What to watch for when Carolina has the ball

In the most interesting matchup of the game, Carolina's versatile offense faces the NFL's best defense. Sam Monson breaks down the battle.

| 9 months ago
(AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

(AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

What to watch for when Carolina has the ball

Super Bowl 50 offers some of the most intriguing matchups and battles of recent years. It features two teams with elite units and some fascinating battles on a smaller scale. Let’s dive into what will happen when Carolina has the ball on offense.

(Editor’s note: Be sure to also check out Ben Stockwell’s article on what to watch for when Denver has the ball.)

Panthers’ rushing attack vs. Broncos’ run defense

Carolina doesn’t just have one of the best running games in the NFL, but one of the most unique, thanks to their quarterback, Cam Newton. He isn’t a supplement to the run game with scrambles on passing plays the way some quarterbacks are—Newton is an integral part of Carolina’s running game by design. During the regular season, Newton rushed 132 times for 636 yards, but just 29 of them were scrambles. Russell Wilson, by comparison scrambled 58 times and did not have a single designed run between the tackles. Newton had 32.

With his stature and strength paired with super athleticism, he allows the Panthers not only to break out all of the option tricks other teams with athletic quarterbacks can, but to create entire packages of power QB-rush plays that no other team dares use. Newton changes the numbers game when it comes to defending the run.

Denver’s pass-rushers are so good, though, we tend to forget that most of them are excellent run defenders as well. Derek Wolfe, Von Miller, Brandon Marshall and even backup OLB Shaq Barrett have excellent grades against the run, and as a unit, Denver is the league’s highest-graded run-defense. There is no obvious weak link to the chain, but as is the common theme to this Super Bowl, the Broncos have not faced a quarterback that can do what Newton does in the run game. No longer do they have to consider simply what might happen if he breaks contain and scrambles, or if he keeps the ball on the option, but if he keeps it on a power play up the middle when they fake something else out wide. This Denver defense may be elite against the run, but Newton and the Panthers bring a scheme they haven’t had to contend with yet this year.

Panthers’ pass protection vs. Broncos pass rush’

If the run game edge is with the Panthers, this is where the Broncos look to have the advantage on paper. Von Miller is one of the league’s most dominant pass-rushers and has been on a mission in the post-season. He accounted for eight total pressures against the Patriots, and took Brady to the ground four times on his own. Carolina’s offensive line has been dramatically better than it looked on paper heading into the season, but Mike Remmers at right tackle against Von Miller is a mismatch. Remmers surrendered six sacks on the season and 40 additional pressures, as well as being flagged 11 times. So far in the postseason, he has actually been near perfect—yet to surrender a single pressure or be flagged on a play—but we have seen what Miller can do to offensive linemen with his speed and rush.

If Miller was all Carolina had to contend with, they could help Remmers out, but the problem is that Denver’s pass rush is so deep and varied. On the other side from Miller is DeMarcus Ware, with 44 total pressures to his name over the season. Shaq Barrett is the first edge player off the bench in their rotation, and he notched 26 pressures during his snaps. Shane Ray—the team’s first-round pick—has been sparingly used because the team is so deep, but still has 23 total pressures over the season. Inside, Malik Jackson has been one of the league’s most disruptive interior rushers, with 60 total pressures over the season, while Derek Wolfe played well enough to earn a contract extension, and instead of relaxing with his reward, has only taken his play up a notch since. In the postseason alone, Wolfe has 16 total pressures on just 82 pass-rushing snaps.

There is no place to hide from this Denver pass-rush, and Cam Newton holds the ball significantly longer than the average quarterback. The average time to throw of QBs the Broncos have faced this season is 2.51, but Newton’s is 2.83—slower than all but four other NFL passers. 52.1 percent of his passes take longer than 2.5 seconds to leave his hands, which is a bigger percentage than all but three other QBs this season.

The Broncos’ pass-rush will have plenty of opportunity to get after Newton and put him under pressure, and when he has been pressured this season, his passer rating has dropped 41.5 points.

