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this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; The Saints' offensive line is leery of Carolina's defensive front despite the Panthers' struggles to pressure the quarterback Friday, October 05, 2007 By Jimmy Smith On the surface, the timing doesn't seem to be that fortuitous, a struggling Saints offensive ...

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Old 10-06-2007, 02:16 AM   #1
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Cool Sack Wary

The Saints' offensive line is leery of Carolina's defensive front despite the Panthers' struggles to pressure the quarterback

Friday, October 05, 2007
By Jimmy Smith


On the surface, the timing doesn't seem to be that fortuitous, a struggling Saints offensive line facing a Carolina Panthers defensive front that features a pair of bookend Pro Bowl defensive ends.

Yet, Carolina right end Kris Jenkins, who has made more noise with his mouth this season than with his game, and left end Julius Peppers come into Sunday's NFC South matchup in the Superdome with one sack between them.

And Peppers, the Panthers' career leader in that category, isn't the one.

Peppers, who has 53.5 sacks in his five-year NFL career, is sack-less in four games and preparing to face a team against which he has had little success rushing the passer.

In 10 games against the Saints, Peppers has three sacks, only one last year going against Saints right tackle Jon Stinchcomb.

Yet, Stinchcomb takes no solace in numbers, laughing when asked if he'd rather that Peppers have a few sacks under his belt instead of coming into Sunday's game still wearing an 0-for-4 collar.

"I don't think it matters," Stinchcomb said. "Julius Peppers is a guy you always have to prepare for. I've got a great deal of respect for him. He comes to play. Obviously, he hasn't shown up on the stat reel, yet. But I watch film. The guy's still a play-maker. I've just got to prepare for him."

And how might Stinchcomb do that?

"Just like you do every week," Stinchcomb said. "You watch film, you work hard, and you try to work on your own technique and just get ready to play."

Peppers, 6 feet 7, 283 pounds, has 13 multiple-sack games since being drafted in the first round from North Carolina in 2002. He is one of eight players in league history -- since the sack became an official statistic in 1982 -- to have 10 in four of his first five seasons, a list that includes a trio of NFL Hall of Famers -- Reggie White, Richard Dent and Bruce Smith -- along with a likely future Canton-enshrinee, Dwight Freeney, whom the Saints faced this season.

Game-planning for a player such as Peppers is a necessity, Saints Coach Sean Payton said.

"I think you have to," Payton said. "He's rangy, he's very athletic, he's a guy that can disrupt your game plan if you're not careful. Having the opportunity to coach in the Pro Bowl, we had a chance to see these guys first-hand. And when you talk about Kris Jenkins, Peppers or (wide receiver) Steve Smith, those guys jump out at you.

"They're real good players for a reason. Peppers is someone who is difficult to pass block. He's someone who can chase plays down from the back side at the point of attack, and he's pretty sharp. He's someone that we have to account for, certainly."

So far this season, according to Stinchcomb and right guard Jahri Evans, Peppers has been fed a steady diet of multiple blockers, getting "chipped" by tight ends or running backs who lend support to their offensive linemen.

"They're doing a lot of different things," said Evans, who'll see Peppers if he tries to stunt and loop around nose tackle Maake Kemoeatu in the Panthers' 3-4 defensive front. "They're running a lot of tease where he's coming inside. I don't know why that is. Who knows? They might just be switching it up. You know he's trying to get (a sack) every game. We're going to try to keep him at zero."

Panthers Coach John Fox, a defensive coordinator before he became a head coach, preaches that sacks aren't the only measure of an end's effectiveness, although big numbers are glamorous.

"I want my guys to have sacks," Fox said, "but at the end of the day, that's not the defining statistic for a defensive lineman. It's not the only job description of a defensive end."

Stinchcomb agrees.

"He's getting after it like he always has," he said. "It's not like from a player's perspective he's dropped off. He just hasn't shown up in the stats, yet."

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Old 10-06-2007, 06:26 AM   #2
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Re: Sack Wary

The Saints' offensive line is leery of Carolina's defensive front despite the Panthers' struggles to pressure the quarterback

The title alone almost kept me from reading this. If we think this way we might as well stay home and not take the field. God I hate the media and the way they word things. Leery to a football player is the kiss of defeat. Yep I am going back on the "Media is not good for the fans" war path again. First Houma now NOLA. I am getting a hit list together now. How about if you see these guys at the game or at a bar you boo them or even better yet dump a beer on thier head.
The OL will come around. I have faith.

"We may have lost the game, but you'll be hurting tomorrow." Doug Atkins
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