Carolina, there were some question marks around these jungle cats coming into the season. While certainly no one could deny that Carolina has a very talented and skilled team, there consistent lack of playoff success since their championship run has left fans frustrated. This frustrated isn't unwarranted, given the fact that Panthers boast one of the highest overall ratings in the league, and are simply stacked from offense to defense.
We reached out to the M. Muhammad, head coach of the Panthers, who was quoting saying, "You know we're in a great league, there's 32 great teams and just winning a very competitive division is an accomplishment." When we stated that he's in one of the statistically weakest divisions he started stammering about his previous championship. When asked what tools he feels the team needs to add in order to break over the hump and make it back to the big game, he was quoted saying, "We have the tools we need. We have very skilled veterans who have been there before, we just need to focus and hope the cards fall our way in this postseason."
Panthers GM Alexg took too long to answer my message so he's not getting an interview. However I was able to catch up with aging quarterback Derek Carr, who stated I had a chat with in regards to expectations for this year and potential retirement. "Retirement? Cmon man I'm in the prime of my career! You're insulting me haha [laughs]." When asked about expectations for the year a look of determination came upon him,
"This is our year, I can feel it. We're the best team in the league and there's no doubt about it. We just have to go out there and execute, that's all it takes."
Best of luck to the powerhouse panthers in the rest of their season.
Tampa Bay Buccs
The Buccaneers have gotten off to a rough start in the 2020 season. Starting 3-6, seemingly unable to get a streak going. The Buccs have been offensively hurt by injuries to their top running backs, and are suffering from a lack of talent else where. Their offensive line and quarterback are both liabilities in this dog eat dog league. Despite that their offense has been stumbling to an average placement, while their defense is the one bringing them down. Despite having Pro Bowler Jalen Ramsey, they simply can't keep the air attack from cutting their defense. Perhaps this is a scheme issue? They're currently last in passing yards given up and 28th in the league in points given up.
We tried to reach out to the Buccaneers coach in order to figure out how he felt about this season, however he declined to comment. We did manage to connect with LobCityBitch, the Bucc's GM. We asked him about his defense's recent performances, and he stated,
"As a team we're 2nd for sacks and 1st for forced fumbles. Interceptions are good to at 14[fourteen]. I don't feel like there's any glaring weaknesses on defense I believe I'm just giving up big plays maybe be more conservative on defensive play calling."
This is something I can certainly agree with. While the Buccaneers are getting the turnovers and sacks, they're simply not able to keep their oponents from scoring on them. If they can get a more conservative scheme, perhaps they'd be able to sacrifice some turnovers for some 3rd down defense.
Another potential issue of contention is with the most important position, the quarterback. Currently the Buccs are running out Miles Hape. A 25 year old 77 overall quarterback with 74 speed. When asked about the possibility of replacing him this offseason we got told off for even insinuating it, "I like happ I wouldn't replace him unless if I can get a deved qb who's complete." In case you're wondering, he indeed did mispell his own quarterback's name. Let's see if this decision to stick with Hape will work or if it'll fall flat.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints recently changed both their GM and their coaching staff and are adjusting to the changes. They were a wild card coming into the year, with power rankings placing them as high as top 5 while others were putting them in the bottom 5. Overall though, a couple of unfortunate plays combined with injuries to both their first and second string quarterback have made it very unlikely that the Saints make the playoffs this year. Turnovers seem to be the thing that kills this team over and over as quarterback Will Prude has racked up 19 interceptions throughout this season. Their defense, while below average. Is 20th in defensive yards given, however last place in points given up due to the large amount of turnovers.
We reached out to Chris Dale, coach of Saints for comment about these turnovers, "Prude is an unexperienced quarterback and that's what we're seeing out there. He's got great arm strength and his acuracy is respectable, however he's still learning when to hold it and when to throw it. Just give him time."
Despite Dale saying this, more could be going on behind the scenes. There have been reported of Saints GM, Mr. Saints putting a heavy focus on scouting first round quarterbacks in this years draft. We asked Mr. Saints if these reports were true and he responded, "Of course we're scouting quarterbacks. It's our job to scout out college players. We also scouted out wide receivers and you guys aren't reporting that."
Funnily enough wide receievers are one of the few things that Saints may not have to scout. Through a combination of pro bowler Kevin Rudolph and rookie of the year candidate Nigel Green, the Saint's passing attack is the least of their worries. Nigel Green, despite dealing with one of the worst scoring temas in the NFL has amassed a league 2nd 9 receiving touchdowns. Not bad for a rook.
While the Saints season seems to be over soon, we asked veteran Vic-Beasley about his thoughts on this season. "Every year we come in here looking for a rang [ring] mane [man]. It just ****ing sucks because we're out here working our *ss off day in day out and we can't seem to get any where. Despite that we ain't about to give up, we ain't eliminated yet so we finna [going to] give our all day in day out until we're done in the dirt. Even then I know imma and I know my boys will be working hard for next year. I want another rang [ring] before my seasons over and imma do whatever it takes to get it."
The Falcons have also recently undergone a department change. As they've received a new GM and a new head coach. Plenty of turmoil in this NFC South division. The Falcons, like the Buccaneers are going to be focusing on rebuilding. They've gone 3-5 since their front office overhaul, a certainly respectable score for such a rough time. The Falcons had an early draft pick last year and they used it well, taking the projected first overall pick, LT Alex Urrutia. Despite being such a highly touted pick Urrutia has shown, while great initial skill, a lack of projection. Experts are saying that he may get to 90 overall at a max unfortunately. Drafting offensive line certainly wasn't a bad decision, as Urrutia is already the keystone of their men in the trenches.
This Falcons squad has plenty of potential. While they're lacking in current skill they've got the tools to become great. Quarterback Duncan Womack has been projected to become an elite level quarterback, and some are saying that he's already one of the best in the league. Talent wise they've got a very high potential offense, however that hasn't translated into their gameplay; the falcons are posting one of the worst offensive statlines in the game. Averaging 21 points per game (28th in the NFL) despite having solid yard numbers. This can be attributed to the massive amount of turnovers from Duncan. Throwing 20 interceptions on the year, including a 6 interception game against the powerhouse defense of the Vikings.
This Falcons defense however is doing ok for themselves. Despite being below average when it comes to talent, they've manage to pump out middle of the league numbers in spite of themselves. This defense has no major holes, although they have no major superstars either. Overall the Falcons are a team that you can expect to be in the playoff race next year, although they certainly won't be favorites to win it all. However seeing the recent success of this new administration anything is possible!