by Jeff Taylor
I don’t know why I bother, but here we go….
Either the Panthers get to Jeff Garcia and put him on the ground (don’t “rough” him, whatever that mean these days!) or slide to 6-6. Given time Garcia will absolutely find tight end L.J. Smith for big plays. The Panthers should be able to win this game even if Brian Westbrook goes for over 100 yards if Garcia’s play action passes do not murder them.
Defense is the key to this game — and the rest of the season — yet the Uptown paper of record today burns 100-plus column inches on a Panthers’ problems package that zeroes in exclusively on the offense. Pat Yasinskas is much too smart to really believe that.
As we’ve said for what? four weeks now? either the Panthers assume the mantle of an attacking, game-changing defense with a very flawed offense or forget about post-season play. The offense is what it is — it is not getting any better. Expecting it to at this late date is madness.
About all you can do is invert down-and-distance play-calling — go long on first down and run on third, no matter what. Punt the ball if it doesn’t work. Repeat. At least that keeps you from the 3rd-and-long pass plays that have been so ugly for this team this year.
We’ll find out a lot about John Fox tonite. If Foxy is the great coach everyone says he is, he’ll find a to maximize his team’s shot at a win. Even if that means doing some non-Foxy things.