Panthers’ 2-game streak has positives, negatives
There are reasons for Carolina to feel confident. The dominant running game from 2008 has reappeared,
But the negatives are piling up, too.
Through five games, it’s still tough to figure these
Sunday’s 28-21 win over winless Tampa Bay provided the contradictions.
Yet the passing game remains one of the league’s worst. After being held to one catch for four yards – the only passing play on Carolina’s 16-play, game-winning drive – Smith let out his frustrations in the locker room.
“I’m no longer an asset to this team,” he said.
Coach John Fox on Monday said he hadn’t talked to Smith about his comments, but said the constant double-teams he’s faced helped get the running game going.
“I can’t call the opponent up and ask them not to do that. They get to do what they want,” Fox said. “That opens up other things for our football team and gives us an opportunity to win.”
“There were some times where they had nine in the box and we were still getting seven or eight yards because they were just moving guys out there,” Williams said.
But it could also be argued it was the only way the
Delhomme completed 9 of 17 passes for 65 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Delhomme and his Pro Bowl receiver Smith still haven’t connected for a touchdown or a pass longer than 30 yards.
Smith has only 21 catches, 20 behind the other
“Out of the 10 years I’ve been playing, I don’t think I’ve been on one team where all 53 guys are happy. Not one year,” linebacker
And while Beason created a story by calling out Peppers on a radio show and then apologizing for doing so, Peppers is on a tear. He’s recorded four sacks, five tackles for a loss, four quarterback hurries and one forced fumble in the two games since the incident.
“I think he’s played as well the last two games as I’ve seen him play, really, that I can remember,” Fox said. “He’s played exceptionally well.”
It’s just all those other problems are fighting for attention. The special teams not only gave up another touchdown – a 97-yard kickoff return in which Fox claims the
“It was just a judgment error,” Fox said. “It’s not intentional. It’s not done maliciously. You’ve got to make a split-second decision.”
That could mean another steady diet of Williams and Stewart, few passes by the mistake-prone Delhomme, and maybe another quiet day for Smith.
“Whenever you decide to throw the football, there are more working parts,” Fox said. “I think it’s whether you’d rather shoot a 3-pointer outside or a layup. Most guys would take the higher-percentage route, and that’s the layup.”