Panthers’ passing attack vs. Broncos’ pass coverage

Cam Newton has been able to have stellar production with a group of role-player receivers and Greg Olsen. Denver’s defense this season has been spectacular when everybody is healthy, but was forced to change when Chris Harris Jr. went down hurt in the final game of the season. Over the season, the Broncos have run man-free coverage (man coverage underneath with a single high safety) on 36.2 percent of their plays. Against Pittsburgh they ran that just 26.8 percent of their snaps, but ran cover-3 on 42.6 percent. The injury to Harris primarily turned them into a zone-coverage team, forcing them away from their strengths. Against New England the next week, they were back to running man coverage, with 34.7 percent of their coverage man-free.

With two more weeks of rest for Harris, the Broncos should be comfortable deploying their preferred coverage schemes, and they have shown this season that, when they can do that, they can lock down even the league’s better units one-on-one across the board. Ted Ginn has the speed to get open deep, but Denver has the ability to match up with every receiver the Panthers can deploy and cover them for an extended period of time, forcing the quarterback to hold the ball longer to wait for them to uncover, and buying time for their pass-rush. With Harris struggling for health, this unit needs to change what they do to accommodate him, but when he is healthy, this becomes one of the best coverage units in the league, and the edge lies firmly with Denver.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN.

  • Allen

    The one thing I would throw out is that the Panthers have quite easily handled the elite pass rushing teams they’ve faced this year. This is a line that kept Cam clean all year and is a lot better than the one New England was trotting out. The threat of the run is also going to be a huge factor here. Unless Denver completely shuts down the Carolina run game early, they aren’t going to be able to pin their ears back like they did against Pittsburgh and New England.

    • anon76returns

      I’m not sure that’s true. Carolina had 5 games against the top 10 teams in the league by adjusted sack rate (Tennessee at #3, Tampa Bay 2x at #5, Hou at #6, and Wash at #8). Those 5 games comprised 31% of the Panthers schedule, but they gave up 15 of their 33 sacks (45%) in those 5 games, as well as another (according to ESPN) 25 QB hits on 159 pass attempts. That’s getting sacked on nearly 10% of Cam’s drop backs, and none of those teams were particularly close to as good as Denver at rushing the passer this season. (In case you’re wondering, Seattle was 15th in sack rate, and Arizona was 27th.) Also, of those teams, only TB was in the top 10 in run defense by DVOA, and they were #9. Not only is Denver substantially better at rushing the passer than those teams were, but they can do it while remaining very difficult to run against and still being the best team in the league in coverage.
      Then Denver defense has never had the advantage of playing with a big lead so that they can just pin their ears back, as you say. They still ended up being the best team in the league in yards allowed/rush, yards allowed/pass, sack rate, and points allowed per drive. They really are on a much different level than any defense Carolina has faced so far.

      • jdb1972

        9 of those 15 sacks came vs. TN in week 10 and TB in week 17, both of which Carolina won handily. Cam also completed 80% of his passes in both those games, threw 0 picks, and accounted for 6 TDs.

        That which proves too much…

        • anon76returns

          TN (#24) and TB (#26) each had terrible coverage units, and tried to make up for it with pressure on the passer. As a result they got lots of pressure, but when the QB stood in the pocket and delivered there were usually easy pickings. The Broncos are much better than either TN or TB at getting pressure on the passer, but they were also a much better coverage unit (#1). It’s much harder to victimize the Broncos when the rush is 1/2 step late. Tellingly, the only team that the Panthers faced that was good both in coverage and in pass rush, the Houston Texans (#7 and #6, respectively), Newton was held under 180 yards passing offense and a 71 passer rating. Denver’s D is a lot better than Houston’s.

          • jdb1972

            And in the Houston game, Newton rushed for 76 yards on 10 rushes. Which illustrates the point. Denver won’t be able to stop everything any more than Arizona or Seattle were despite claims that they would.

            If Denver puts 8 in the box to stop the power run game, they have to deal with Ginn and Brown’s deep speed and Olsen down the seam – as well as the threat of Cam .

            If they drop to nickel with 7 (or less) in the box, their front 7 are going to get worn down and run through by Carolina’s 3 power backs and the best interior OL in football.

