Like the old saying: “When it rains, it pours.” Unfortunately against AZ, the Panthers can’t blame it on the rain. However, as a team, each individual from coach to player need to re-evaluate their performance. The team needs to come together and come up with some answers. The team needs to upgrade their performance and find their inner strength to pull the season together.
Rivera: “It wasn’t time to hang our heads.”
Fact: The Panthers have struggled the past three years coming from a bye.
Rivera: We’ve changed the way we practice. We’ve done things differently in terms of how we practice. And we’ve tried to correct that. Rivera likes to go back and look specifically at what has happened. “There’s a lot that goes into it.. and I really can’t tell you…”
Rivera doesn’t have the answers. It’s not one particular person or call. It’s a team defeat.
Rivera states the practices went well before NY as well as before AZ. “It’s tough to tell.” Rivera recalls from his past experiences. Sometimes you can have horrible practices, and yet get a win on game day. And vice versa.
Again, NO SPECIFIC ANSWERS.
With no specific answers on specific areas to change, it leads to a lot of speculation.
AZ–A Game of What If’s?
What IF the Panthers scored with a TD first and carried the momentum throughout the game, like Tolbert did against NY. What IF….What IF….(you get the picture).
Speculation leads to guessing and questioning a coach or players role and fit for the team. Many have jumped the ship again after loosing to AZ. Some of the same folks who had jumped back on after a Win against NY.
Fans question Rivera’s make-up to be a HC in the NFL.
Ron Rivera has said that he looks to instill confidence in the players and team:
“I’m trying to get across to the unit, it’s about being confident.” Correcting mistakes; moving forward. Being confident.
“There’s never a time in the game to hang our heads. When it’s over, you’re back in the locker room, and you know you had a chance to win the football game, then you might want to hang your head. But after that, not while we’re on the sideline.”
The Panthers had the ball at the end of the game and could not drive the ball to get a TD; not even a field goal.
Lack of Confidence.
Does Rivera exemplify confidence? Does Rivera exude confidence?
Which players exude confidence? Which player(s) would you trust with the game on the line. Give it to your playmakers and let them make the play.
Rivera: “I like to believe our players play hard. I like to believe they do the things they’re supposed to do to give us a chance to win.” “We do the best we can (to try and win).” Rivera is looking for CONSISTENCY. “We’ve got a ways to go. We’re a young football team in some respects. In other respects, we should’ve arrived by now.”
A LET DOWN
“We’ve got to eliminate mistakes.” “We’re learning. We’re growing.”
You are what the record says: 1-3. Rivera feels that the Panthers are better than 1-3.
Rivera says there are reasons to be optimistic but yet realistic. Optimistic because of talented players. Realistic because the team is 1-3.
Against AZ, the Panthers had more total yards (353); Held on to the ball longer (T.O.P.) But had more penalties (9) and turnovers (4).
Realistically, the Panthers got beat in the 2nd half (scoring 0 points and allowing the opponents offense to put up 17pts.)
Realistically the ground game did not have a lot of success going against AZ, who is 2nd best in stopping the run.
In passing, no receiver had 100 yards. G. Olsen led with 79.
Defense had 3 INT’s (Kuechly, Lester, Mitchell).
Panthers were 5-12-42% on 3rd down conv.
A TEAM FULL OF MISTAKES
Cam: “We’re going to continue to keep fighting. We’re a team full of competitors.”
Positive: A New Mental Cam. Cam is no longer down and out; at least in interviews. He appears to be molding into an NFL Professional QB. He needs to continue to improve and go out and do his “job.” Cam’s maturity has skyrocketed compared to his previous seasons and interviews. Cam: “I have to do a better job…” “Every person is accountable.”
Panthers MUST learn how to put points on the board. Plain and simple. This offense has been the weak point- the Achilles heel. The game plan looked good with Shula’s play calling in the 1st half. The 2nd half, the Panthers lost the battle. Silatolu is out for the season with an ACL injury, so the offensive woes just grew a little more severe.
The defense also struggled, allowing 17 pts in the 2nd half. Not a lot of pressure on Palmer, allowing him to make his reads and move the ball. The run game also was able to have success against the Panthers Defense.
C. Johnson – 1 sck.
K. Short – 0.5
M. Addison – 0.5
While, AZ had 7 sacks.
RESULT– Team Loss.
Written By: Phillip Boyce