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Interview with the Enemy – Carolina Panthers Edition

Phillip Boyce from Panthers Gab answered a few of our questions about the Carolina Panthers this week. Here is what he had to say:

The Panthers have been praised by Coach Coughlin as a very, very good football team – yet both of our namesakes are 0-2. What have the Panthers done well this season so far?

Panthers play smart (i.e. no turnovers, penalties, etc.) Rivera is disciplined and expects the players to be disciplined. Defense 101 for the Panthers is to be attack oriented (i.e. go after the ball-strips, sacks, INT’s, forced fumbles, etc.) Our defense held Seattle to 12pts in the season opener and M. Lynch to 74yds? Our run defense can be strong. Consistent pressure to the QB may not equate in sacks but may fall into other categories as hurries, etc.

Lots of injuries on defense, yet the Panthers boast a formidable defensive linebacking crew. What are we to believe heading into Sunday will be the Panthers defensive strengths and how will you handle the Giants explosive passing attack?

Defensive strengths- Luke Kuechly, currently 2nd best in the league in tackles. Kuechly is a smart, well-rounded, nose for the football kind of athlete. He can eye out the QB and drop into coverage. Luke has good hands and always finds himself where the ball is. The Panthers most likely will switch the defense up—finding ways to get pressure on Eli. The Panthers believe in their front four to be dominant in applying pressure –two of our first draft picks Star Lotulelei and Kawaan Short are progressing very nicely. DE’s C. Johnson 12.5 sacks last year and G. Hardy 12 will look to have a big game. The Panthers will be tested in the vertical attack. Recently, C. Godfrey, starting FS was injured against Buffalo. Rookie, former college star (Alabama), R. Lester will have his chance to start and show his abilities on the “big” field. Panthers resigned veteran D. Florence CB.

The Giants can’t run the ball, the Panthers have had sustained success there. What are you doing so well that the Giants have seemingly forgotten how to do.

D. Williams is ranked 5th in Rushing yards in the League (171). The Panthers want to be a running team. Offensive line is key to successfully running the ball. D. Williams is also an excellent runner who acquired over 1000 yrds a few seasons ago. The Panthers running game is not in top notch form. The ground duo with Williams and Stewart will not be seen until at least week 6. J. Stewart is still rehabing an injury. The Panthers are using D. Williams and M. Tolbert to enforce the ground game. Kenjon Barner also is believed to have his first start against the Giants. Barner is a promising scat back.

How much gas does Steve Smith have left in the tank, and who is he mentoring now at WR that looks promising?

The search for the #2 WR has been ongoing. Currently, B. Lafell holds the spot. Lafell finished with average numbers last year 700+. However, Panther fans want someone with more dynamic ability to take the role and step up. Options–(A) Ted Ginn Jr. very fast and has shown that he can catch the ball playing for the Panthers. (B) D. Hixon, a familiar name to NY Giants. Hixon has had some injuries but should start against Giants. Other notables: A. Edwards had a great training camp and his performance has been praised as well as his acceptance of taking on the role as WR. Steve Smith still has “IT” he can light up most corners with his dynamic ability. Smith mentors everyone being a captain and showing his passion for the game. All of the WR’s can learn a thing or two or three or four from this elusive WR. B. Lafell and others need to have a bigger showing and greater numbers this game and solidify their spots and futures.

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