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Morgan

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: December 20, 2011, 09:57:10 AM

Panthers fav by 7 points. Hard to believe we've fallen so far, so quickly.

Wouldn't have predicted Cam Newton dominating the Bucs as much as he did in our house earlier this season.

What's the player's mentality going into this?

: December 24, 2011, 05:01:35 PM morgan

Morgan

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#1 : December 20, 2011, 09:59:13 AM

Carolina Panthers' offense under Rivera: More vertical, fun and effective

A year ago the Panthers' offense was limping toward the finish line of one of the worst seasons in franchise history.

The anemic offense wasn't just bad; it was boring.


It's a different attitude this year around Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers have an innovative, top-five offense, a coach who's not afraid to let his offensive coordinator call trick plays and an enthusiasm stemming from a balanced attack in which everyone gets to touch the ball.

Even a fullback nicknamed "The Mauler."

A day after Richie Brockel scored on a 7-yard touchdown run on a fumblerooskie in a 28-13 win at Houston, the play continued to generate a lot of online interest. A video highlight of Brockel's touchdown on NFL.com had been viewed nearly 34,000 times as of Monday afternoon.

First-year coach Ron Rivera added to the buzz by revealing the Panthers were calling it "the Annexation of Puerto Rico," after a play from the 1994 pee wee football comedy, "Little Giants."

Rivera said the movie was not necessarily the inspiration for the call against the Texans, but there were similarities.

"Honestly, it's one of those plays that if the timing is right and you call it at the right time, it's about as good as it gets," Rivera said. "Just so you know, the unofficial name - I don't know if you guys have ever seen the 'Little Giants' - it's called the Annexation of Puerto Rico. I've seen the movie a hundred times with my kids."

Rivera said what made the play work was the set-up. Leading 14-0 late in the first half, the Panthers sent out a personnel group that included Brockel, running back DeAngelo Williams and receiver Steve Smith in the backfield.

On first down from the Texans' 11, Cam Newton threw a 4-yard pass on the right side to Brockel, who had one catch and no carries entering the game. Hurrying to the line for the next play, Newton took a quick snap from center Ryan Kalil, stuck the ball between the legs of Brockel, and spun right as though he still had the ball.

Brockel paused to let the defense follow Newton, then raced untouched around the left end for his first career touchdown. The trickery sent the stunned Texans into the locker room down 21-0 at halftime.

Meanwhile, the Panthers celebrated with Brockel, whom Newton dubbed "The Mauler" during training camp for his rugged running style.

"When we put it in, I never thought in a million years that that play was going to work, let alone get a touchdown," wideout Brandon LaFell said. "So we were pretty hyped about it."

It was the second trick play called by offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski in the past three games. In a 38-19 win at Tampa Bay on Dec. 4, Newton caught a 27-yard throwback pass from receiver Legedu Naanee to set up a touchdown.

More vertical, more versatile

The trick plays are representative of the fresh approach Rivera and Chudzinski have brought to the Panthers after nine years of John Fox and his conservative scheme. Fox built his offense around the running game: In 2008, Williams and Jonathan Stewart became the first backfield tandem in NFL history to run for 1,100 yards each.

But in a quarterback-driven division and league, the Panthers were looking for a more dynamic, downfield attack when they were searching for Fox's replacement. Rivera had a defensive background, but he had worked for Philadelphia's Andy Reid and San Diego's Norv Turner, two of the league's more creative offensive coaches.

"It's really just what I've seen, what I've been around. The things that we do fit what we have," Rivera said. "This was the package I was bringing. This is what I wanted. Chud fits exactly what we were looking for, and the offense he has put in is exactly what I was looking for."

Chudzinski was the Chargers' tight ends coach when Rivera was Turner's defensive coordinator. Chudzinski, the former Cleveland offensive coordinator, strives to get yards in big chunks in a scheme that features a vertical passing game.