            Denver’s a very talented team, certainly. And if anyone can figure out how to implement the usual mantra for how to beat the Panther O*, it would be Wade Phillips. But so far the only ones who’ve beaten the Panthers in the past season and a half have been themselves.

            * “Contain Cam, double Olsen, stop the run with 5 guys, rush the passer with 4 every play, cover Ginn and Brown and don’t let them past you.” – Fans of every team Carolina has played. It’s basically the Underpants Gnome theory for winning.

          • anon76returns

            You’re missing the point of my post. Denver is the best pass rushing team in the league. They’re the best run defense team (at least in terms of yards allowed/carry). They’re the best pass coverage team. They don’t need to overcommit to stop the run. They don’t need to overcommit to cover the Panthers receivers. And they don’t need to send blitzers to get pressure. They are simultaneously the best team in the league at every single one of those things, leaving them free to send the extra defender wherever they want.

            Carolina is a very good running team, especially power running, but they are not the best in the league. They’re also a very good passing team, though not the best by a long ways. And they’re a very good pass blocking team, but again, not the best. Every phase that the Panthers offense is good at, the Broncos defense has been better in defending this season. And they’ve been doing it against much better competition than Carolina has faced throughout the season.

          • Bryan

            The Broncos crushed them.

          • jdb1972

            The Panther OC crushed them with insane choices. Leaving Remmers and Oher 1 on 1 for most of the game. Giving up on the run in the second half. Giving up on Cam running, especially in the second half. The Ginn trick play. Using zero motion to get Olsen open. Putting your rookie backup OT in for his first NFL action at G in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl. Stuff like that.

            Then there was execution. 5 drops (well, 4, but one catch was ruled an incomplete that resulted in 7 points for the Broncos on the next play), 5? fumbles, and a ball Ginn batted up in the air for an easy INT. The punt “coverage” stupidity. Oh, and Ginn running straight for the sideline every time he touched the ball. Even the D dropped 3 INTs that hit them right in the hands, at least one of which was a sure pick 6.

            The Broncos played well enough to win, true. Sometimes, you just have to make fewer mistakes than the other guy, or at least make more with the mistakes they make. And they did that. Hats off to them for an ugly win in a close game.

          • bigpoppapump97

            Guess what we call that in America genius…football. Things like that happen in NFL games. You should know better than any with your front running team. Amazing how it was greatness when you guys were winning with turnovers every game. Now you’re spending you’re sleepless nights thinking about every lost opportunity. Sucks to get the table turned on you doesn’t it?

          • jdb1972

            Yawn. You’re boring. And projecting.

    • Autocephallus

      Denver will rush four while Carolina is in max protect. Cam will have a clean pocket but his three receivers will be double-covered.

      • Allen

        Carolina has speed and size in their receiving corps and only rushing four and dropping everyone back only works if you don’t have to respect the run game. I’m not denying that Denver is the best defense Carolina has faced, I just think assuming they are going to completely shut down an offense this good is a little presumptuous. The bigger issue in all of this is that I just don’t know how Denver is going to score enough. The only way teams have really been able to attack and exploit the Carolina defense is by stretching the field with the vertical passing game like Seattle, Indy, Atlanta, and New Orleans did. While Denver has the receiver’s to stretch an offense, they don’t have a qb capable of doing so consistently. The Carolina Db’s are excellent at getting in front of routs, especially the safety Coleman. Add in Norman’s ability to take one receiver out of the game, and the coverage abilities of the panther’s linebackers, this is a defense almost perfectly built to handle Denver’s offense.

        • Bryan

          Too bad the Carolina offense couldn’t handle the Broncos defense.

      • jdb1972

        And then either the LBs will get too deep with 3 WRs 30 yards downfield and Cam will break off 5-10 yards. Or Stew, Tolbert, Dickson, or Olsen will break out of max protect for a short pass with open field in front of them. Or a corner will bite on a Philly or Ginn double move and we’ll see the deep ball.

        Basically the same thing we’ve seen in every game where people claimed stopping the run, rushing 4, spying Cam, doubling Olsen, and covering Philly/Ginn/Funchess/Cotchery was the answer. Oh, is that all?

