Outsider’s View: Carolina Panthers – Week 14

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

We at TJB love advanced statistics and have long been fans of Football Outsiders.  Now that the season is underway, we’re going to take a look at the weekly opponents through the overall and unit rankings through the lens of Football Outsiders.  Let’s take a look at how the Panthers are stacking up.  

(As a heads up, negative percentages are good on defense, but bad on offense & specials)

NFL: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans SaintsPass Offense: 15.7% (9th)
Rush Offense: 7.8% (7th)
O-Line Ranking: Run 14th / Pass 25th

Analysis: This group is dynamic and driven by their skill players.  With players like Cam Newton, Steve Smith, DeAngelo Williams and Greg Olsen what their line play lacks is more than made up in talent at the skill spots.  This for the Jets is going to be a blessing and a curse.

With RB Jonathan Stewart likely out of the game and Williams and Tolbert likely to run the ball, the Jets should be able to corral that aspect by the Jets talent on the defensive line.  Though with a quarterback who is working within a system that seems to spread the ball well between Smith, Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn and Greg Olsen, the Jets are going to be forced to play “pick your poison” on the back end.

The Jets are going to need to have faith that maybe six (or maybe even five at times) will be enough up front and in order to supplement their secondary in an attempt to flood their coverages downfield to help slow down Cam Newton’s passing attack.  Assuming Cromartie can’t go?  Look for Ryan to find his most physical players left to double down on a numbers game in the secondary.

Pass Defense: -10.2% (6th)
Rush Defense: -23.4% (2nd)
D-Line Ranking: Run 7th / Pass 6th

Analysis:  If I’ve learned one things in years I’ve been doing these Outsider’s View posts it is that good balanced offensive or defensive units are the most dangerous units.  For instance, back in the mid-2000s the Vikings defensive line was one of the most dominant units the league had ever or might ever see at stopping the run.  The problem of course was that their secondary was so bad the defensive line’s strength was rendered useless.  As U.S. General George S. Patton once reportedly said “fixed fortifications are monuments to the stupidity of man.”

So too it is with offenses or defenses.  Without balance, overwhelming strength paired with weakness in either the run or pass will lead to the downfall of the whole.  Over the years, former GM Marty Hurney was acquiring pieces like Greg Hardy, Charles Johnson and Captain Munnerlyn .  One of the big reasons that many attribute the Panthers recent success is due to the play of the defense and specically the drafting of LB Luke Kuechly.  What Kuechly has turned out to be was the centerpiece of the defense in the now-fired Marty Hurney’s 2012 draft class.  Since then the team’s new GM has hit with Star Loutoulelei and safety free agents Quintin Mikell and Mike Mitchell, but on the whole all the pieces were finally coming into place when Hurney was shown the door after the Panthers 1-5 start in 2012.

Regardless, the Panthers defense has come together and will be a serious challenge for the Jets.  There won’t be much chance for the Jets to run the ball against such a stout unit, which will likely put the onus on Geno Smith.  While the Panthers defense has played well, there are pockets that can be exploited in the passing game.  While staying away from Luke Kuechly is just smart business, the Jets will have to get more production in the passing game from their running backs.  The Panthers are able to be beaten in the screen and short dump-off passing game to running backs — provided those throws go to the flat.

Also for Geno to be successful he will need to be able to trust his receivers to get open and throw on time in matchups against Captain Munnerlyn.  While Munnerlyn excels at tackling and stopping the run, he tends to have more trouble in coverage than Florence.  In the end, this is going to be a tall order for a quarterback who was successful against a much worse Raiders secondary just last week.  Even so, look to see if Smith can stay competitve in the face of coming adversity and a lot of reliance on his abilities.

Special Teams: 1.1% (12th)

Analysis: Graham Gano has had a solid season for the Panthers and won’t likely be an issue for the Panthers.  Where the Jets might be able to get the upper hand will be on returns, the Panthers have been average at best in the return game.




18 comments
djf1
djf1

Honestly, I think we're going to get killed. 

1969JAN12th
1969JAN12th

Brian, I heard some analysts recently who felt that the Jet D may be wearing down from being on the field so much. Perhaps that is why they may have struggled a little in the second half last week. 

Have they been on the field more then in previous years? more then other NFL teams ?...if so, is it a lot more or is it just a little more? Any opinion on this?

coryv
coryv

OT:  Stephen Hill just placed on IR


johnnyl65
johnnyl65

Same formula, throw short passes,run Ivory off tackle and when Geno gets an opening take off and run the threat of Geno running will open the rest of the offense, on defense, man coverage,bump and run at the line with Safety help over the top. Chill with the blitzing,keep contain and stay in your lanes.

a57se
a57se

This seems like one of those games where the Jets will keep it close for three quarters then not have enough gas in the tank to get over the hump in the fourth quarter......I hope I am wrong and the Jets D smothers the Panthers offense and Geno figures out how not to be late on his throws and we win!

johnnyl65
johnnyl65

@1969JAN12th I don't know that they're on the field more but I'm sure constantly defending short fields definitely has a negative affect.

coryv
coryv

@jetfuel I def think closer then 11 points!  That's for sure!

jma020
jma020

@a57se I think you're being overly optimistic.  The truth is the JEts don't relly have many of those type of games this season.  There is a concerning trend, when we play above average to very good defenses, we get blown out.  Probably happens again.  Titans 38-13, Steelers 19-6 (never had a real chance in that game), Cinci 49-9, Buffalo, Baltimore Miami all blow outs.  We are going to get killed as long as the Panthers do a decent job taking care of the ball.

frustjetfn
frustjetfn

@jetfuelGood info, but what I would like to know is what are the W-L records of the 10 other teams that had their D on the field more than the Jets. Since we believe the Jets have a good D under Rex and have a great DL, I think that would be some very interesting info.

jma020
jma020

@coryv @jetfuel The Jets probably get blown out.  They have a tendency to get blow out by above average defenses, let alone very good ones.  See:  Bills (when healthy), Pittsburgh, Cinci, Baltimore, Miami, Tennesse.... 

The above average teams that the Jets either beat or stay close are the type of teams that have dynamic offenses and defensive weaknesses.  Pats, Saints, Falcons... Carolina is a nightmare matchup, we are going to get killed.  Probably get beat by Cleveland too. Miami  home I give us a shot.  

ww85
ww85

@jma020 @a57se We play well against teams that don't stop the run well because running the ball is the only thing we are competent at. Otherwise, we tend to lose.

johnnyl65
johnnyl65

@jma020 @a57se Just checked N.O. defense is ranked better the Ten.,Miami,Buff.Pitt. .

So I think that blows that theory.

jma020
jma020

@jetfuel @jma020 @coryv That's kind of the point I was trying to make.  Yeah, physical teams blow us out and I expect the panthers to do the same, I don't see this being close.  Hope I'm wrong.

a57se
a57se

@ww85@jma020@a57se 

I get where you are coming from and I kind of said the same thing during the bye when  everyone was going bonkers about how easy our second half schedule was. At that point in time we had 5 games remaining against teams who had top ten run defenses. When you add in a buffalo team that had been improving in its' run defense since we beat them, our second half slate did not look as promising to me because we need to run the ball to win.