this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Posted by Jimmy Smith, Times-Picayune October 02, 2007 Carolina Panthers at Saints, Sunday, noon NOT AGAIN Just three weeks after having to face Saints killer Joey Galloway of Tampa Bay, the embattled New Orleans secondary has the unenviable task of ...
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Saints scouting report: Carolina Panthers
Posted by Jimmy Smith, Times-Picayune
October 02, 2007
Carolina Panthers at Saints, Sunday, noon
Just three weeks after having to face Saints killer Joey Galloway of Tampa Bay, the embattled New Orleans secondary has the unenviable task of stopping an angry Steve Smith, every bit as big a nemesis as Galloway.
Smith's statistics the past five times the Carolina Panthers have played the Saints are as impressive as Galloway's outrageous numbers the past several years. In Smith's past five games against the Saints, he has caught 40 passes for 495 yards and five touchdowns. He also has rushed for a sixth touchdown.
Smith refused to speak to the news media after the Panthers' 20-7 loss Sunday to the NFC South-leading Buccaneers, but game reports had him screaming through communication devices as he spoke with Carolina coaches in the press box during the third quarter.
He caught five passes for 32 yards, but in the first 53 minutes, Smith was held to two catches for five yards.
The problem was backup quarterback David Carr, who couldn't seem to get the ball to Smith or anybody else.
Carr, playing for the injured Jake Delhomme, out with an elbow injury that reportedly could require surgery, was 19-of-41 for 155 yards. He was sacked three times and hurried often.
"We didn't do anything to stop (Smith)," said Tampa Bay cornerback Ronde Barber, who covered Smith all day Sunday. "He just wasn't getting his opportunities. They weren't giving him opportunities. I don't know the reasons for that. We had some things to deal with Steve Smith today, and to our benefit we didn't have to use them."
PANTHERS ON OFFENSE
There are major questions surrounding the health of Delhomme and the adequacy of Carr. Carr was sacked 249 times in his career with the Houston Texans, and apparently his understandable skittishness followed him to Carolina.
National media reports -- from a TV-type who is close to Carolina Coach John Fox from their days together with the New York Giants -- has Delhomme's chronically ailing elbow requiring surgery. Delhomme hurt the wing last season and again in the last game he played for the Panthers prior to Sunday's loss.
DeShaun Foster had a pair of good games running the ball last season in two wins against the Saints -- the Panthers were the only NFC South team to sweep New Orleans in 2006 -- and it's likely the Panthers will want to use his rushing ability to further soften a somewhat porous Saints defense.
Foster's 43-yard touchdown run at Carolina last season put the first game between the teams, a 21-18 Panthers win, out of reach in the fourth quarter.
The Saints haven't displayed much of a pass rush yet, so Carr, the likely starter, might not be that harried.
PANTHERS ON DEFENSE
Led by defensive end Julius Peppers, the Carolina defense can cause problems for a quarterback. In last year's second meeting, the Panthers sacked backup quarterback Jamie Martin five times.
In the first game, Drew Brees was sacked once and threw for 349 yards and one touchdown.
The Panthers held the Saints, who still had a healthy Deuce McAllister, to 63 rushing yards in that first meeting. In Sunday's loss to Tampa Bay, the Panthers allowed 189 rushing yards to the Buccaneers.
PANTHERS ON SPECIAL TEAMS
Carolina kicker John Kasay is one of the best in the business and has converted four of five field-goal attempts this season. Punter Jason Baker averages 45.4 yards per kick and has downed seven of his 21 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line.
Nick Goings, the Panthers' primary kick returner, averages 19.3 yards per return.
Panthers' kick coverage seems vulnerable: Opponents average 25.7 per kick return and 10.3 yards per punt return.
LAST TIME THEY MET
Carolina defeated the Saints 31-21 at the Superdome in the 2006 regular-season finale. The Saints rested most of their front-line players after clinching a first-round playoff bye the week before.
"This is our issue as a team: As a team collectively, we have no heart. We have no energy. We have no drive. Football is about pride and passion. I'm going to repeat that again. Football is about pride and passion. The pride and the passion that you have for this game makes you want to win." -- Three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kris Jenkins.
Saints scouting report: Carolina Panthers - New Orleans Saints Beat - Times-Picayune NFL - NOLA.com