CAR-JAX grades: Panthers’ Josh Norman top CB in Week 1

Jaguars QB Blake Bortles falls flat in opener after promising preseason.

| 2 years ago
Blake Bortles

(AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

CAR-JAX grades: Panthers’ Josh Norman top CB in Week 1

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Panthers-Jaguars game:

Carolina Panthers

– CB Josh Norman had his highest overall grade of his career, leading all cornerbacks in week one with a +4.3 grade. He also led all cornerbacks with a +3.7 coverage grade this week. Norman was thrown at nine times and allowed just three completions for 15 yards, and he made the play of the game when he returned an interception for a touchdown.

– OLB Thomas Davis tied Seattle’s Bruce Irvin for the highest overall grade among 4-3 OLBs in Week 1 with a +3.3. Davis was effective both against the run (+1.9 run defense grade, 15.8 stop percentage) and the pass (+1.3 coverage grade), giving up two catches on three targets for 8 yards. He also defensed one pass and recorded a sack.

– RT Mike Remmers (+2.5) rebounded from a disastrous performance in last year’s divisional playoff game (-7.9 overall grade in that matchup), posting the third highest grade among right tackles. He was especially effective as a run blocker (+1.4) and only allowed one pressure.

Top performers:

CB Josh Norman (+4.3)
WLB Thomas Davis (+3.3)
MLB Luke Kuechly (+2.5)
RT Mike Remmers (+2.5)
TE Ed Dickson (+1.8)

Jacksonville Jaguars

– After a promising preseason, capped off by a +5.7 overall grade against the Lions, QB Blake Bortles came out flat against the Panthers. Bortles posted an overall grade of -1.9, which ranked him 22nd amongst Week 1 QBs; his -3.3 passing grade was the second lowest of the weekend. He threw two interceptions—the first, a terrible coverage misread that CB Josh Norman (+4.3) promptly returned for a touchdown. Bortles was pressured on 10 dropbacks; he was sacked five times, didn’t complete a pass, and threw one interception.

– LB Paul Posluszny had our fourth highest grade among inside linebackers on Sunday, posting a +3.6. He was particularly good in pass coverage, where his +2.2 grade was behind only Ravens LB Daryl Smith’s +2.3. Posluszny allowed just one, 9-yard catch on the afternoon and defended two passes.

– RG Brandon Linder had a strong rookie season in 2014 and his performance carried over to a nice week one in 2015. He finished the day with a +1.8 overall grade, but where he was really impressive was in the running game. His +1.7 run blocking grade was the sixth highest among guards this weekend. Jacksonville ran the ball off of Linder four times Sunday, and they averaged 8.5 yards per carry; the Jaguars averaged just 3.6 yards per carry when they ran the ball anywhere else.

Top Performers:

LG Zane Beadles (+3.3)
MLB Paul Posluszny (+3.6)
FS Sergio Brown (+2.0)
RG Brandon Linder (+1.8)
DE Chris Clemons (+1.7)

  • Jaguars28

    It’s nice to have a good free safety for once.

    The offense sucks once again, but at least the defesne looked great, even if they were facing a Panthers offense depleted by injuries.

    • Jaguars28


  • Samuel Myers

    Panthers have a strong defense. Jags ran the ball well, Yeldon made some strong runs, showing vision, patience, and tackle breaking ability. I hope the PFF graders noted that, though given the way they grade backs it’s hard for them to make a statement especially in only 12 carries.

    Bortles struggled at times, played well at others. He was woefully inaccurate on many of his long passes, throwing way out in front of the receivers. However, he also had some bad drops and made a few strong plays. The only glaringly bad throws were the first interception and a ball towards the end that should have been picked over the middle (second pick happened after his arm was hit and ball fluttered into the air, although he held the ball way too long, so it was still his fault). Everything else was a conservative overthrow, as referenced by Bradley in Monday’s presser.

    He is still a young passer and will be inconsistent all year, particularly against strong defenses. He is however still surrounded by the youngest offensive roster in the NFL, and has virtually no veteran receiving threats outside of Lewis, who can be taken away rather easily at this stage in his career. The growing pains are not over. That said, he did not revert to his bad mechanics and still showed good pocket presence. He generally made good decisions with the ball, though his accuracy was wanting most of the day. Lots of cause for concern but hard to draw any conclusions.

    • Jaguars28

      Geez, I can’t even bring myself to talk seriously about this team anymore.

      Nice analysis.

    • LukeNSims

      The play calling was miserable from OC Greg Olson. He couldn’t even create a balanced approach and straight up abandoned the run.

      We need to get serious about giving Blake Bortles help and limit his throwing to under 30 attempts a game. He clearly isn’t Aaron Rodgers right now, so don’t force him to be.