        • Autocephallus

          You’re so right. I mean, why even show up at all, Denver clearly has no chance. But if the seemingly impossible were to happen, what will the excuses be?

          • jdb1972

            Carolina beat themselves. It’s happened before. 2-3 bigger mistakes than the Denver O makes and they’ll lose.

            If both teams play at the same level of competence, though, (Carolina O + Carolina D) > (Denver 0 + Denver D).

          • Bryan

            I think it was the Broncos defense great than everything else.

          • jdb1972

            You’re wrong, but have a nice day.

          • bigpoppapump97

            Are you seriously still here? Did Arizona beat themselves? Judging from what I saw on Sunday looks like they did to me. How about Seattle? When you’re the team capitalizing on mistakes it’s great defense when you’re on the other end it’s we beat ourselves. You are fighting an unwinnable battle douche.

          • jdb1972

            Someone has trouble with numbers. Hint, hint: It’s you.

          • Dan Meakin

            Anything to get away from giving Denver credit. The Panthers didn’t turn up on the day.

        • Bryan

          LOL thats why we play the game. The Broncos defense showed why they are the best

          • jdb1972

            Helps when the other team gives up on everything that got them to where they are and decides to basically run the same offense New England did against y’all.

      • Ben M

        The statistical season math on Denver v Carolina indicates Denver will throw 2 picks and deliver one fumble. Carolina may have one turnover. Carolina generated more takeaways than any other team all year. Arizona was 2nd.

        Sure – 3 receivers double covered. I suppose Jonathan Stewart is going to lay down in the backfield and take a nap and Cam forgets how to gash the defense with 20-yard sprints.

        As Carolina fans, we’ve heard this all season long:
        1. Worst undefeated team./Worst 15-1 team.
        2. Play the weakest schedule.
        3. Will be exposed in the playoffs.
        4. Seattle will beat them now back to full strength.
        5. Arizona’s receivers will expose Carolina’s weak secondary.
        6. Cam Newton has the lowest QBR when pressured.
        7. Denver’s edge rushers will tame Cam.
        8. Peyton’s brain will confuse the Panthers’ pass coverage.
        9. Not to mention how many blah blah blah defenses will contain the Carolina offense.


        • Bryan

          Carolina was so overrated. Broncos kicked their ass.

          • Ben M

            At least it wasn’t 43-8. That would have been embarrassing.

        • Autocephallus

          “Carolina may have one turnover.”

          A bit off, there.

          “7. Denver’s edge rushers will tame Cam.”

          Yep, pretty much

          • Ben M

            Honest answer, Denver played an excellent game to a Carolina team that had gotten too cocky. Carolina had markedly more production but failed to convert that production into scores.

            It was close all game and Denver played tough. But Carolina could not find the answer to Von Miller. MVP well-deserved.

    • JudoPrince

      The Panthers have a much improved line compared to the disaster of last year, but the consistent clean pockets have more to do with the read option. Pass rushes have really been kept at bay because of Cam’s elite rushing abilities.

      • Allen

        That’s the thing though. they’ve devised an offense where you don’t have to sink half of the cap into the oline because all it really requires is great guard play. The option and the threat of the interior run negate a ton of pressure.

        • Bryan

          They couldn’t block the Broncos rush and the Broncos secondary made some big plays. Cam is so overrated.

    • Bryan

      Allen Carolina was so overrated. The Broncos defense showed why they were the best. An easy win.

  • anon76returns

    I guess I just don’t get how Carolina has the advantage when rushing the ball. Yes, I know they have a varied rushing attack, and yes I know that Cam is a very difficult problem for a defense to solve, running or passing.

    But Carolina’s OL did not get PFF’s highest grade for run blocking (they were 6th).
    Stewart was not PFF’s top rated RB (he was also 6th).
    By adjusted line yards, Carolina’s OL was the 12th best run blocking unit.
    By DVOA, Carolina was the 6th best rushing offense.
    By DVOA, Stewart was the 34th best RB.
    By DVOA, Newton was the 18th best rushing QB (though #1 by DYAR).
    By yards per carry, the Panthers were the 10th best rushing offense.

