I liked a lot of what I saw on defense tonight. There were also a few things I really did not like. It really hurt having Toler get hurt. But hit the jump and see if you agree or disagree with what I saw.
1. the cushion we gave in the secondary. I know we will be zone blitzing a lot because that's what Lebeau does in Pitt. But I felt we gave way to big a cushion in our zones. It felt like our corners were playing about 10 yards off the LOS all game giving free releases to the panthers receivers. We missed Toler more then I thought we would and I do not feel like Peterson is ready to start at corner yet. Marshall played great and I hope he sees more minutes on the outside and we see Peterson in the slot/nickel more.
2. our one on one moves while blitzing. We blitzed a lot this game (more on that in the 'likes' section), but rarely got early pressure on Newton. It felt like we rarely had clean wins 1 on 1 while blitzing. that is a big issue in my opinion. we need to win those battles and get early pressure.
3. Beanie falling down- he seems to slip an awful lot. is this just me or are you guys seeing this as well?
I feel that issues 1-2 are what allowed Newton to go over 400 yards and a couple of scores.
1. We finally are playing the kind of ball that I think whiz has wanted since he got to the desert. We finally have a nice bunch of TE's. They can stretch the field (Heap, Houlser)and block (Dray, King). side note: I think king is going to be real nice for us, poor mans heath miller. these TE's allow us to stack the line and play some power football. as seen by Wells beautifully in the first half (10-77(ish) yards, TD). That is a very nice first half. our offense looked really good all game. only a few 3 and outs, some nice long drives with a few big plays sprinkled in there (Fitz, Doucet, Beanie).
2. That Horton brought the pressure without giving up big runs. He said they want to stop the ballcarrier on their way to the QB, and they did that. We absolutely stuffed the panthers running game. And we did it while we were blitzing. I think our front 3 (CC, DD and DW, and their backups) had a great game. they were really active got good penetration and made some plays. I would have liked to see the pocket collapse a bit more as newton was able to step up a lot and most pressure came off the edge. I loved that we blitzed a lot and that they were unpredictable blitzes. Bill Davis called the most vanilla blitzes at the most predictable times. Horton brought pressure a lot and I loved it. I do not feel the pressure left us exposed on the back end that much, but that the big plays and hundreds of yards were because we gave to big a cushion with our DB's
3. Long Drives- Between Kolb and Beanie we actually had some long drives that would have led to points except Feely missed and Beanie/Kolb fumbled. We had great time of possession numbers in the 1rst half but between Doucet and Peterson having long scores, our D played a lot in the second.
4. Beanie was a beast- he finally ran angry. His career mirrors McFadden's a bit. Showed promise, got hurt and now is poised for a breakout season. I am expecting him to go for about 1300 all purpose yards and 12 TD's.
5. Kolb- was the real deal. good decisions, accurate, big plays, extended drive. Huge upgrade at the most important position in sports.
Go Cards and Horton better fix that back end quick. I might shart in my pants if if Newton and Rex "i'm gross'man shred our D.