@PanthersReddit Panther fans may be quick to blame Eric Washington for the recent defensive struggles. What does the #GrillBill eye test tell you is the biggest reason for the defensive decline?
It's silly to try to distill issues into only one reason, but fine, I'll play. It's not like I'm going out on a limb by questioning the pass rush.
When the rush started slowly in previous seasons, it always seemed to manage to come around eventually. The problem is it still hasn't this season. With only five games left, it's imperative the Panthers solve their pressure predicament.
Personnel-wise, there's not much they can do right now. Looking strictly at defensive end, Mario Addison has been solid, and while Julius Peppers hasn't put up big numbers, coaches are pleased with his effectiveness. I think what's really hurting is they can't find someone to consistently stand out from the group of Efe Obada, Marquis Haynes and Bryan Cox Jr.
I also think the Panthers are well aware they need to generate more pressure – even if it's through different disguises – which is why you saw them run about five plays with their linemen standing up against Seattle. It was a look they showed before their first sack, and it's something they may try to expand over the final month or so.
Website submission from Lamar in Matthews, NC: When the Seahawks completed several long pass plays downfield, where were the safeties? Seemed our corners were all by themselves.
None of the three critical completions of 35-plus yards were on the safeties. The corners were by themselves and all should've made the plays.
Let's take a look.
1) Third-and-12 from the SEA 33, 8:42 3rd quarter
Watch this a couple of times looking first at Corn Elder at the bottom of your screen. See how he kept his feet pedaling? Now re-watch paying attention to James Bradberry at the top. He explained afterward that he was sitting at the sticks because it was third down, but in that defensive look, he needed to keep pedaling and protect his entire area – which included the space behind him.
2) Fourth-and-3 from the CAR 35, 3:33 4th quarter
This was pretty good coverage by Elder. What got him was he lost the hands battle. He needed active hands to knock away David Moore's right arm. That push should've also alerted Elder the pass was coming.
3) Third-and-5 from the SEA 47, 1:07 4th quarter
Captain Munnerlyn just needed to keep running with his guy. Instead, Munnerlyn committed the cardinal sin of looking back at the quarterback right around the 43-yard line allowing Tyler Lockett to break free.
@JRojasIII Hey Bill. With Searcy back who do you think is getting less playing time? Reid or Adams?
Wouldn't assume either would lose snaps. I'd look at Da'Norris Searcy as insurance for now. If they need – or even just want him – in the next few weeks, they have until December 19 to activate.
Website submission from Aaron in Olean, NY: Have the Panthers considered reaching out to Safety Robert Lester? I know it's been a few years, but he seemed to tackle better and cover better than Eric Reid.
Man, of all the ridiculous things folks say to try to discredit Reid, this is a new one.
@peetree910 WHY WE NO PUT BALL IN ENDZONE?? But seriously, Panthers were super efficient in the red zone against the eagles and ravens. Was it only a matter of time before they came back down to earth?
Shoot, they were super efficient for two months, coming into Sunday ranked third in red zone TD percentage. Then they made some questionable decisions, had a questionable spot and threw a questionable pass.
Because they were so good previously – especially Cam Newton, who was the league's best red zone passer before throwing that bad interception – I'm willing to bet last week was an aberration. If it happens again in Tampa, then we can start wondering if something's now going on.
@imcrazy08 why arent we still utilizing Ian Thomas? #GrillBill
With so many others to feed on offense, the opportunity isn't there for Thomas.
I know, I know, many of you think it should just be a one-for-one swap with Chris Manhertz, but that's apples/oranges. Manhertz is a crucial blocking piece in both the run and pass game.
And now, the lightning round:
@jsetz _First line of business for the 1st round pick next year?
Seeing which pick they have? Setting the draft board? I mean, we haven't even hit scattershot mock draft season.
@facts01061668 Grill Bill? Brats or Sausages? Cheese or no Cheese on the burgers? Ketchup on Hot dogs? Chicken or chops?
3) And mustard
@Jdcostin910 How is our record on the road at the bucs in the Rivera/Cam Era?
5-2 (though Derek Anderson gets credit for the win at the start of the 2014 season).
@tombstonejosh1 so we are eagles fans this week right? Oh and Patriots?
Yes and yes.
@GambleLikeMe Saints or cowboys who should we pull for? #GrillBill #Tie
There are pros and cons from a Panthers perspective either way, but I'll make a rare prediction and say I think Dallas will pull off the upset.
@jcshearer13 Why haven't the NFL put cameras in the first down markers, like they did with pylon cams and such? Pretty sure we all feel like Cam got the first on 4th down on the first drive of the game, but they clearly didn't have the right angle to change the call on the field.
My guess is cost, but that's a fantastic idea.
@kiefw15 Is it too early to put up a Christmas tree?
It's still sliiightly early, but since we're now in December, you're clear.
@joeyellis Bill how do we go back in time and warn the 6-2 team about the 6-5 team? Delorean? Fly around the planet backwards? A phone booth? Where can we even FIND a phone booth!? Racking my brain here.