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:
– 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.
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)
– 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.
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)