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Grill Bill: Rushing to judgment?


**@AmTheBomb**What has changed from last years pass rush to this years pass rush?

Well, let's look at the basic stats – which never tell a full story, but they're what we'll use for this exercise.

Through nine games last year, the Panthers had 29 sacks and 60 QB hits. This year those numbers are 22 and 49.

So why the downturn?

My first inclination was to look at the blitz, which we know was a favorite tool of former defensive coordinator Steve Wilkes. Clearly, Eric Washington's group is more reliant on rushing just four, but the discrepancy between seasons isn't as big as I thought it would be.

According to Sportradar, Wilks' defense blitzed on 25.3 percent of snaps through nine games in 2017. Washington's blitz percentage stands at 20.3.

What I find this more interesting about the seven missing sacks from last year is this:

  • The D-line rotation of Peppers/Addison/Short/Lotulelei/Horton/Love had 22.0 sacks at this time last year.
  • This year's rotation of Peppers/Addison/Short/Poe/Horton/Love/Obada has 15.0.

Of course, many things go into a successful pass rush - including a secondary's ability to force the quarterback to hold the ball longer. But in simplest terms, I think the pass rush can improve if the line begins to win more one-on-one battles.

Which leads to …


**@MoReeceWilliams** Feels like KK and Poe have been quiet and Big Vern never developed. Does the team feel that DT has been a letdown?

Kawann Short's numbers aren't too far off last year when he went into game No. 10 with 30 tackles, 4.0 sacks and 15 QB hits. This year he's at 31/2.0/11.

And Dontari Poe was never going to be loud numbers-wise. That he doesn't have a sack yet is disappointing for a guy who's more of a vertical pass rusher than Star Lotulelei, but Poe has filled the space-eating role they wanted.

In my opinion, Butler is the key. He's getting one-on-one matchups but has just 15 tackles, no sacks and nine QB hits in 206 snaps. If he can be more effective, it'll be a huge help for Short and Kyle Love. But until the light stays on for Butler, the interior will fall short of being a dominant force.


**@JeddiDaddio** We replace 1000 yd rusher CJ with Journeyman RB Cadet. Seems there's more to this story. Thoughts on who/what/why we really made that move? Was CJ struggling with the offense, bad fit for skills or in locker room, Coaches just never had faith in him? Something is off here.

Sure, there could be more than meets the eye. But as surprising as this week's ending was, I think we may have overrated Anderson from the start (guilty).

Besides, Anderson did clear waivers and still hasn't signed elsewhere. I imagine he will eventually, but his strange, short stint with the Panthers won't have a huge effect on how the season ends.


**@UpchurchG**Do you believe Jarius Wright and Torrey Smith will get lost in the rotation with the emergence of Curtis Samuel and DJ?


Smith may see fewer snaps than he had been getting, but coaches still hope his vertical speed can help stretch the field. And no wideout on the roster knows Norv Turner's offense as well as Wright.

Samuel and Moore are the more exciting options to the fan base, but there's a multitude of reasons why veteran savvy is very much worth having on the field.


Website submission from Tim in Greenville, SC: Sooo when they gave Eric Reid a "Job" I've yet to see him do anything for the team, with the exception of an easy "pick" two weeks ago. My question is, " Does he even want to contribute or just want to collect a check?

Oh, so you haven't seen his physicality or vision or anticipation or open field tackling ability?

Doesn't sound like you're looking very hard.


**@sifire** Plans on extension on @E_Reid35 contract?

I think coaches would be all for having him around after this season. They love his game and football intelligence.

As far as the business part of the process, that's something we likely won't know more about until the offseason. Reid will probably want to see if the market is bigger than just one team.


**@benbyler** Can't wait to go 4-0 over these next 4 to set up a massive MNF game at BofA vs the saints. I truly believe we will make it happen. You agree?

The next month looks favorable with games against teams with a combined record of 14-23-1, but the Panthers need to play better on the road. And while next week's game is at home, the Seahawks are still scary.

Now ... the lightning round:


**@Jdcostin910** Who is your sleeper pro bowl player on the roster?

Mario Addison. But since he continues to fly under the radar, he may have to wait to make it as a replacement.


Website submission from Kennadi in Lancaster, PA: We've been hearing a lot about Matt Kalil's injury progress but what is going on with Daryl Williams? Is he out for the season?

Have answered this multiple times, but since the question keeps getting asked – yes, he's done for the year.


**@tushbeagle** Why does leveon bell have to be so stupid?

Let me forward you to Bob Labriola.


**@CLTSCGirl** When can we stop using "drip" and "sauce"?

Let me forward you to Cam Newton.


**@PetulantPanther** With the addition of Cadet, does he get a jersey over CAP on game day?

No. Kenjon Barner is more of a game day jersey threat, but I'd be surprised if Artis-Payne isn't active Sunday.


**@berg86** When will a boy be borne who can swim faster than a shark?

You sure know the way to someone's heart. I know this is an unpopular opinion, but the British version of "The Office" is >>> the U.S. version.

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