By Monty Fetti
After five weeks of football with a 3-2 record, I think we all can agree that this Carolina Panthers team is a lot better prepared for the 2020 season than we all originally expected. Coach Matt Rhule made it very clear earlier this year that he had no intentions on waiting until three or four years to start expecting this team to win games and be competitive in the NFL. We all are thankful for it too. With the 1st quarter of the season already in the books, the Panthers are in great shape and in control of their own destiny. I also believe that expecting us to win seven or eight games this year is a fair and attainable goal that maybe a lot of us didn’t expect to happen at the start of the season. Sure, some fans will complain about draft capital and about us needing ___ position or player from next year’s 2021 NFL Draft. But winning should always be the main priority for this team. Especially with a team that’s so young and looking to build for the future. I’ll admit that we still have a very long season ahead of us, but 3-2 never felt so good. Let’s jump right in.
Week 5 Hot Takes w/ Monty
Over a five week span offensive coordinator Joe Brady has proven to be worth every penny spent to get him here in Carolina. One could also make the case that he may be the biggest, most impactful “Free Agent” addition ever in Panthers history. Very simply put Brady and this offense is legit. VERY legit!!! This is also taking nothing away from the talent we currently have on the roster. I understand that your system is only as good as the men you have in place to effectively execute what you want to do on offense.
That being said, I absolutely love what Brady has done with this system in such a short time. After losing Christian McCaffery in Week 2 to a high ankle sprain, who would have thought that Mike Davis would come on and have as big an impact as he is having right now. Since Week 2, Davis has a total of 348 all-purpose yards with three total TDs on 67 combined touches. Davis simply hasn’t missed a beat since McCaffrey’s injury, and neither has this offensive line. This makes it the 2nd week in row that our offensive line has not allowed a sack on Teddy Bridgewater after starting the season off with six allowed sacks over Weeks 1 & 2.
In fact, in this new system, we see guys like Mike Davis, Robby Anderson and Teddy Bridgewater all on pace to have career years across the board which I don’t think is coincidence. There are a lot of things to be excited about with this team in Carolina and Joe Brady coaching this offense is one of them.
WR1a & WR1b
Staying on the topic of offense, it’s been seven years since the Panthers decided to release and move on from Steve Smith Sr back in 2013. It also feels like it’s been just as long since we have actually had a true “#1 WR” that teams fear and game plan against each Sunday. Well I am happy to inform you all that those days are officially over. In a division full of WRs like Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Calvin Ridley. It’s only right that we have our own 1-2 punch at WR and that starts with Robby Anderson.
Anderson has been a perfect addition to this offense with his combination of size, speed, crisp routes, and playmaking ability with the ball in his hands. It has shown up big time on the field too with him currently ranked 3rd in the NFL in receptions with 36 and 3rd in receiving yards with 489 yards. Robby has also been a perfect compliment to a young and still developing DJ Moore who is coming off of a stellar 2019 season. Moore is currently ranked 11th in the NFL in receiving yards with 381 yards and 12th in YPC (yards per catch) with 17.3. It’s easy to see that Teddy has found his two favorite weapons on offense with CMC out, and it will be exciting to see Robby and DJ continue to grow with Teddy as the season progresses. Right now both WRs are on pace to break 70+ catches, and both are on pace to surpass 1200 receiving yards a piece. We have all waited long enough, so it’s time we enjoy these two while it lasts.
I am going to try and keep these last two points short, sweet and simple. This defense, week in and week out, continues to impress. With THE youngest roster in the NFL and with having THE most turnover of personnel from 2019 to 2020 you would think that our defenders would struggle all year. Outside of Weeks 1 & 2, our defense has arguably been one of the better units throughout the entire league over five weeks. Going from allowing an average of 32.5 PPG (points per game) in our first two contests to only giving up an average of 17.6 PPG from Weeks 3 to 5 is a perfect example of the work defensive coordinator Phil Snow has put in to fix this unit. Guys like Brian Burns, Jeremy Chinn and Derrick Brown have all been huge for this new look defense and I expect them to only get better as the season progresses. Good job fellas and #KeepPounding
Teddy B. 4 President
Again I’m keeping this short, sweet and simple. STOP CALLING THIS MAN “a bridge QB”. He led Carolina to a convincing win over the Falcons in Atlanta which is something we haven’t done in six years. Also after starting the season off ranked 5th in passing yards with 1460, 2nd in the NFL in completion percentage with 73% of his passes, and being ranked 11th in passer rating with 101.3. If you are still on the edge on not being sold on Teddy as our starting QB and likely the future for this team at that position, then you simply need to get your head checked by a state licensed professional. Bridgewater is a leader and more importantly a WINNER. Give this man the RESPECT that he deserves and has earned. Keep up the great work Teddy!!
Offensive Game Ball(s): Mike Davis
Defensive Game Ball(s): Brian Burns