Home > Regular Season > The Panthers are facing a definite must-win this week

The Panthers are facing a definite must-win this week

I know it’s corny, and cliché, and any other negative adjective that you can think of, but this Sunday’s game against the defending NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals (wait, did I really just say that?) is a must-win game for the Panthers. If they want to have ANY chance of making the playoffs this season, they must walk out of Glendale with a victory.

And, like always, the Panthers’ hopes of victory will rest in the decrepit arm of Jake Delhomme. Panthers head coach John Fox has, for some unknown reason, named Delhomme the starter for this Sunday’s game with the Cardinals in favor of both A.J. Feeley and Matt Moore, much to the ire of Panthers fans.

Perhaps Fox is giving Delhomme one last chance to exorcise his demons, because it is against these same Cardinals that Delhomme began the downward spiral he is on. The only thing that remains to be seen is how much patience Fox will show if Delhomme continues to struggle. Will he continue his undying loyalty to Delhomme even if he has thrown several interceptions and put points on the board for the Cardinals, or will he actually make the right move and pull Delhomme to the bench if he isn’t getting the job done?

Or, will Delhomme pull himself out of this inexplicable funk he has been in since the end of last season and perform like an NFL quarterback is supposed to perform? It has been reported recently that the coaching staff has promised to stop tinkering with Delhomme’s throwing mechanics, and that they will allow him to play the game his way (the way he’s done it for 7 years) without emphasizing proper footwork, etc. to him from the sideline.

It is possible that Delhomme’s biggest problem has been the fact that the coaching staff (primarily QB coach Rip Scherer) has changed his way of thinking and made him too technical, causing him to be too aware of how he is throwing the ball, instead of where he is throwing it. (I still cannot fathom why they would do this with a 7-year veteran.)

A lot of people don’t realize that one of the biggest assets a player in any sport has is comfort. When a player (especially a quarterback) is uncomfortable on the field, poor play is almost always the end result. Perhaps Delhomme doesn’t have any real problems at all with his arm, but the over-coaching has made him uncomfortable and turned him into an over-thinker — causing him to try and make throws the right way, instead of just stepping up and slinging the ball downfield.

Regardless of the game’s final result, it should be interesting to see if Delhomme climbs out of his abyss or if he is still the same old crappy quarterback Panthers fans have grown used to seeing this season. But, if the Panthers want any chance at a playoff spot, he better figure out his problems quickly, or the Panthers will be playing the rest of the season for no reason other than obligation and to discover if any of their bench players are worth keeping on the roster for the long haul.

I really hope that Delhomme snaps out of it, but I’m holding my expectations in check until I see the product on the field. Because like I’ve always heard; if you have no expectations, you can’t be disappointed.

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Categories: Regular Season
  1. Lesters Legends
    31 October 2009 at 1:17 PM

    Pound the football with your two backs, give Smith some short routes to get him and Delhomme in rhythm and you should be in good shape. That's what I'd do.

  2. bwsmith25
    31 October 2009 at 3:00 PM

    I think that's what everyone would do – but for some reason the OC can't figure out that's the way to win. Instead he wants to throw 40+ times a game.

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