Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE
The Raiders are in Carolina this weekend to face the Panthers so to get the insider's perspective on the Panthers, I spoke to James Dator of Panthers blog Cat Scratch Reader. One of the best names of a blog I've ever heard.
Last year the Panthers were not winning while Cam Newton was putting up huge number. Now neither is happening. What happened?
2011 was all about Cam Newton and an amazing offense being let down by an atrocious defense. Cam got too much of the blame (as he always does) but there wasn't anything more he could have done. This season offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinksi moved away from the offense's strengths, and almost entirely relied on the read-option for the first ten games of the season. The defense improved, but the offensive drop off was so apparent that they couldn't recover. In the last seven weeks the Panthers have moved back to what they did well on offense last year, and now Newton has returned to dominance.
The Panthers seem to be cold most of the time but jump up and play well in certain games. Is it one thing that clicks that usually doesn't or is it a variation of things?
It's all about the offensive game plan changing. The read option was all risk and reward. Either teams knew how to stop it and they stonewalled the offense, or they didn't which allowed they to be close. Now the offense has changed I'm not sure there is that hot-and-cold aspect to them anymore.
What are the Panthers' three strongest areas?
- Cam Newton's ability to improvise under pressure
- Luke Kuechly swallowing everything at middle linebacker
What are the Panthers' three weakest areas?
- Patchwork secondary that is very inconsistent
- Interior defensive line
- Power run-blocking by offensive line
To see my answers to his questions, Click here.