The Carolina Panthers are clinging onto their playoff hopes after last week’s tough defeat against the New Orleans Saints, a close game that could’ve easily ended up with a Panther W if not for a rough performance from Kicker Joey Slye.
However, as Ron Rivera is keen to point out, our destiny remains in our own hands and this Sunday’s game against Washington is a great place to start the teams potential bounce back into form, here’s how they can help themselves back in the winning column.
1. Focus on Protecting Kyle Allen.
Carolina comes into this game with some serious health issues on their Offensive Line. Guard Greg van Roten has been placed on IR and officially ruled out for the rest of the season, whilst Tackle Greg Little is doubtful to play in this game after suffering an ankle injury.
This likely means we’ll be seeing Daryl Williams this week as he looks to improve upon what has been a very disappointing season so far to say the least as he heads into free agency this upcoming off season.
Offensive Co-ordinator Norv Turner should look to give Williams as much help as possible in order to keep Kyle Allen clean this Sunday… Look to see how he uses Greg Olsen and Christian McCaffrey in terms of helping protect the Quarterback.
2. Be Creative on Defense.
Washington had much to celebrate last week as Rookie QB Dwayne Haskins got the first win of his career vs the Detroit Lions, a win they’ll be hoping is the first of many after selecting him in the 1st Round of the NFL Draft back in April.
Reports though on Haskins are mixed, and as a young player he is naturally going to experience some growing pains as he navigates the league. The Panthers should look to get spicy on defense to keep the quarterback on his toes and expose his youth and lack of playing time thus far in his career.
After reports last week that Head Coach Ron Rivera is very much on the hot seat, he should see this game as an opportunity to make a big statement and show himself as one of the top defensive minds the league has to offer.
3. Get Clinical in the Red-Zone.
Many have blamed last week’s defeat on Joey Slye’s big missed field goal late in the game, however it could be argued that had the Panthers been able to get in the End Zone, it wouldn’t have come down to the Kicker having to make that late chip shot to put the team in the lead.
This isn’t the first time the offense has let the team down late in a game either – the game vs the Bucs at home and the road game vs the Packers both stand out as instances where we had a big chance to get a W but instead let it slip through our fingers.
If Kyle Allen wants to stake a serious claim to be a Starting QB going forward, he will have to make some big improvements in this particular area. Hopefully he’ll come out firing this week and look to put right some of the issues that have crept up in his game thus far.