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News » Carolina Panthers Strategy and Personnel 2008-12-30


Carolina Panthers Strategy and Personnel 2008-12-30


Carolina Panthers Strategy and Personnel 2008-12-30
PLAYER NOTES


--DT Maake Kemoeatu did not play Sunday because of an ankle injury. The Panthers are hoping that with two more weeks off he will be able to play in the divisional playoffs.

--DT Damione Lewis did not play Sunday due to a shoulder injury. The Panthers are hoping that with two more weeks off he will be able to play in the divisional playoffs.

--OG Geoff Hangartner left Sunday's game early with an ankle injury. The Panthers are hoping that with two more weeks off he will be able to play in the divisional playoffs.

--RT Jeff Otah left Sunday's game with a toe injury. The Panthers are hoping that with two more weeks off he will be able to play in the divisional playoffs.

--WR D.J. Hackett got the nod as the team's No. 3 receiver and responded with two catches for 31 yards. The Panthers continue to flip-flop between Hackett and Dwayne Jarrett as their No. 3 receiver.

--WR Dwayne Jarrett was inactive on Sunday.

--DE Julius Peppers added another sack on Sunday to finish with a career-high 141/2.

REPORT CARD VS. SAINTS

PASSING OFFENSE: A-minus -- The Panthers were running so well they didn't have to throw it a lot. But Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith once again hooked up on a big play, this time a 39-yarder that led to the winning field goal. Delhomme threw for 250 yards and a touchdown. "That's him. He makes big plays," Delhomme said of Smith's great leaping grab. "Him and I might be a little unorthodox in the way we do things. But I think we work well together and we're just going to try to keep going." Smith finished with 134 yards on five grabs, while Muhsin Muhammad had seven catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. D.J. Hackett even caught two balls for 37 yards. Delhomme took one hard hit on a sack and was shaken up but didn't miss any time.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A-plus -- For the fourth time this season the Panthers eclipsed 200 yards rushing with DeAngelo Williams going for 178 on a season-high 25 carries. That's a nice, tidy 7.1 yards per carry. You have to wonder if anyone in the league is playing better than Williams at this point. Jonathan Stewart also ran hard, picking up 56 yards on 17 carries while scoring his 10th rushing touchdown. The Panthers did that despite losing two more offensive linemen to injuries. Frank Omiyale came in to play left tackle and Jordan Gross moved to right tackle when right tackle Jeff Otah went down with a toe injury. Jeremy Bridges filled in at right guard for Geoff Hangartner (ankle). The Panthers had a season-high 478 yards total offense and have now scored at least 28 points in seven straight games.

PASS DEFENSE: F -- Carolina's pass defense was abysmal late, allowing Drew Brees to complete 12 of 17 passes for 153 yards and three touchdowns in the final quarter. Brees completed 30 of 49 passes for 386 yards on the day with four touchdowns and one interception. Carolina only sacked him twice. Clearly the Panthers pass defense needs to get the ship righted before the start of the playoffs. "I thought up until the fourth quarter we held them in check," said defensive end Julius Peppers. "But you have to give the Saints credit. They came back and made it a game. But we won and now we get to rest and get ready for the playoffs."

RUSH DEFENSE: B -- Considering the Panthers were without both starting defensive tackles, they did a pretty decent job defending the run. Of course, the pass-happy Saints had very little interest in running the football. They carried only 11 times for 50 yards.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- This was a mixed bag. On one hand, the special teams nearly cost them the game with Jason Baker sending a punt off the side of his foot late in the game and the coverage teams failing to recover a squib kick with one second left. John Kasay also missed a 41-yard field goal wide left in the third quarter that would have made it a three-possession game. On the other hand, the Panthers' kickoff coverage teams forced a fumble and returned it for a touchdown while Kasay booted the game-winning 42-yard field goal to lift the Panthers to the NFC South championship.

COACHING: B -- Can you imagine if the Panthers had lost this one? The Panthers were well prepared and jumped out to a 30-10 lead. However, the Saints grabbed the momentum and there was little the Panthers could do but hold on. Great play calling by Jeff Davidson on the final drive getting the Panthers into field goal range. Mike Trgovac's boys need to work on their pass coverage.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 30, 2008

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Breyone Evans Name: Breyone Evans
#39
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