    This all points to a good, even a very good unit, but nothing suggests it was the best unit. The Broncos played 5 games (playoffs included) against teams that had a higher yards/carry. They played 6 games against QBs with better rushing DVOA. They played 11 games against RBs with better rushing DVOA. They played 5 games against teams with better rushing DVOA. They played 9 games against offensive lines with better adjusted line yards.

    In comparison, the Broncos defense was best in the league at limiting opponents’ yards per carry.
    By DVOA, they were the 4th best rushing defense (1st by simple VOA).
    They were 3rd in the league in least adjusted line yards allowed by the DL.
    And they were #1 for run blocking.

    If Denver’s run defense rates better in every single statistical category than Carolina’s rushing offense does in the complementary offensive category, how does Carolina get the edge? It seems that if any defense can stop the Carolina ground game, it’s Denver’s (although after the first play from scrimmage Seattle’s D did a pretty damned good job in the playoffs).

    • jdb1972

      Because games aren’t decided by DVOA, DYAR, QBR?

      Because this is the third consecutive game where people have given the Car O no chance against a top 5 D?

      Because in terms of matchups, this is actually am easier matchup for Carolina than the last 2? The Denver D is built to beat Brady, not the most innovative power run O in years.

      And that’s before we get to the fact that the Panther D and STs consistently set up short fields. Nearly 20% more takeaways than the #2 team in the NFL.

      Not to say it will be easy or that 2-3 errors by Carolina wouldn’t be enough to swing the game against them, but it’s clear who should have the nod here.

      • anon76returns

        The game will decide itself, without any particular concern with what fans say. I didn’t ask why the game should be decided a certain way, I asked a guy who’s job is literally to make predictions based off of looking at analytics why he was making a prediction that ran counter to those analytics.
        “People have given the Car O no chance”. Yes. Curse all those “people”. Because if there’s one thing that’s clear with 90% of money going into Vegas backing the Panthers, it’s that they’re criminally underrated by “people”.
        The Denver D is built to mimic the Seahawks D from 2013. Outside of Jamal Charles (who is not remotely a power runner), nobody has had much of an ability to run on the Broncos, and the Seattle D certainly bottled up the Panthers run game, even with the 59 yard run on the first snap of the game.
        Carolina’s special teams are pretty average. Their opponent has the 16th worst starting field position after KOs, and their punt unit is ranked 25th. They do have the 2nd best starting field position of any offense, but that is due almost entirely to turnovers. What happens when a team avoids careless play with the football, as the Broncos have largely done since Manning returned?

        • Ben M

          While Denver is rushing four and covering 7 on 3, Cam will be taking off up the middle for 20 yard gains.

          Denver hasn’t had to account for that all season. And no, Brock Osweiler playing scout-team Cam won’t equate.

          Teams haven’t figured this out for 17 games.

          Cam outweighs and out-sprints most every player on the Denver defense. Plus, when you run the stats, don’t look at the season flatly – Panthers have trended more points and less turnovers in the back half.

          • anon76returns

            Cam isn’t as new as everyone thinks. Daunte Culpepper came into the league bigger than Cam, faster than Cam, and with perhaps an event better deep ball than Cam. He was very successful in his first 5 seasons (not quite as good running stats as Cam, but better passing stats). Everybody thought he was an unstoppable force as well, until he wasn’t.
            Cam is a better QB now than he was in 2012, but he’s not any bigger or any stronger. On that day Stewart and Newton combined for about 3 yards per carry, with a long of 14 yards between them. The Broncos didn’t have any great problem tackling him then, and the defenders they have now are bigger, stronger, and better tacklers. Just like the Seahawks were able to limit Cam to 10 yards on 8 runs (excluding kneel downs) 3 weeks ago. He’s very good, but he’s not impossible to defend.

          • Ben M

            You should keep the context to Cam in 2015. Honestly. Cam in 2012 in a different offensive scheme is not Cam in 2015. Daunte Culpepper is irrelevant. He no longer plays. Your arguments are historical, not current.

            Of course he’s not impossible to defend, but he’s very hard to.

