This past week the Carolina Panthers suffered a close loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. A continuing narrative amongst national media and Panther nation alike is that starting QB Teddy Bridgewater hurts the offense by not pushing the ball downfield. In this article I will take a closer look at some of Teddy’s missed deep balls as well as some of his best throws.
Missed deep balls:
1st and 10: 0:15 in the 1st quarter (intended for Robby Anderson)
-Panthers are in 12 personnel with twin TEs. Robby gains leverage after an inside release and climbs the middle,then breaks to the corner.
-Chiefs are blitzing, leaving man coverage with a single high safety (Mathieu).
-Blitz is picked up by the OL with help from McCaffrey (excellent pass pro rep) and Manhertz. Mathieu sees Teddy eyeing Robby and anticipates the break, therefore closing the gap.
-The result of the play is an incompletion but Teddy did a good job of placing the throw down and away from the trailing defender and Mathieu. Robby was able to get a hand or two on the throw but unable to secure a tough catch.
Good Play Call [CAR]
Good Execution (pre throw) [CAR]
Good Defensive Play [KC]
OK decision by Teddy (aided by throw).
2nd and 10: 1:00 in 2nd Quarter (intended for Ian Thomas)
-Panthers are using 11 personnel WR with trips right. Ian Thomas is matched up against a LB and takes the outside leverage given and stacks quickly (nicely done). Curtis Samuel and Robby Anderson both end up having a window around the 30 yard line thanks to what looks like a rub concept.
-Chiefs are playing a Cover 2 man look with off-man coverage over the bunch formation. LB Ben Niemann (#56) is playing lined up over the inside shoulder of Thomas. Safeties gain no depth which leaves them prepared to jump on intermediate breaking routes.
-It looks like Thomas breaks his route off towards the front pylon and this is where the play devolved. In my opinion, Teddy threw the pass way too flat. If he would have placed more air under the throw he could have totally cleared the nearest defenders head (he never turned around).
-Trust Ian Thomas to make the adjustment to the throw with more air under it. At worst, it could be a pass interference penalty with 1st and Goal to go. So at best it’s six points.. I am comfortable to call this a missed throw.
Great Play Call [CAR]
Good Execution (pre throw) [CAR]
Poor Defense [KC]
Bad throw by Teddy.
3rd and 27: 1:34 in the 3rd Quarter
-Panthers again in 11 personnel with twin WRs to the left. Robby has a deep out, Curtis has a post route.
-Chiefs come out in what looks like a single high look pre snap (could be Cover 3 or Cover 1 man coverage to the offense) It’s a disguised look. All the defenders run almost immediately and gain depth. They protect the sticks on third and long.
-Thomas is open after he chips the edge defender along with Mike Davis is open on the right side. However it’s 3rd down. The coverage is perfect in this situation, and the Chiefs DL got pressure with a stunt off the right side.
-Teddy put the pass out of bounds, which is not the wrong decision necessarily. But he still could have gotten some yardage back by hitting Mike Davis in the flat. They would not have picked up the 1st down, but it would have given the punt team a better chance at pinning them deep.
OK play call [CAR]
Poor Blocking [CAR]
Excellent Defense [KC]
OK decision by Teddy.
2nd and 14: 13:40 in the 4th quarter
–Panthers come out in 12 personnel. 2 TEs (Thomas split out wide) and one RB. WRs both lined up on the right. Four verticals concept. Everybody runs streaks.
-Chiefs come to the line in a disguised Cover 2. Corners pressed up on the boundary, but it could be man or zone pre snap. They end up blitzing with six rushers. No safety help. Man coverage across the board.
-Because the Chiefs blitzers out number the Panthers blockers (6 vs 5), one rusher gets home free. Teddy did not anticipate the blitz before the snap.
-It is likely he anticipated that there was some form of man coverage because of how the defenders were lined up on the boundary, which is why he did not audible.
-Robby did have vertical leverage on his defender, but Teddy was hit on the throw resulting in an incompletion. This is a dangerous throw, but I like that he trusted his guy Robby to give him a chance one on one.
OK play call [CAR]
Great Defense [KC]
OK decision by Teddy.
Made deep balls:
1st and 10: 14:25 in 4th Quarter (Curtis Samuel 28 yard reception)
-Panthers come out in a singleback 11 personnel with DJ and Pharoah Cooper lined up on the left side. Pharoah runs a post, DJ runs a go, and Curtis has the deep over. It’s a play-action pass.
-Chiefs are in zone coverage, and the play-action fake keeps the LBs from gaining depth. The post and go route on the left side of the Panthers formation opens a hole in the coverage for the deep over route.