With two games remaining, the Panthers (5-9) lead the NFL with 80 offensive plays of 20 yards or more - nearly double their total of 44 last year when they tied with Atlanta for last in the category.

The Panthers were last in the league in 2010 in total offense, passing and scoring. With Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen at quarterback, the Panthers managed just 16 offensive touchdowns.

Newton alone has 30 touchdowns - a rookie record.

"We were doing so bad last year, we wouldn't ever try anything new," LaFell said. "This year we're getting in the flow of things now. We're getting scores every now and then. So we've got an opportunity when we get leads to try new, different plays - trick plays."

The gadgets and gaudy numbers are nice, and Chudzinski's offense is drawing raves around the league. But Rivera wants the big-chunk plays to be accompanied by big wins, like Sunday's against playoff-bound Houston.

"It's not necessarily the reason we're here, to get everybody excited about (the offense), but to win football games," Rivera said. "That's probably the biggest thing. It goes back to what my philosophy is and what I think we can become."

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/12/19/2863038/panthers-offense-under-rivera.html#storylink=cpy

BucsnBolts

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#2 : December 20, 2011, 10:01:15 AM

Penn is already looking towards the off season to "fix" things. So don't expect a ton out of him except his weight.

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#3 : December 20, 2011, 10:03:12 AM

I expect more of the same...an all out pathetic effort


Morgan

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#4 : December 20, 2011, 10:06:02 AM








Bucs N Beers

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#5 : December 20, 2011, 10:44:18 AM

Cam already had a coming out party against us with 4 TD's. Consider this weekend the after party. He might just score 9 touchdowns.


sunrisejeff

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#6 : December 20, 2011, 10:50:14 AM

Although I don't think we win this game I do think it will be a little closer than last time.  However the T.O.P is going to heavily favor the Kitties imo and the game won't actually be as "close" as the final score will indicate.  Who knows though maybe Week 16 we will suddenly start to tackle, not commit stupid drive killing penalties and protect the football!  :P

Morgan

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#7 : December 20, 2011, 11:04:47 AM

Although I don't think we win this game I do think it will be a little closer than last time. 

Been reading these kinds of posts for 8 weeks. Fool me once....

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#8 : December 20, 2011, 11:08:30 AM

Although I don't think we win this game I do think it will be a little closer than last time. 

Been reading these kinds of posts for 8 weeks. Fool me once....

Don't get me wrong Morgan I do honestly and sadly expect us to get dominated but mainly by the rushing attack of the Panthers which will eat up a ton of clock therefore making the score look closer than it will be.  i'm honestly just ready for the playoffs so I can enjoy some football with no rooting interest.

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#9 : December 20, 2011, 11:28:11 AM

Almost everyone on this board predicted the Bucs to sweep the Panthers this year.   Now it looks like it will be just the opposite.


Morgan

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#10 : December 20, 2011, 12:07:29 PM

I expected Cam to be at wit's end this season - kind of like Freeman has been all season.

JavaRay

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#11 : December 20, 2011, 12:39:39 PM

I expected Cam to be at wit's end this season - kind of like Freeman has been all season.

Cam has been nothing short of amazing.   The Bucs have the worst starting QB in the NFC south.


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#12 : December 20, 2011, 12:43:05 PM

I expected Cam to be at wit's end this season - kind of like Freeman has been all season.

Cam has been nothing short of amazing.   The Bucs have the worst starting QB in the NFC south.
That's not really such a bad thing...once could argue that the NFC has 3 premier starting QB's

I am not ready do completely give up on Freeman yet...


JavaRay

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#13 : December 20, 2011, 12:56:16 PM

It's a bad thing when you consider that many people on here were saying there wasn't a single player in the entire league they would trade Freeman for....


Morgan

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#14 : December 20, 2011, 05:07:40 PM

I might have been one of them. Now I just say that I wouldn't trade Freeman for Tebow.....

No offense.
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