            I ran the stats 4 ways on 2015 Denver and Carolina (this year, imagine…)
            1. Full Season stats – 18 games
            2. Back half (each 8 games plus 2 playoffs), playoff run
            3. Playoff games only (2 each)
            4. All contests against playoff teams (Broncos 8, Panthers 6).

            Do you know what? Panthers are improving late while Broncos are flat to declining. Denver’s a great team, and can win. I might be crying in my beer Sunday night. Maybe.

            By average stats, Panthers win 29-22. But the Panthers play an opportunistic, upbeat, resilient game, and Peyton Manning gets emotionally discouraged often in big games. (SB48 – 43-8).

            Panthers 34, Broncos 16

            Math doesn’t always win, but its a good indicator.

          • bigpoppapump97

            Broncos 24, Panthers 10

        • jdb1972

          “The Denver D is built to mimic the Seahawks D from 2013.”

          And… there went any credibility you might have had by confusing a 3-4 D with a 4-3 one.

          In point of fact, the Denver D resembles… pretty much every other Wade Phillips D.

          • Autocephallus

            With way, way, way, way more talent…

          • jdb1972

            They’re very talented, true. Sounds strange to say it about a Super Bowl team, but Denver is probably a bunch of underachievers for the the level of talent they have on both sides of the ball.

            Of course, they’re not the first very talented D the Panthers have played. They’re also matched up against the top scoring team in the NFL.

          • anon76returns

            LOL! I’ll let you know when you’ve earned some credibility of your own!

            I didn’t say the Broncos D was employing Seattle’s scheme, I said they were modeling the defense on Seattle’s principles- strong press coverage out of the corners, hard-hitting safety play, excellent all-around LBs, stout interior D linemen, and a ferocious pass rush. They’re not going to run a cover three shell like Seattle, or present a 4-3 front like Seattle (though the “Leo” role in Seattle is more similar to a 3-4 rush OLB than it is to a traditional 4-3LB). But they will disrupt your receiver’s route running and timing to allow the pass rush to get home, and they will chase down your running play with excellent speed from the LBs, and their safeties will make you regret making it to the secondary.

      • Autocephallus

        “Because this is the third consecutive game where people have given the Car O no chance against a top 5 D?”

        Dude, everyone and their mother is picking Carolina to win. Quit crying.

        • jdb1972

          Someone isn’t paying attention. The talking heads have started their usual “Carolina’s going to lose” nonsense.

          Granted, this may be to just build up hype for a matchup that isn’t all that close on paper…

          • bigpoppapump97

            You are a king size moron my friend. You just said the Broncos were overachievers with more talent than they’re playing up to. Now they’re a mismatch on paper? Are the Panthers the reincarnation of the 85 Bears? Did I miss something?

            I’m tired of arguing with Panther fans and I don’t have time to tear apart all your nonsense. But suffice it to say when you’re talking about the Panthers being the underdog you have no clue what you’re talking about.

          • jdb1972

            Ah, I see your problem. Reading comprehension. Get some.

            Have a nice life after you do.

          • bigpoppapump97

            Have a lobotomy cuz it would be an improvement.

          • jdb1972

            You speak from experience, I take it.

  • Wackanhut

    Carolina the edge. . . rushing! Is that a pity gesture? This defense is going to be lights out in the game! Watch out.

  • AJ

    If Denver can contain the run game, their two keys on defense are keeping Cam in the pocket and not giving him Greg Olsen. Two separate jobs for two separate position groups. Make Cam have to beat you from the pocket throwing to his other guys.

    Maybe studying some concepts that the Ravens used defensively against the 49ers a few years ago could be helpful.

  • Dano

    Anon, the Cam led Panthers Passing offense thrives against elite pass rushing teams! Looking at the 5 Panther games against the elite pass rushing teams that you cited, the Panthers scored an average of 34 points and Cam threw 11 TDs and just 1 INT. Cam’s patience and confidence in the face of pressure is way under appreciated by those that have not watched him this year. The diverse and complex Panther running attack, which ranks #2 in the NFL, slows and freezes defenses. They are often caught on their heals reading and diagnosing. Panthers will dominate both lines of scrimmage with their bigger and more physical DL and OL. Manning will look like fellow statue style QB Palmer.
    Panthers by 3 TDs!!