-The throw is a little behind Curtis.
-First read is the deep over. Many say DJ is wide open for a TD, and he did stack the CB. But if the first read is there, then that is the throw most QBs will take. This is not a missed opportunity for that reason.
-The reason why this is not necessarily a bad throw on Teddy’s end is because he is throwing to a spot. Curtis almost overran the gap in the zone. But the ball is still placed fine.
-There is a flat defender on the left side as well as a hook zone from the middle. Teddy had to throw it before the flat defender could carry underneath the route. It’s more obvious from the end zone view.
-Probably the toughest deep ball throw Teddy made all day. He anticipated where the hole in zones would be and threw to that spot. Great grab by Curtis.
Excellent play call
Good throw and decision by Teddy.
1st and 10: 12:54 in the 4th Quarter (Christian McCaffrey 24 yard reception)
-Panthers line up with11 personnel shotgun formation with 2 WRs on left. Christian runs vertically out of the backfield, splitting the LBs and breaking to the front pylon at around the 25 yard line.
-Chiefs shows blitz pre snap, but drops back their LBs. Looks like Cover 1 man coverage as Zylstra gets chased across formation. One deep safety and an underneath zone by a linebacker.
-Chiefs LBs too late to regain depth when CMC goes vertical and are out of position for the throw after his break.
-Teddy makes a great throw from a muddy pocket, and CMC shows his WR-like ability to track the ball deep and make the grab.
Excellent play call [CAR]
OK Execution [CAR]
Poor Defense [KC]
1st and 10: 4:42 in 4th quarter (Robby Anderson 22 yard reception)
-Panthers use 11 personnel look, two WRs to the right. Curtis is running a 5 yard curl, Robby looks to be running a flag route.
-Chiefs are in a man coverage with two deep safeties.
-Teddy trusts Robby to beat his man in coverage and leverages the throw away from the safety and towards the sideline. Classic pitch and catch in a hurry up situation.
Good play call
3rd and 5: 0:25 in the 4th Quarter (Curtis Samuel 23 yard reception)
-Panthers are in 11 personnel once again with Robby and Curtis on the right side of formation. Verticals with an underneath crosser by DJ.
-Chiefs shows and brings a five man blitz. The flat defender both jump the crosser and stop gaining depth leaving Curtis open in between zones.
-Gave Carolina the ball at the 50 in crunch time. Great awareness by Curtis to look for the ball when he got behind the two defenders. Routine pitch and catch in the 4th Quarter.
OK play Call [CAR]
Good Execution [CAR]
Poor Defense [KC]
Good throw by Teddy.
The idea that Teddy did not push the ball enough in this game is slightly overstated. I think his ability to get the ball to his playmakers in the intermediate game is extremely valuable to the offense, as it helped them sustain drives and keep Mahomes off the field. I find it hard to blame Teddy for missing some deep throws too harshly, as they scored more TDs this game than the season average, capping sustained drives with Touchdowns, which was pleasing to watch. With that being said, the deep balls started being completed in the 4th quarter. There were chances that were missed for bad throws, and bad protection. I want to see the deep ball become a bigger threat at any point in the game, but from this film it’s obvious that Teddy and Joe Brady use the intermediate and underneath game to produce deep shots.
TEDDY GRADE: ABOVE AVERAGE
I went to sleep early Thursday night just to wake up to watch that crap game that we were subjected to look at. This was easily the worst performance that we’ve seen all year. Full disclosure: If you are looking for a nice fluff piece about last night’s loss, this won’t be the one. We absolutely looked like s*** last night. I can’t deny that we had a few high points throughout the game but for the most part we played a very sloppy and a very ugly game. Not to mention against a 1-6 NFC South rival at that. That’s just unacceptable. I’m not holding anything back this week so let’s dive right in.
Week 8 Hot Takes w/ Monty
Has anyone heard from our Offensive Line?
If there was a word that best described this offensive line as a whole, then that word would be inconsistent. VERY inconsistent if we’re being 100% honest. Seriously, I would argue that we may have THE most inconsistent O-line in the NFL and I don’t think it’s close. To be fair, this may be the most frustrating bunch to watch simply because you just never know what you’re going to get from them. In some games we get glimpses of straight dominance from up front, while in others this O-line looks like a bottom five unit. To make matters even worse our veteran players up front are the ones getting beat the most. Matt Paradis and Chris Reed could seriously make a case for single handedly losing last night’s game by themselves.
