Patriots, Randy Moss and Wes Welker will both see some double-teams come their way. It will be up to them to not get discouraged and keep playing strong. When the double teams come, the other players need to increase their level of play to give the Patriots the edge. Randy has been the main target of defensive coordinators as of late, he really needs to work hard and late this week and prove to the naysayers that this isn’t Oakland and he’s ready to win. Welker has proved that no matter the coverage, he can still get 6-10 receptions. I expect everyone to have good games against a Carolina team that has never played a regular season game in Gillette.

Note: This offense has become a little too predictable for my taste. Moss/Welker is great, but it won’t work 100% of the time. Creativity and variety are both qualities of championship caliber offenses. It’s time to get back to strategies that make coaches think about how to stop the Patriots. Work the underneath, work the sidelines, tight-end screens, and passes to Kevin Faulk will keep Carolina honest on D.

* Matt Moore vs. Patriot Defense – This really isn’t my main concern to say the least. Carolina’s passing attack isn’t anything to lose sleep over with Matt Moore behind center. I don’t even want to put stats up because he’s only really played one game. This will be a good test, however, for the defense to really improve their rush. Banta-Cain and Guyton need to show up and prove that Adalius Thomas isn’t a necessity. It would also be kind of cool is Derrick Burgess showed up too…

* The Almost-Patriot + his sidekick vs. The Above – DeAngelo Williams is a beast. With over 1,000 yards and 7 TDs, Williams will be the focal point of the defensive game plan. The Pats haven’t been too terrible against running backs, but it will take a team effort to keep him out of the endzone. Once again: TACKLE, TACKLE, TACKLE. Missed tackles just prove lack of confidence, immaturity, or stupidity. If someone has a shot at DeAngelo, they better make it count. This 4-game stretch is the last chance the Patriots have to make a statement even though all 4 teams are lack-luster. Best believe that, regardless of the cold weather, the Panthers want to win on the ground. Jonathan Stewart may only have 600 yards, but is touchdown total is equal to Williams’. These guys both know what to do when they are handed the ball so the defense needs to be on its toes. If somehow the Pats can force the Panthers to the air… this one ends early.

* 89 vs. Leigh Bodden – It looks like Bodden’s 3-pick outing against Mark Sanchez was his last game. That would be incorrect. Now he is jumping cuts too early, missing tackles, and playing dumb. He needs to tighten it up this week againt Steve Smith; the original. 682 yards and 4 scores say that this isn’t Smith’s best year. That isn’t is fault though; his quarterbacks suck. Randy Mo
ss should look down south and appreciate what he has (not saying he doesn’t know already). Still, at any given moment Smith has the ability to explode and speed down the field. He even told Patriot reporters: “When we need a big play, the still come back to 89.” Bodden better step up if he expects to be on this team next year.


2 Responses to “Pre-Game Meal: Carolina Panthers”

  1. Brian says:

    …grocery bag.

  2. Anonymous says:

    DOn’t even stress da pass game, watch williams run game nd u got this, grocery bag

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