Grill Bill: What does Davis' return mean for Thompson?


@TheReidWhat happens to Shaq Thompson this week with Thomas Davis back? Over/under 60% of the snaps_

With Davis out the past month, Thompson's numbers (22 tackles, sack) weren't gaudy. He also didn't didn't build up a library of memorable impact plays. But coaches – you know, the folks who see things us commoners don't – thought he was outstanding. So they'll likely be hesitant to take Thompson off the field much.

Sure, in previous seasons, they didn't want to pull Davis. But this week, at least, I think you'll see a pretty even split between the two. Plus, the Panthers can now start plugging Thompson in at big nickel. It's probably best they don't try that against Washington's slippery slot guy Jamison Crowder, though.


@jhitworth after a hot start to the season with 6 sacks.. we've had 3 over the last 4 games. G2X not showing up?

I feel like we've had this conversation a bunch of times over the past few years, yet the Panthers still always manage to finish near the league lead in sacks. But I get the worry, especially after barely getting a hand on Eli Manning, who's had lousy protection this season.

Perhaps this will help ease your concern: The Panthers believe Julius Peppers is now where he needs to be after they brought him along slowly during what was essentially his preseason. Also, Davis' return gives them another pass rushing option. He's one of the league's best 4-3 blitzing linebackers, totaling 17 sacks and adding 33 quarterback hits since 2013.

Clearly, defensive coordinator Eric Washington isn't blitzing as much as Steve Wilks did last season. According to Sportsradar (via @Pantherstatsguy), the Panthers averaged 25.5 blitzes per game in 2017, the league's second-highest total behind the Browns. Through four games this year, Carolina ranks 21st with 17.5 blitzes per game.

Washington will likely never blitz as much as Wilks. Few would. But I'm willing to have some patience and give the benefit of the doubt to the defensive-line-coach-turned-coordinator who's a huge reason why the Panthers have racked up more sacks than any other team since 2012.


Website submission from Mark in Winston-Salem, NC: DJ Moore hasn't been extremely impressive, especially considering the fact that Calvin Ridley has been amazing throughout his first couple of games. Why would we let the more NFL-ready prospect slip through our hands and into a divisional rivals hands? Was it a simple mistake or do you still believe in DJ Moore's long-term upside is better than Calvin Ridley's.

Knee-jerk much?

Sure, Ridley's start has been impressive. His line of 19 receptions, 302 yards and six touchdowns dwarfs Moore's 6/103/1. But then there are these details: Ridley's averaging 41.6 snaps per game and he's seen 26 targets, including five in the red zone. Moore's averaging 24.0 snaps, and he's been targeted only eight times, with none of those coming in the red zone.

Maybe Ridley will end up being the better player. Maybe not. Maybe they'll both end up being solid.

Or maybe we should give it more than a month before tossing out words like "mistake."


@cthomas4What do the coaches think Torrey brings to the team that justifies him playing so many snaps each week over younger more exciting options? Can't he be a good locker room guy/vet presence on the sideline and in meetings_

Questions like these obviously didn't just start this week, and the volume has increased after what Moore and Curtis Samuel did against the Giants.

Listen, I get it, you'd rather see more of Moore, who's played 96 offensive snaps compared to Smith's 199. And Samuel could be the vertical threat the Panthers were looking for when they traded for Smith this offseason. All I can tell you is, despite totaling just seven catches for 67 yards and a score through four games, it doesn't sound like there are plans to start cutting too far into Smith's snaps anytime soon.

"He's a threat, and people have to defend him. He's running great and he gets noticed out there," offensive coordinator Norv Turner said Thursday. "Go back and look at the (Giants) tape, third quarter he ran down the middle and beat everybody. Cam just didn't see him. Cam was looking outside, but it was going to be the easiest touchdown he's had. He's a threat."


Website submission from Andy in Irmo, SC: It seems like Ian Thomas caused both of Cam's interceptions against the Giants. On the first Thomas should have cut in front of the defender to catch the pass. On the second he stopped his route. Miscommunication or rookie mistakes?

You're dead-on about the first pick. Thomas should have run across the face of the free safety. On the second, he should have continued toward the sideline, which is where Newton was trying to lead him.

So yes, they were rookie mistakes, which they knew they'd get some of from a guy who played pretty much just one year of major college football. Happens, and with Greg Olsen now back in the mix, they can continue to develop Thomas at a more reasonable pace.


@1nfernOWEEHow many snaps should we see from Greg Olsen?_

We could be looking at a situation where Ron Rivera on Monday says, "We couldn't help ourselves and played Greg more than we wanted."

But I think they will at least try to be prudent with his snaps in this first game back and give him about 20 per half.

And now, the lightning round:


@vorbis do you think fans will hear from Tom Glick at some point, or is he going to be more of a "in the background" type president?

At some point, yes. Right now he's trying to get settled in, so he's doing a lot of his work behind the scenes. And there's a lot of work to be done.


Website submission from Kevin in Sumner, WA: Before the season I projected Duece Duece would have 2,100 all-purpose yards because of his ability coupled with Norv Turner's offensive style. All he needs is touches. Yes, I really made that bold prediction for the second-year Stanford back. Through four games he is off the pace by only 1.25 yards per game. What % chance do you give him of hitting that mark?



@ByyToro do you like regular chicken sandwiches or are you more of a spicy kinda guy?



@LWOSjwex Any idea where the Panthers May focus early on in 2019 draft? OL or DB would be my guess

C'mon, man. It's:



Website submission from Tim in Charlotte: After 36 consecutive FGs at home and a game-winning 63 yarder, isn't it about time we started calling him, Ga-YES?

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