Carolina Panthers

I’m curious about the Panthers, because of their striking DSRS ranking. Is this something that built up without much notice, or did it appear out of nowhere?

Carolina Panthers 2010-2013
2010 CAR 2 14 0 -13.19 -9.79 -3.40 -13.25 0.06
2011 CAR 6 10 0 -1.30 3.34 -4.63 -1.44 0.14
2012 CAR 7 9 0 0.81 0.83 -0.03 -0.38 1.19
2013 CAR 2 3 0 5.54 -2.51 8.06 8.20 -2.66


For now I’d say it bears watching. The 2010 to 2011 season saw a huge improvement in the Panther’s defense, going from bad to ordinary. An 8 point jump in a single season would be exceptional, but not impossible.

Looking at the Panther’s drafts, there is a heavy defensive emphasis in the first three picks in 2012 and 2013, with LB Luke Keuchly the number 1 pick in 2012 and DT Star Lotulelei the number 1 pick in 2013.

The Panther’s head coach, Ron Rivera, was the defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears in 2004-2006, and first started receiving head coaching attention at the end of the 2005 season, when he was credited with helping to make Chicago one of the best defenses in the league. From 2004 to 2005, there was an approximately 8.5 point improvement in Chicago’s DSRS.

Chicago Bears 2004-2006
2004 CHI 5 11 0 -8.24 -7.77 -0.46 -6.25 -1.99
2005 CHI 11 5 0 1.39 -6.60 7.99 3.62 -2.23
2006 CHI 13 3 0 7.90 4.54 3.36 10.75 -2.85


The biggest fish in free agency was Peyton Manning, and now that fish has been landed, by the Denver Broncos. Peyton arriving now leads to speculation about Tebow leaving, and some Dallas media sorts have suggested that he might land with the Cowboys. My general feeling is possibly, if he ends up being cut, but since Dallas already has a serviceable backup in Kyle Orton (one of their first free agent pickups), I’m not sure I see the need.

Peyton Manning is now a Denver Bronco. Image from Wikimedia.

However, Tebow has what former Falcons QB David Archer calls “no off switch”. He doesn’t quit, even under conditions where most people give up.  This “never say never” attitude will land him a job somewhere. His will to win, will to work, and totally improbable ability to win games will land him somewhere. I’m sure of it.

It seems to me the team that could handle Tebow best would be the Carolina Panthers. With Cam Newton already using spread and zone concepts, it would be much less effort for that team to accommodate Tim. The question, of course, is whether they would want to.

Important in the NFC East scheme of  things was the Redskins trade for the #2 draft choice. They are almost certainly going to draft RG3 with that pick. For some years now, the Skins have lived with an unsettled QB situation, and now that is over. The question on their plate is how to accumulate talent with the draft deficit  they face.

The Eagles signed WR DeSean Jackson to a long term contract, and if I recall, have traded for DeMeco Ryans as well. Is this the end to their linebacker woes?  Now, the free agency linebacker market, as noted by such sources as Pro Football Focus, has been stolid. The general consensus is that the best linebackers had very high salary expectations. Clubs are just waiting for the talent that is there to be affordable.

Dallas, of course, faces the same issue on their offense as they did before free agency. If their biggest problem is Phil Costa at center, what have they done to fix that? They have picked up two free agent  guards, Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau, neither of which is regarded as a great player, but then again, they didn’t pay much either. The most important pickup was CB Brandon Carr, who replaces Terrance Newman. Also useful was QB Kyle Orton, and the LB Dan Connor (insert Terminator joke here).

There are a couple posts on Coach Hoover’s blog that I hadn’t examined in depth, and there is a real nugget in one of those posts for Cowboys fans. On the post where Coach Hoover examines a triple inside fire zone blitz (3 rushes down the “A” gap), he also points out that in this clinic, current Dallas DL coach Brian Baker is teaching defensive line play.

Brian is coaching from about page 10 to about page 28 of this clinic. Example screen shots are below.