Now, I recognize that no game is won or lost by one man. It takes 11 players to win, just like it takes 11 players to lose. So don’t get my comments wrong here. There is plenty of blame to go around and not all of it falls at the feet of the offensive line. But with that being said, they WAS the biggest reason for last night’s loss after getting your QB hit eight times along with allowing three sacks. It’s painfully obvious that our offensive line is a big problem. Outside of Taylor Moton, we could seriously use a complete overhaul up front. And I am not joking. With eight more games left in the season, it’s going to be very interesting to see what happens with this unit moving forward.
Form tackling… have you heard of it?
In my previous segment I stated that the offensive line was one of two reasons for us losing the game. Well ladies and gentlemen meet reason number two. The Carolina Panthers defense. This unit has been up and down, hot and cold all year. Therefore, it’s only fitting that we were absolutely freezing all game. Very simply put we looked horrible on the defensive side of the ball. It was hard to even watch at times. We still have linebackers that struggle with simple aspects of football such as shedding blocks, form tackling, and still diving at players feet in space. We ended this game leading the NFL in most missed tackles through eight games. We also have a roster full of corners that are better suited in zone coverage than man coverage, but they STILL struggled with basic zone assignments and reads. We have a defense that is incapable of forcing 3rd down long all season. Our last two opponents have only punted the ball ONCE in the last eight quarters played. These struggles with getting off the field on 3rd down is why the Panthers currently ranks 31st in the NFL in forcing 4th down
Yeah I get that we have a young roster and with youth come mistakes. I understand that completely. Which is why I’m not harping on some of the mental mistakes and penalties that we took late in the game. But having a young team doesn’t excuse poor tackling or not knowing your assignment when the ball is snapped. That’s just unacceptable in my opinion. Outside of Brian Burns, Jeremy Chinn and Derrick Brown our defensive unit is depressing. Getting Rasul Douglas back next week should be huge for our secondary but we are in desperate need of a shutdown CB and a pure MLB. These next eight weeks are going to be telling. Phil Snow…. you have your work cut out for you buddy.
Coming out party for Curtis Samuel
Keeping this final segment short and sweet here. Let me first start by saying, I owe Curtis Samuel a huge apology. I was one of the loudest people calling for us to trade Samuel by the November 3rd trade deadline. Boy was I dead wrong for wanting him gone. You only need one word to describe Curtis Samuel and that word is BALLER. It doesn’t matter what position you ask him to play. It doesn’t matter where you have him lined up at. Simply put he is a matchup nightmare. Over time he has become a tremendous route runner, with an athletic resume that can allow him to play WR and RB. Perfect example of the definition of a team player. With all this talk amongst fans about Panther players and who is the team’s “Number One WR”, we often lose sight of how special Samuel is for this offense and for our team. He finished the game with 7 total touches, 54 total yards of offense and 2 TDs. Have you a day Curtis Samuel. Kudos to you!
Offensive Game Ball(s): Curtis Samuel
Defensive Game Ball(s): Brian Burns/Jeremy Chinn
Losing to any divisional rival at any point of the season, regardless of the record of each team, is never fun. Sigh! I know I know. However, after watching yesterday’s game it’s actually kind of hard to be entirely disappointed about the overall outcome. Sure I get it! It’s never fun to lose and moral victories ultimately mean nothing in the NFL.
With that being said, we saw a game that was an even mix of being very entertaining and being very frustrating. We saw an offense that was able to effectively move the ball up and down the field via passing attack while also struggling to establish a running game. We also saw a defense that forced 14 3rd down opportunities yet also allowing 12 of those opportunities to be converted into 1st downs. Frustrating, I know.
There is so much to break down and discuss from Week 7’s loss. With that being said let’s dive right in to things.
Week 7’s Hot Take’s w/ Monty
What happened to the Defense?
As proud as I’ve been of this new look defense that we’ve assembled this season, this past Sunday on the defensive side of the ball we looked absolutely terrible. Plain and simple. We were terrible at tackling in all aspects of it. Outside of Brian Burns, we were terrible at getting any real pressure up front from our defensive line. Our secondary looked horrendous with the absence of Rasul Douglas as the top cornerback. Our defense struggled all game with trying to contain Alvin Kamara who had a monster day with 148 total yards of offense on 22 total touches. Mix all of that up with allowing 12 conversations on 14 attempts on 3rd down, and it’s pretty clear why we ended up losing Sunday’s contest. There really isn’t much else to say about yesterday’s defensive performance other than we HAVE to be much better down the stretch of the season. WE SIMPLY HAVE TO!
Hello DJ Moore!
