Eagles’ Scouting Report Of the Panthers
You’ve probably heard Chip Kelly say it multiple times by now.
“Cam [Newton] last year was different,” he said. “Cam was coming off an ankle surgery and he wasn’t really running. They weren’t really running him that much. He’s playing different this year. I’ve said it before, I don’t think a lot of the things we did last year are really what we are going to be doing this year.”
But quarterback play isn’t the only reason the Panthers have taken the jump from last year’s losing record to this season’s undefeated start. We talked to several players and coaches this week to get a feel for not only Newton, but what you can expect from their other position groups as well.
Kelly on their rushing attack: “The challenge is they are going to try to pound you and they have got a back in Jonathan [Stewart] who a big, physical downhill running back. And then you have a quarterback — and it’s different than other zone-read-type teams you face where it’s a quick, agile quarterback that’s going to break outside — in Cam who can pound you, too, because he’s — unlike many quarterbacks — got to be the biggest quarterback in the league from that standpoint in terms of rushing.”
Bill Davis on when Newton’s runs are designed: “On first and second down they are. I think he makes more of his scrambles on third down.”
Beau Allen on the Panthers’ run game: “You can’t put them in one category; they like to do a little bit of everything. They do stretch, zone, power and counter. When you watch the tape, it seems like they do a different run every other play.”
Davis on tight end Greg Olsen: “He’s probably one of the best pass-receiving tight ends in the league, and he is a big target of theirs. He runs great routes; he’s a primary in a lot of their route patterns, and he’s playing at a high level. And [for] Cam, it is kind of his comfort zone getting it to [Olsen] and finding him. You throw it anywhere near him, he catches it.”
Davis on their offensive line: “There are only two guys from the offensive line that we faced last year. So they’ve got some new faces in there; they do a great job of protecting him. I think he has got a better feel of the protections.”
Kelly on defensive coordinator Sean McDermott: “They are very similar to what they have done in the past. You can see it in each [Panthers] game, whether it was the Houston game or the Saints game, if somebody beat them with something or hurt them with something, he comes back and makes an adjustment on that and I think that’s part of what makes them a really good defense.”
Pat Shurmur on how McDermott is different from the Giants’ defensive coordinator: “Some of the techniques of how they play up front, some of the coverage concepts are different. And again, you just have to follow the path of the guy we’re talking about. Sean kind of reconnected with [Panthers Head Coach] Ron Rivera, who was involved with the [Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach] Lovie Smith Tampa-two type of stuff and configuration, and so you see some of that.”
Kelly on linebacker Thomas Davis: “He’s a true three-down linebacker, he’s sideline-to-sideline, and [he’s] one of the fastest linebackers in the league. Now that you have [Luke] Kuechly back with him, that’s why I said that pair is the best pair we’ll face. They don’t come off the field and they shouldn’t come off the field. They can cover tight ends and they can cover running backs and then they can run sideline-to-sideline.”
Shurmur on the combination of Davis and Kuechly: “Kuechly and Davis, as a pair, they’re very instinctive; they diagnose very well, and they run extremely fast. They show up in concepts that, because they saw it, they get a jump on it. So, certainly, that’s where the defense is extremely talented at that linebacker level. They’ve got really good players up front and in the back end, but the highlight of their defense would be the linebackers, especially Luke.”
Matt Tobin on their defensive line: “They do a lot of edge pressure and d-line movement. They do slant and stunt a lot.”