Hot Takes with Monty
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
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
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
So after dramatically crying myself to sleep and after washing the stinch of yesterday’s UGLY
loss off, I am finally back and ready to discuss what happened in the matchup against
the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by our Carolina Panthers. Let’s just jump right into it.
Week 2 Hot Takes w/ Monty
● The Tale of Two Weeks from our O-Line & QB 5
Since signing Teddy Bridgewater to the Panthers back in March, I think I’ve been one of the more vocal fans in my support of him and in his ability to play QB. Even now, I still believe that he is
a very solid QB that is talented enough to come in and win games when needed. That being
said, Week 2 of the 2020 season was NOT a good outing for QB #5. Teddy came right out the
gates with 2 costly turnovers that put us in a 14-0 hole early in the first quarter. For most of
the first half, Bridgewater could never establish any type of rhythm with his receivers or tight
ends. Adding insult to injury, Tampa Bay did a great job of bottling up Christian McCaffery and
preventing us from running the ball effectively like we did in Week 1. You match all of that with
absolute terrible play from our offensive line, and you can see why we leave Sunday’s contest
with such a lopsided loss. Now, I will give credit where it’s due. This offense, led by Bridgewater,
never gave in and continued to battle back all the way down to the very last whistle. We in fact fought back from a 21-7 deficit in the 2nd half, and were able to cut the lead down to a TD midway throughthe 4th Quarter. But sometimes when it rains, it pours. A late INT by Bridgewater, costly
penalties in the second half, and just bad execution from our offense as a whole is what
ultimately sealed our fate. Moving forward, I still have faith that Teddy can turn things around for
this offense, and I still stand by my assessment that QB isn’t close to being the biggest need we
have on this roster. Bridgewater must be better and I expect him to be.
● Defense continues to struggle in Week 2
To be honest, this week I am willing to give our defense somewhat of a break. A minor break
but a break nonetheless. I’m sure after looking at the scoreboard and after looking at highlights
of Tom Brady shredding our defense to pieces, it’s easy to say our defense was the biggest reason
for us losing yesterday’s contest. I also think you have to consider how well this unit played
during the start of the 2nd half, especially during the top of the 4th quarter by holding the Buccaneers scoreless. I also believe that if the Panthers offense did not turn the ball over two times in our first two possessions, then we are not down 14-0 in the 1st quarter. We would potentially be talking about a complete different game at that point and potentially a completely different outcome. That’s also as far as my break goes for this defense. Just like in Week 1 there was poor tackling, a lack of a true pass rush and silly mental mistakes that led to penalties which is what ultimately cost us yesterday’s game. Not to mention, Tom Brady and his offense missed out on a couple of opportunities to make this game that much more embarrassing. A dropped TD pass from Shady McCoy in the end zone, and a doink off of a Tampa Bay’s WR helmet is what kept the game closer than it really should have been. Bottom line is that this defense is BAD and doesn’t look to be getting better anytime soon.
I’m keeping this week’s Hot Takes short, sweet and simple. There wasn’t a lot to cheer for yesterday at all and we have A LOT of work to do.
Offensive Player Of The Game: WR Robbie Anderson
Defensive Player Of The Game: EDGE Brian Burns