    • Bryan

      Broncos by 2 tds lol

  • jdb1972

    Seems strange to have an article about “when Carolina has the ball” that talks more about Shaq Barrett (let alone Von Miller) than Jonathan Stewart.

    • Autocephallus

      Because “when Carolina has the ball” they will have to account for guys like Barrett and Miller. Problem?

      • jdb1972

        No moreso than accounting for guys like Watt, Irvin, Avril, Jordan, etc. The best interior line in the NFL plus max protect on the edges solves a lot of issues.

    • bigpoppapump97

      Jonathan Stewart didn’t all of a sudden morph into Earl Campbell, he is what he is, an average running back. Remember when Cam said his team is basically the same crew they’re just winning now. That’s what he was talking about.

      You haven’t seen us play i’m guessing but you’ll see 48 flash, he’d be a number 1 pass rusher on your team.

      • jdb1972

        At or near the top of the league in yards after contact. Power runner who can catch and is probably the best in pass protection in the NFL.

        Barrett’s at best the 4th best LB on his own team – making him the 7th best LB on the field Sunday. And the 2nd best Shaq to play LB Sunday.

        So, there’s that.

        BTW, Panthers don’t play 3-4, thanks.

        • bigpoppapump97

          Think about what you’re saying dummy. He’s the 4th best linebacker on our team has played limited snaps and he still has 5.5 sacks. Which if i’m not mistaken would be 2nd on your entire team. So yeah he’d be starting for you guys somewhere. Shaq Thompson, wouldn’t sniff the field on our defense. Reading comprehension and being smart, work on it dipshit.

          • jdb1972

            Yes, you’re mistaken. Among many, many other things.

          • bigpoppapump97

            Pwned, light work.

    • bigpoppapump97

      How did that big dick your ass we gave you feel?

      • jdb1972

        Putting your fantasies aside, I don’t recall seeing you on the field. Unless you were the horse’s ass mascot running around before the game…

        • bigpoppapump97

          This coming from the guy who sounded like the Panthers head cheerleader last week. You got your shit kicked, come back and take your beating don’t make excuses like your sore ass loser QB.

          • jdb1972

            The Panthers lost exactly how I said they would if they did: by beating themselves.

  • Kristian Carlson

    Xs and Os

    Panthers will probably use same formation concepts as last week. Shotgun, 12 personnel with TEs often standing.

    TEs can chip or not, either way Ware and Miller must navigate traffic and cannot just tee off on the tackles. Edges must also protect vs read option, DTs must maintain discipline vs power and read option.

    Broncos pass rush neutralized from quick pressure and the secs to pass Will be above regular season avg.

    Can the Bronco LBs and Safeties maintain coverage when Panthers go play action out of these type of concepts vs Olsen or Dickson will determine how well they stop the Panthers, as I expect the CBs to handle the Panthers Wrs well, and force Cam to scramble, which will lead to busted plays, throw a ways, Newton running more so than in regular season. Newton will have to be very accurate to his wrs, and I expect him to do so.

    As far as Broncos go, they can gash the Panthers or get nothing. The Panthers gamble on traditional running downs, and are susceptible to missing gap assignments. Or they will tackle Hillman for a loss on a stretch play, or gang tackle Anderson. That will put Manning under a ton of pressure to make throws into tight windows vs a ball hawking defense that led nfl in ints. Not a formula for success.

    Broncos win if they can force a couple turnovers via strip Cam, force ints with pressure in Cams face from Wolfe or Jackson, or hit Ginn hard on returns.

    Panthers win if they don’t have irresponsible turnovers, play disciplined, and effectively stop Manning from hitting a big play to Thomas or Sanders who are both way overdue for Manning to hit deep. Make Broncos have long drives, and Manning is trash in red zone when not facing Jamie Collins.


    Panthers 31
    Broncos 16

    • http://www.derekscruggs.com/ Derek

      Yes the Broncos can. Watch the Packers game for an example, and note that both teams had two weeks to prepare for that game. Compare it to the Packers’ offense the following week against Carolina

  • crosseyedlemon

    You mean there will actually be something to see other than a constant stream of corporate commercials?