There has been a common theme with Panther fans since Steve Smith’s departure from the team back in 2014. That theme is we all agree that we desperately needed a “True #1 WR” in this offense. We also agree that we needed a WR that could keep defenses honest and stretch the field vertically while also being able to take pressure off of our other weapons on offense. Ladies and gentlemen look no further than #12 DJ Moore.
Yes I am aware that DJ has started the year off slow and that Robby Anderson has looked like our team’s new #1 WR for the most part. I don’t fully disagree with this notion and I also believe that the Panthers have put themselves in a very good position at WR. I truly do believe we now have the luxury of fielding two “#1 WRs” in Moore and Anderson at the same time. In addition they both have high upsides.
However, I’ve said this all year, and I will continue to say it. DJ Moore has the higher upside between the two receivers and showed it in yesterday’s contest. Four catches on five targets, 93 yards receiving, 23.3 yards per catch (YPC), and two TDs to top it all off. THIS is the DJ Moore that we all have been waiting for, and I don’t see him slowing down anytime soon. He finishes Week 7 currently ranked 7th overall in receiving yards with 567 yards on just 31 catches. He’s also currently ranked 7th overall in YPC (yards per catch) with an average of 18.2 yards per reception which is huge for this offense.
Each week we see Teddy Bridgewater’s bond grow more and more with DJ, which is also huge for this offense. One can only hope and imagine that this is just the beginning for this duo. With Christian McCaffery potentially coming back this week, we could see a much more efficient and a much more explosive offense down the stretch of the year. All and all, great game DJ! You deserve it.
Franchise QB #5
Keeping this segment short and sweet. It’s been seven weeks of nonstop chatter amongst Panther fans on who and what they believe makes a “Franchise QB”. Whether that is being a QB with crazy arm talent, a QB that makes great decisions with the ball, or a QB who can totally take over and dominate a game with his legs. All three things are very important when looking for a QB of the future and I truly believe you need a solid mix of all three to seriously be considered a franchise QB in the NFL. With that being said it’s time we all admit that Teddy is that even mix of all three that we’ve been looking for.
Teddy has proven he has the arm talent and ability to consistently take shots down field. He has also shown the ability to put the ball in places where only his WR’s can get to them. Let’s not forget that he has the needed athleticism to tuck the ball, move in the pocket and pick up yards with his legs when needed. He also has the accuracy and touch that you want when looking for a franchise QB. He’s a proven leader, a proven winner, and what I love most is, he’s unapologetic about how he approaches the game of football. It’s very simple, Teddy Bridgewater checks all the boxes for today’s “franchise QB” qualifications. It’s time we as a fanbase stopped looking for silly things to criticize this man about and embrace the fact that he likely isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. I am proud to call this man our QB, and so should you. #KeepPounding Teddy
Offensive Game Ball(s): DJ Moore / Teddy Bridgewater
Defensive Game Ball(s): Brian Burns
By: Monty Fetti Jr.
To say that it’s been a crazy first month of football in the NFL, especially for our Carolina Panthers, it would be an huge understatement. From beginning the year with no OTAs, no mini camp, no full training camp and no preseason games, to starting the season off 0-2, to losing our best offensive weapon in RB Christian McCaffery for 4-6 weeks.
The year 2020 has been unlike any other for many fans (and just people in general) want to hurry up and put in the past. So it’s fair to say that after starting the season off 0-2 with consecutive ugly losses, many fans were already packing it in and getting ready for the 2021 draft process to start before this season had even really taken shape. Well over the last two weeks that narrative has changed for good reason to. We are a very young, but very talented team that doesn’t know how to quit. I’ll take that everyday of the week. So with that being said…. let’s jump right in.
Week 4’s Hot Takes w/ Monty
•Teddy 2 Gloves strikes again
I think it’s time we as Panthers fans have to admit that a lot of us may have been wrong about Teddy Bridgewater’s ability to play QB at a high level. Yes I get it, Teddy isn’t Cam Newton. He isn’t the same athlete that Cam once was. He isn’t the same showman that Cam was. Teddy doesn’t really bring out that same infectious, fun loving energy that Cam brought to this team every single week. I get that! All of which are fair assessments but none of which is actually needed to win games. Teddy Bridgewater, very simply put, is a leader and winner. Doesn’t matter how many times you knock him down. Doesn’t matter how many people have counted him out. As long as he has the ability to play he’s going to give you everything he has in the tank, and he’s going to put the team in the best position to win games. That’s all you really can ask for from your QB. Against Arizona, Teddy looked like a stud by having 70.2% completion as a passer, over 300 total yards of offense along with 3 total TDs. His steady play also allowed us to win the battle of time of possession (T.O.P) with 37:08 to Arizona’s 22:52. There isn’t really much to complain about from Teddy’s game yesterday. We came into BOA stadium looking to build off of Week 3’s success and we accomplished that goal. I am very proud to call Teddy 2 Gloves MY QB of the future. Good job QB 5.
