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Panther's D, No Pushover...

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Panthers 'D' has regained its swagger, faces huge test Comments 0 | Recommend 0 NFL November 04, 2009 6:26 PM Steve Reed CHARLOTTE – Defensive coordinator Ron Meeks talked earlier this season about the need to develop a swagger on ...

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Old 11-04-2009, 10:26 PM   #1
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Panther's D, No Pushover...

Panthers 'D' has regained its swagger, faces huge test
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NFL
November 04, 2009 6:26 PM
Steve Reed
CHARLOTTE – Defensive coordinator Ron Meeks talked earlier this season about the need to develop a swagger on defense and to start forcing turnovers.

And Carolina’s steadily improving play on that side of the football since the bye week finally culminated in a six-turnover performance in a 34-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Clearly, the swagger was back.

But as well as Carolina played, they can’t afford a letdown this week against the league’s top-ranked offense in the New Orleans Saints.

When asked if this is a good time to find out just how good the Panthers are on defense, tackle Damione Lewis laughed and said, “Well, whether it is or isn't, it's going to happen anyway. The Saints are 7-0 and we're sitting here fighting at the bottom of the barrel trying to make a run for (the playoffs)."

The Saints enter the game as the league’s best offense.

They’re a putting up video game numbers, averaging 428.7 yards per game and 39 points per game.

Quarterback Drew Brees is having an MVP-type season with his 16 touchdown passes tied for most in the league. He’s already eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark in passing.

And he has help.

As impressive as the Saints have been throwing the ball, they’re also fourth in the league in rushing.

But the Saints strength is their passing game, which means something will have to give Sunday when they face a Carolina defense that ranks first in the league in pass defense, allowing just 160.6 yards per game.

“I think they do a great job of getting after the passer,” Brees said of the Panthers. “They’ve kind of historically been that type of team and I think they do a great job of taking the ball away. I think you see what they do defensively in their scheme with the addition of Ron Meeks as the coordinator and then what John Fox brings, you see him doing a lot of different stuff.

“I think they like to change it up quite a bit. They don’t like to give you the same looks over and over again. They constantly challenge you and try to give you different looks. They’ve got some pretty good pressure packages as well.”

Since the bye week, the Panthers have gone from 15th in total defense to 7th.

If you ask the players, almost to a man they point to the improved play of the defensive line led by NFC Defensive Player of the Week Julius Peppers.

Since the bye week, Peppers has 23 tackles, six sacks, eight quarterback pressures, two forced fumbles and an interception return for a touchdown. Others like Charles Johnson, Tyler Brayton and Everette Brown have begun to follow his lead and are finding ways to get pressure.

“Our defensive line is getting in there and creating sacks and making the quarterback hurry with his throws and his reads, and we’re getting interceptions on the back end,” said cornerback Richard Marshall.

Lewis attributes the defensive improvement to hard work and sticking with the plan.

“We’ve been getting opportunities for turnovers but the ball has been bouncing the other way,” Lewis said. “We finally had a big game Sunday, but the ball has been out before. We just finally got it on Sunday. But I think we’ve been playing lights out every week and challenging ourselves to playing the best game we can every week. Since the bye week, we’ve kind of got some guys healthy and we’ve put the missing pieces to the puzzle together.”

Coach John Fox attributes the improvement to the Panthers becoming more familiar with Meeks’ scheme.

“If you're not thinking, you play faster,” Fox said. “Early on we had a lot of new guys in there. We did have some injuries. I think that was as big as anything - different people learning the system. We've gotten some of those people back now and settled in a little bit as far as, hopefully, trying to keep the same starting lineup a little bit cohesive. I think we are playing better for it. I thought last week was a huge challenge, and I think this week is (bigger).”

And yet a big test looms.

Lewis knows the Saints can be frustrating to defend because of there fast-paced approach. After watching them on television Monday night against the Atlanta Falcons, he found himself in awe of their effectiveness.

“They’re like a machine,” he said. “It’s always getting up to the line of scrimmage quick, getting the play called and getting the ball snapped. It’s a quick process. It’s like 15 seconds and they’re in and out of the huddle ready to go. They are very efficient on offense.”

So how do the Panthers stop them?

Lewis said the key for the Panthers is to stay focused and not get frustrated.

“You can’t get flustered with the way he’s spitting the ball out,” Lewis said. “You have to stay after it. You constantly have to get pressure on them. Getting a hand in his face is just as good as getting a sack in a game like this.”

What's popular is not always right, and what's right is not always popular.....
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Old 11-04-2009, 11:52 PM   #2
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Re: Panther's D, No Pushover...

They definitely have some playmakers on defense and some budding young stars. Their defense and their run game are solid, but no more so than Atlanta. We are the better team by a good margin. It just depends on who shows up with the better effort Sunday.
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Old 11-05-2009, 12:15 AM   #3
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Re: Panther's D, No Pushover...

They hate the Saints and the Saints hate them. They would love to give the Saints there first loss.
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:40 AM   #4
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Re: Panther's D, No Pushover...

Yeah, I agree. And due to the fact that Delhomme never got his chance in New Orleans, he seems to relish in playing his best games against us. The main thing about the Panthers that we should take advantage of, is their suspect O line. Blitz, blitz, and blitz again. That should give us an advantage.

Oh yeah, he averages a 120 passer rating, when he plays us. Now tell me that he doesn't hold a grudge.
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Old 11-05-2009, 09:02 AM   #5
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Re: Panther's D, No Pushover...

There Defense will be another test for the Saints Offense. I hope its a great with with Saints winning 34 - 17
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Old 11-05-2009, 12:32 PM   #6
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Re: Panther's D, No Pushover...

They have to lose sometime to us. That time is very near.
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Old 11-05-2009, 04:58 PM   #7
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Re: Panther's D, No Pushover...

Short week for the team after a hard-fought and mistake-filled battle with the Birds...

The Saints have been exposed to an extent by both Miami and ATL and Carolina is a VERY confident team right now.

No surprises here. Just a knock down drag out game. This is what mid-season is all about!!
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:44 PM   #8
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Re: Panther's D, No Pushover...

freakin Julius Peppers.

Im almost as sick of him as I am of Steve Smith.

KICK THEIR ******!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 11-06-2009, 12:39 PM   #9
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Re: Panther's D, No Pushover...

Their defense is getting better after they started to gel. I hadn't watched them until last week and they looked pretty good. I'm not sure what their record is but I'm under the impression that they are on a roll... Nose to the grindstone boys.
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:00 PM   #10
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Re: Panther's D, No Pushover...

Peppers vs Bushrod.
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