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 Betreff des Beitrags: Cowboys vs. Panthers: Carolina has a variety of
BeitragVerfasst: 14 Nov 2018, 03:22 

Registriert: 12 Jul 2018, 00:27
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weapons to throw at Dallas Congratulations! We have made it through the long months without NFL football , and now we look forward to watching the Cowboys take the field this Sunday against a very formidable opponent.The Cowboys open the 2018 season against a playoff team in the Carolina Panthers, led by quarterback Cam Newton and a stingy defense that was just outside the top-10 in team defense in 2017. Needless to say, the silver and blue must be prepared for a battle if they expect to walk out of Bank of America Stadium with a victory to begin the season.Today, we will look at the offensive personnel on the Panthers roster, and who the Cowboys will be tasked with defending on Sunday afternoon.The QuarterbackAs with the majority of offenses on any level, the Panthers go as their quarterback goes. Cam Newton, the first overall selection of the 2011 NFL Draft, is a dual-threat signal-caller that has the ability to torment defenses with his cannon of an arm and his tree trunks for legs. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound quarterback has an MVP and a Super Bowl appearance to his name, proving that he is one of the more dangerous players across the league.For all of the talent Newton has, the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner has had his inconsistencies from game-to-game and season-to-season. While some of that can be attributed to poor play-calling or porous offensive line play, Newton struggles to hit the consistent passes and is far from the most accurate passer in the world. Newton presents a unique challenge for the Cowboys as the two squads clash in Charlotte on Sunday afternoon. Rod Marinelli is tasked with game-planning to take away the big play through the air while also finding a way to neutralize Newton’s legs. A season ago, the freakish specimen accounted for 3,302 yards and 22 touchdowns to 16 interceptions on a 59.1% completion percentage to go along with 754 yards and six scores on the ground.DeMarcus Lawrence is aware of the need to keep Newton in the pocket so that he can’t hurt the defense with his legs and athleticism.That is obviously a lot easier said than done, though. That said, the Cowboys would be wise to have a spy (Jaylon Smith, maybe?) to keep Netwon from scrambling around and potentially moving the chains with his feet. Saints writer Nick Underhill wrote an interesting piece on how New Orleans defended Newton in a late season match-up last year.Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard have a tough task on their hands in game-planning to stop one of the more unique talents across the league. You cannot just blindly blitz against Newton, rather collapsing the pocket and bringing in an extra defender will help neutralize much of Cam’s skill-set. It will be fascnating to see how the Cowboys defense performs.The WeaponsLed by Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers have a variety of weapons ready for the Cowboys defense right out of the gate in week one. The eighth overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft is a Swiss-army knife capable of making an impact as both a runner and as a receiver. McCaffrey totaled 1,306 yards and seven touchdowns from scrimmage on an average of 13 touches per game during his rookie campaign. This season, McCaffery could see as many as 25 touches per game, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner.Needless to say, the Cowboys must identify where 22 is at all times, as the Stanford product showcased a little bit of what he can last season en route to averaging nearly six yards per touch in 2017. With a heavier workload this season — especially without long-time back Jonathan Stewart on the roster — McCaffrey should be near the top of the Cowboys’ concerns in week one.Elsewhere, the Panthers have some intriguing options at receiver and at tight end that the Cowboys must be prepared for; however, the sudden loss of dynamic back/slot receiver Curtis Samuel is one less weapon for Newton and Turner to utilize.Even still, Carolina’s pass-catchers include the likes of 6-foot-4 Devin Funchess, veteran tight end Greg Olsen, and new additions in free agent acquisition Torrey Smith and electrifying first-round draft pick D.J. Moore. Funchess, the team’s leading receiver, hauled in 840 yards and eight scores a season ago. Olsen only played in seven games last season — 17 catches, 191 yards , one touchdown — due to a foot injury, but the 33-year old tight end has been a security blanket for Newton. The Cowboys must be aware of Olsen on third downs.Smith is a big play threat that has averaged over 16 yards per reception during his seven-season career. Last season, the Maryland product was on the opposite side of the field of Alshon Jeffery for the Eagles, where Smith grabbed 36 passes for 430 yards and a pair of scores. Don’t be surprised to see Newton attempt one or two deep shots to the veteran receiver on Sunday. Moore, another Maryland product, was the second wide receiver selected in the past NFL Draft. One of my favorite prospects in the class possesses nice size at 6-foot and 210-pounds to go with his 4.4 speed that makes him dangerous to find the end zone from anywhere on the field.Moore grabbed four passes for 75 yards in the Panthers’ preseason opener against the Bills in a win, but the first-rounder finished the next three games without recording a single catch. Are the Panthers hiding something as they gear up for the Cowboys, or is Moore struggling to adjust to the professional level? Norv Turner says Moore “will be a big part” of the offense.The Big UgliesThe Panthers aren’t exactly known for having an elite offensive line, but they did see their right tackle, Daryl Williams, reach second-team All-Pro status after a phenomenal season in 2017; however, Williams suffered a scary knee injury early in training camp. After initially expected to