• Complimentary Football
Yesterday we arguably saw the most complete game of football under this new coaching regime that we’ve seen all 2020. Yes, I am aware that we have only played 4 games this season, but it just feels like each and every week this team keeps getting better and better. By no means do I believe we played a perfect game, but yesterday we played the closest thing to a complete game that we’ve seen in years and that all started with our defense. DEs Brian Burns and Yetur Gross-Matos applied consistent pressure on Cardinals QB Kyler Murray all game long. Although it might not have led to any sacks, both Burns and Gross-Matos kept Murray unbalanced and uncomfortable all day. Match that with DT Derrick Brown having his way up front preventing Arizona from running the ball effectively.
The Panthers secondary held WRs DeAndre Hopkins to seven catches for 41 yards, Christian Kirk to three catches for 19 yards, and Larry Fitzgerald to 2 catches for 4 yards. You can see how quickly our defense has evolved from Weeks 1 & 2 up to Week 4. The same can be said about our offensive line, RB corps and WRs. The growth that we’ve seen from the first two games to what we saw yesterday is exciting to say the least. Watching guys like RB Mike Davis step up and put together a solid game for us during the absence of Christian McCaffery is huge. Watching this makeshift offensive line come together and keep Teddy clean all game while opening up running lanes for Davis and Bonnafon to run through is also exciting to watch. Watching Teddy establish a rapport with WR Robby Anderson each week is exciting.
Coming into this game, Teddy had been sacked eight times and was tied for the 10th highest sacked QB in football this season. Fun fact: The Panthers offensive line didn’t allow a sack and only five QB pressures all game long. In Week 3 at the Los Angeles Chargers we saw our offense move the ball effectively, but stalled out in the Red Zone and have to settle for FGs all game. However vs. Arizona Cardinals when we got to the Red Zone, we not only scored … but scored TDs. It’s like we saw a completely different team executing, and I absolutely can not wait to see what this team will look like when Weeks 15 and 16 roll around. All and all, I am very proud with this team performing on both sides of the ball. Great team effort and great team win which is all you can really ask for.
• Rhule The Day
Keeping this segment short, sweet and simple. It’s still way too early to crown or crucify this new coaching staff and regime. I believe we as fans often have unrealistic expectations for new head coaches in the NFL. From fans who think we are a lot better than what we actually are to the fans who think we are a lot worse than what we actually are. The majority of the time, we as fans, are our own worst enemies. That being said, Coach Matt Rhule has earned my respect and has at least earned himself some time and a fair shot to turn this organization around into a winning one.
My biggest question coming into this season was how would Rhule demand respect from his team with a roster full of grown men. How would this coaching staff respond to adversity early in the year when things don’t go well? How can he come in and establish a CONSISTENT WINNING CULTURE here in the Carolinas? I recognize that it’s only been four games but as of right now I think we all can agree that we are ahead of schedule when it comes to growth and development as a team. It’s still a very long season, and no team has ever won the Super Bowl in October. But I will give credit where credit is due. Coach Rhule….. “Kudos brother. Kudos!”
Offensive Game Ball: Teddy Bridgewater
Defensive Game Ball: Brian Burns/Rasul Douglas
Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper held a virtual press conference today with the local Charlotte sports media. He spoke on a variety of different topics and answered several questions. Here is a recap of what he said:
- There has been significant improvement with diversity throughout the franchise on both the management level and the work force.
- Construction has begun at the site of the new team headquarters in Rock Hill SC which will be ready in the next three years.
- Has not ruled out returning back to Wofford College in Spartanburg SC as an interim training camp but did not commit either.
- Having a new open-air stadium has more appeal now than it did a year ago.
- There has not been any recent conversation with the owners of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry who are relocating which could be the new stadium site.
- Hopes that fans will be allowed at Bank of America Stadium later on during the season because he loves to interact with the crowds before each game.
- Is still bothered by the hard decision to furlough/layoff several stadium employees due to changes in the organization and the pandemic effects on the economy.
- Richardson statue was taken down for safety reasons and will not return to Bank of America Stadium.
- The decision to release QB Cam Newton was very difficult for him. His wife Nicole was crying alot about it as well.
- Has not had time to think about GM Marty Hurney contract expiring in June 2021 but will look into it later on.