What The Patriots Have to
Do On Sunday
An Insiders perspective from Carolina.
By Brad Thomas, PantherNation.net
For the Patriots to defeat the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, they need to do the following:
1) Run left. Mike Rucker has not been the same player since 2003, when he totaled 12 sacks and 1 interception. In 2004, Rucker had only 3.5. Teams ran at will on the panthers to the left, right at Rucker, with great success. With Kris Jenkins out, the left side of the line becomes much weaker. The Panthers figure to start 2nd year player Jordan Carstens, (who made the team in 2004 as an undrafted rookie out of Iowa State) in Jenkins place. Without Jenkins blowing up that interior line, the Patriots will be able to pull their guards effectively and get their running game going.
2) Tight End, over the middle. For years now, the Panthers have struggled with covering the tight end. Its even easier now, as the Panthers have rookie SS Thomas Davis overseeing the coverage. How'd he do in the first game? Saints TE Ernie Conwell had 6 catches for 71 yards, averaging 11.8 yards per catch until he was knocked out of the game by Panthers safety Marlon McCree, who had entered the game in place of the struggling Davis. It should be a field day for the Patriots Tight Ends.
3) Attack Travelle Wharton. After an above average rookie season at left guard, the Panthers moved Travelle Wharton to left tackle and signed Mike Wahle to play left guard in his place. Wharton struggled at times against the Saints Charles Grant, twice being called for holding. The Silver lining, however, is that Wharton did not surrender a sack on Panthers QB Jake Delhomme. Richard Seymour and Willie McGinest should be too much for Wharton to handle, and the Patriots will use that to their advantage to fluster Delhomme into making mistakes.
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