Thursday, September 18, 2014

The ugly Carolina Panthers

The shameful and disgraced Carolina Panthers ... ugh, an ugly organization in so many ways, and a blight upon the landscape, starting with their ugly uniforms ... but it looks like we have to talk about them.

For now, though, we'll talk about on-field football: The Panthers had a good defense last year, and over the first two games this year, they're looking pretty good again, even without Greg Hardy, their highest-paid defensive player, who will collect pay of about $777,000 to sit out this week, despite having been judged guilty of domestic violence. Watch the video at this link to learn more.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Over the first two games, the Carolina defense has surrendered just:
  • 10.5 points per game (vs. 26.5 by the Steelers' defense)
  • 86 rushing yards per game (vs. 174 by the Steelers' defense)
  • 207.5 passing yards per game (vs. 182 by the Steelers' defense)
  • 293.5 yards per game total (vs. 356 by the Steelers) 
  • 7 sacks (vs. 3 by the Steelers)
  • 6 takeaways (vs. 0 by the Steelers)
The driving wheel of Carolina's defense is inside linebacker Luke Kuechly, who was the ninth overall pick in the 2012 draft, out of Boston College. We grow weary of Mike Tomlin's overblown hyperbole when talking up the attributes of opposing players, but it's hard to overstate Kuechly's impact.

“There’s nothing that he can’t do,” Tomlin said of Kuechly. “He is good at blitzing. He is a sideline-to-sideline tackler. He has innate instincts. He can slip blocks. He can defeat blocks physically. He is great in the passing game."

It's true. Kuechly gets after it. At 6'3", 238 pounds, Kuechly followed up his Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year season in 2012 by winning AP Defensive Player of the Year last year. He had 156 tackles last year and intercepted four passes last season. Currently, he is tied for third in the league with 20 tackles.

Kuechly plays inside linebacker the way it should be played.

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