5 Panthers Lessons from Falcons vs Buccaneers


Thursday Night Football is like some great gift. Three weeks in a row have featured two teams that the Panthers will play later this year. In the case of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, we have already played them and we will have to play them again. The Atlanta Falcons, who must feel better about themselves after a 56-14 romp, still have to play the Panthers twice this season. So want can we learn from the beauty that was Falcons vs Buccaneers?

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1.Is Lovie certain Josh McCown is the right guy?

Taking McCown out of all the weapons that Chicago could offer him seems to be doing a number on the guy. On the other hand, if he wasn’t getting hit and throwing picks, are we so certain that Mike Glennon would be doing better right now?

2.Are these the same Buccaneers we saw two weeks ago?

The answer is not really. The Bucs have sustained injuries to Logan Mankins, Doug Martin, and Gerald McCoy. Teams also have tape on what Lovie is trying to do on offense now. Yes, it should be worrisome that Atlanta put up 56 on a team the Panthers scrounged for 24. However, I think that shows a little difference in team identity right now.

3.When did Atlanta get this balanced attack?

Thursday night. The Atlanta running attack had been stagnant under Steven Jackson, and he only ran for 54 yards. However Atlanta ran a number of folks and mighty mite Antone Smith was particularly successful. The Panthers would probably have wanted to shut down Atlanta’s running game any way, but with this tape out there we cannot sleep on it.

Sep 18, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Devin Hester (17) reacts as he returns a punt for a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

4.Will Devin Hester have another day like this?

Not if you do not kick to him. Gano has been pretty good at getting touchbacks. The defense does need to be aware when Hester is on the field, and that they will go to him.

5.How do you stop Julio Jones?

Jones had nine receptions for 161 yards and two touchdowns. The best way to defend against him is to flatten Matt Ryan before it ever gets that far. If Roddy White is healthy, you cannot really afford to double cover Jones. If he is out, then you can try to treat Jones much as the Panthers did Calvin Johnson. First answer is still pass rush.