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iknowcool

Week 1 GDT: Panthers vs Rams

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4 DAYS AWAY

This is the biggest home opener on our end that I can remember.  The defending NFC Champions are in town for their first game since the Super Bowl against the Panthers and we have so much on the line on our end.  Will Newton and Turner work as well as they did last year prior to Newton's injury?  Will the revamped offensive line (adding Paradis and the return of Williams) be able to slow down the league's best defensive player?  How will our secondary, with Jackson and Reid having a year in the system under their belt, perform against the Rams scary group of receivers (Cooks, Kupp, Woods)?  Will the Panthers receivers live up to the hype against two really good corners?

Our most improved unit has probably been the front seven.  Last year, we struggled to stop the run and get pressure under Washington.  This year, Rivera (formerly one of the NFL's best defensive coordinators) is taking over play-calling and for the first time as coach, will have us lining up in the 3-4.  We added Gerald McCoy in the offseason to team-up with Short and Poe.  Them alongside Love is one of the strongest defensive lines.  Thompson is transitioning to ILB, which should be a better fit for him.  We added Burns and Irvin, and Haynes will now be playing his natural spot at 3-4 OLB.  Talent-wise, this is a top five front seven.  Will they play like that?

 

I'm excited for this season.  This is a really, really talented team.  We were 6-2 last year before Newton's injury and even then, the majority of our losses came down to 4-5 point margins.  We just need this offense to stay on schedule.

Edited by iknowcool

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Our only hope is that Luke is able to check McVay's audibles and make Goff screw up. Will help with field position which we'll desperately need. Very iffy on our offense given how bad the OLine was in that third preseason game. Daryl is a career RT, Paradis looked bad, and GVR is bad. We also have no idea how Cam's arm is gonna look in play. He uncorked a few times in practice but who knows if the OL will hold up or if our WRs can get open against better DBs in a game.

Bruce Irvin and Greg Little have been ruled out btw.

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Eh, I think the offensive line looking bad has been overstated.  A lot of the pressures were coming by way of the Patriots blitzing, which is something I'm not sure we gameplanned for in a preseason game (albeit the 3rd one).  For example, on the play Newton got hurt:

The offensive line actually did an effective job picking up the blitz.  The issue was it was 3rd and 10 and because CMC had to stay and block (which he always does well enough), there wasn't anyone underneath to throw to.  So Cam tried to make something happen.  I don't think you can blame the OL or Newton on that - ish happens, and there's no reason to throw it away on 3rd down if you think you can escape.  Obviously it didn't work out.

I think we'll be fine.  I could see them having kinks they need to sort out, but everyone on the OL is capable sans GVR.  I agree Williams may be a better fit at RT, but he can play LT.  And we still have Turner and Moton on the right side.

Of course not even a good OL can slow down Donald, so it's not gonna be perfect.  But I think we have the ability to control the LOS in the run game.  Rams were one of the worst run defenses last year - 32nd in YPC and 23rd in yards.  They didn't add anyone noteworthy to the front seven other than Clay Matthews, who shouldn't be much of a problem against the run anyway.  They also lost Suh, although to be fair that probably contributed to their bad run defense lol

Rams traveling cross-country for a 1pm game in hot weather gives me added hope too.

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Offense has been a lot better since the end of the first half, but the Rams are out-playing and out-coaching us right now.

Defense has been spectacular though.  I think it will be easier for our offense to show up once we play lesser corners (and a lesser DC) - Talib and Peters seem to be too much for Samuel and Moore right now.  Offensive line has been solid too outside of some mishaps.  

Newton's looked good for the most part, but the throws he's missed have been really important.  Hopefully we can make a rally in the 4th.

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Depressing and tough loss tbh, but I still have faith in this team.  Rams are just so damn good and I don't think we were ready for them in Week 1.  We kept it as close as possible and damn, this game could have been SO much different if Moore didn't fumble and we didn't have miscommunication to knock us out of field goal range...

 

But that is how the game works sometimes.  We only lost by 3 points to the defending NFC Champions.  A win is a win and a loss is a loss, but we looked like a good team.  My #1 concern might be Cam Newton, but I feel like he was just rusty.  At least we have the Bucs on Thursday.

Edited by iknowcool

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Cam not going deep at all is concerning. How do you have Curtis Samuel against a nobody FS and not at least take one deep shot? Dude is lighting fast.

Defense was gashed by the run in the second half but had a great first half.

Offense did well despite no deep passes outside of those two god awful fumbles and Cam with 3 bad overthrows that I can recall (also that horrid pick). OLine wasn't as bad as I though it was gonna be.

We forced two fumbles (none recovered obv), blocked a punt, and had a pick which was nice to see.

Team still looks slow, as usual, to hike the ball. Burning timeouts and getting delays of game - especially on a punt and after a TO - is embarrassing. Has always been an issue with Rivera. Nine seasons and it hasn't stopped.

At least we have an easy schedule coming up - Bucs twice, 49ers, Cardinals, Texans for the next five weeks.

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