miss the first few games of the season, head coach Ron Rivera said on Friday that he is “building confidence” in his star tackle suiting up on Sunday.But how effective will he be in week one? Williams is not the only Carolina starter dealing with an injury as Sunday approaches. Starting left tackle Matt Kalil, who had an arthroscopic scope on his right knee during the preseason, was placed on injured reserve, meaning that he will miss at least the first eight games of the season. Amini Silatolu, the starter at left guard, is recovering from a torn meniscus and has been limited in practice — though, Rivera believes that he could play as well.As you can see, there is not a ton of depth along the Panthers’ front at the moment. When you add that to the fact that first team All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell departed in favor of a huge pay day with the Jaguars, DeMarcus Lawrence and company should be licking their chops. Pro Football Focus rated the Panthers offensive line as the 21st best in the NFL — and that was before the recent injuries.Getting to the quarterback and stopping the run are priorities number one against a team with such of a dynamic quarterback — especially with the uncertainty surrounding Carolina’s offensive line. Dallas’ front seven will have the opportunity to make the Panthers one-dimensional Stat to Know: 42.26% Third Down Percentage Carolina’s offense was among the best in converting third-down opportunities in 2017, as their 42.26% conversion percentage was good for seventh best in the NFL. If Dallas is going to have any chance to win this game, getting off of the field and giving the ball back into the hands of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott is crucial.Bottom Line:The Panthers have a plethora of weapons ready to unleash against the Cowboys, but the Dallas front seven has the potential to give the team a critical advantage that can take over a football game. While the Hot Boyz should eat plenty on Sunday, the linebackers and defensive backs will have a big say in whether or not the Cowboys will walk out with a ‘W’ on Sunday. The biggest stars to play for the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night won't be around for the season opener, and it won't be because they're backups about to get cut.Demetrius Harris caught an early touchdown pass for Kansas City, and Aaron Jones ran for 34 yards and a score for Green Bay, then the Chiefs rallied in a game of backups and also-rans for a 33-21 victory in the preseason finale for both teams.Harris, expected to back up Travis Kelce at tight end, is suspended for the season opener for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. And Jones, the Packers' backup running back, is out the first two games for violating the same policy during the offseason.They were two of a handful of recognizable names to even take the field at Arrowhead Stadium.Packers coach Mike McCarthy and Chiefs counterpart Andy Reid had seen enough from their starters in training camp and the preseason , so they turned the game over to a plethora of backups trying to make the team — or, at least latch onto the practice squad when rosters are trimmed this weekend."It was great to see these young guys in there, give them an opportunity to play," Reid said. "They made (general manager) Brett Veach's job hard these next couple of days."Rookie safety Armani Watts intercepted two passes , and Makinton Dorleant returned another pick for a touchdown, as the Chiefs' defense finally made some plays. Chad Henne, Matt McGloin and Chase Litton were all solid under center for Kansas City as Patrick Mahomes watched from the sideline, and undrafted free agent Byron Pringle had four catches for 122 yards before leaving with a hamstring injury.Their only real starter to play, Harrison Butker, was perfect on four field-goal attempts."We've got a lot of depth, especially at wide receiver, tight end and running back. Those guys are starters on other teams," Henne said, "and they showed it out there today."DeShone Kizer started for Green Bay and was 5 of 7 for 57 yards with a touchdown and a pick. The 2017 second-round draft choice of the Browns, Kizer is expected to back up Aaron Rodgers after the trade of erstwhile backup Brett Hundley to the Seahawks earlier this week."The quarterback focus was to get DeShone two series. Obviously he had the high throw on the first series," McCarthy said. "We definitely accomplished that and it'll be a good tape to evaluate."The Packers actually jumped to a 21-10 lead, but the Chiefs began to force turnovers against third-string quarterback Tim Boyle. McGloin and Litton were able to lead scoring drives, and Dorleant's pick-6 early in the fourth quarter put an exclamation mark on their comeback victory."It's a huge confidence boost," Watts said, "having a bunch of young guys making plays out there, our first year, getting out there and showing what we can do and contribute to this team."TRADE NEWSThe Chiefs agreed to trade OL Parker Ehinger to Dallas for CB Charvarius Ward, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Thursday night. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not expected to become official until Friday, a day before roster cuts.HOME COOKINGMcCarthy allowed most of his starters to remain in Green Bay rather than travel for a game in which they wouldn't play. That included Rodgers, who a day earlier signed a four-year, $134 million extension that could keep him with the team through the 2023 season.INJURIESAmong the Packers headed into the season with injury questions are LBs Oren Burks and WR Jake Kumerow, both of whom have shoulder injuries, and RB Devante Mays, who did not play against the Chiefs with a hamstring injury. Kansas City was without SS Eric Berry, who has missed most of camp with a heel injury and whose status for the opener remains unclear.NATIONAL ANTHEMNo demonstrations were evident during the national anthem.UP NEXTChiefs: visit AFC West-rival Chargers on Sept. 9.Packers: renew NFL's oldest rivalry by hosting Chicago.
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