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Grill Bill: Pass rush problems? 

Website submission from Don in Greenville, S.C.: A lot of attention was paid to the defense not stopping the run last week, but should we be more concerned about how there was no pass rush?

According to the NFL’s official stat book, the Panthers put just two hits on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who according to Pro Football Focus was hurried six times. Obviously he wasn’t sacked, which is the number we judge most. But let’s not forget a pass rush works hand-in-hand with whatever’s happening in the secondary, and not everything shows up as a stat.

Take for example Calvin Ridley’s touchdown. When you watch it, notice how rookie corner Donte Jackson allowed Ridley to slant inside even though Jackson had no help there. Also notice how close KK Short came to getting to Ryan.

The point with noticing both of those is if Jackson would’ve taken away the inside, Ryan would have had to throw it away or Short would have had a sack. And that's just one example of what we can miss when we focus on only one piece of a unit.

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@nanceypants Why was McCaffery on the sideline the whole drive where Cam threw a pick that bounced off CJ’s hands? What about Peppers ineffectiveness so far?

They wanted to get McCaffrey a quick breather. Clearly it didn’t work out – surprisingly so considering Anderson, who’s never had more than three drops in a season, had two on one drive.

I’m not gonna be the one to start fretting about Peppers. His body of work clearly should buy him some patience, and with how limited he was this spring and summer after shoulder surgery, I’d consider these first few weeks his preseason.

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Website submission from Gene in Banner Elk, N.C.: I don't understand why we haven't been using C.J. more! He's a 1,000-yard back and only gets five carries a game. I understand CMac is awesome, but how about more two-back sets? Why do you think they aren't using him more? Saving him for later in the season?

Funny, I got a number of these this week: folks wondering why Anderson was in the game over McCaffrey and others asking why Anderson's not getting more touches.

As I’ve alluded to previously, I’m bullish on Anderson, who’s averaging 6.6 yards on just 10 carries while playing only 20 snaps through two weeks. But McCaffrey’s the starter, and they’re going to keep using him as such.

The two-back set is combo they’ll use, but likely sparingly for now. I dig it because it forces the defense to play more nickel which, in theory, should make it easier to run the ball.

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Website submission from Zac in Kernersville, NC: I don’t know man, I just... I just keep thinking that Jarius Wright should be the No. 1 receiver. He’s gotten separation, consistently caught passes (that one drop in Atlanta was Cam’s fault), and he’s outperformed the other receivers on the team. Can you talk some sense into me please?

I really like Wright and his role in the offense, but his role is always going to be limited. He’s the Jerricho Cotchery they didn’t have last year. That may not generate the most excitement, but it's really important.

Besides, this offense can work just fine without a No. 1 wideout, and there are very few of those in the league anyway.

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@johndelliott Can the Panthers effectively contain AJ Green when he lines up in the slot?

I think so. I also think they’d welcome him lining up in the slot which limits a star's ability to stretch a defense. At least it should.

The Ravens got into trouble last week because they stayed in man-to-man when Green was in the slot. The Panthers probably won’t do that. Instead, they’ll likely hand him off as he runs through their zone.

And now, the lightning round …

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@MightyHelios Injuries galore. Are we cursed?

No. You’re a football team that plays a brutal sport.

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@onesidedsquare Any update on Trai? I'm still hoping his concussion wasn't serious.

Considering he hasn’t practiced this week, it’s very likely he won’t play against the Bengals. And how long are we going to keep trying to put levels of seriousness on concussions?

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@AhnRee_ _Who starts if Searcy can't play on Sunday?

I’d imagine they’ll put Colin Jones out there first but Rashaan Gaulden will play plenty.

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@pantherBarstool Bill, this ones for you: Bacon or no bacon on a burger?

C’mon, man.

Next.

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@Pantherzfan4lif Any chance there could be a CART CHAT (?) segment with new Panthers President #tomglick coming up in the near future . . . Please :) :) ? ? ? @queensfirm @QC_FC #mls2clt_

Absolutely. I need to chat with him about the right color of blue in the English Premier League.

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@Grizz15E Why dont the Panthers ever generate any meaningful turnovers? The fumble v Dallas was on a game ending sack anyway and the INT vs AtL was essentially a punt. Been this way since 2016

So a game-ending sack fumble isn’t meaningful? That’s interesting.

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@austinrye _What’s your middle name

Hey there, Austin. Please click play:

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