“Nothing could be finer than to play in Camolina”. So Cam Newton has risen from the ashes, discarded from the Foxborough area by football czar Bill Belichick, and finds himself back home, replacing another QB who appeared to have risen from the ashes, Sam Darnold. Darnold’s rise was a relatively short one though. It appeared early on that the change of scenery was all that was needed but like Icarus, Darnold fell to earth as a mere mortal and average QB at best. Cam has only played 1 game for the Panthers but his stat line looks great, passing for 197 yards with 3 TD’s, 2 passing and 1 rushing, along with 60 yards rushing. Still, this came in a loss to the WFT.
Dolphins fans have to remember the 2020 season opener with Cam Newton as QB for the New England Patriots. Cam ran the RPO to perfection and we had no answer that day. Cam threw for only 155 yards, no TD’s, but he ran for 75 yards and 2 TD’s that day. We were stymied by the RPO, as if we’ve never seen such wizardry before. We appeared to guess wrong each and every time Cam ran near his RB who was either going to take the handoff or flip from Newton. If Cam kept it we tackled the RB who didn’t have the ball, and vice versa. We looked awful on defense that day. We can’t do that again this week or that will make the 3 game winning streak we’ve managed moot.
I expect us to be much more disciplined on defense this time, and also much more aggressive. It’s on offense where we may have the most difficulty, the Panthers are playing very good defense. They’re allowing only 20 PPG, good for 6th in the NFL. Temple tough Haason Reddick leads the Panthers D with 10.5 sacks, 12 tackles for loss and 16 QB hits. He’s been a monster. Safety Jeremy Chinn is the leading tackler, not usually a great thing, but Chinn plays a lot like a LB.On offense the Panthers are 22nd, just 4 ticks higher than our Dolphins, who have moved up to 26th since we now score more than 18 PPG. A party is in order!
I really like the way the team played last week, we ran the ball more than we have in a long time. We ran the ball 33 times and held a 7 minute TOP advantage over the Jets. OK, so this was against the Jets, but I like the blueprint. I think if we come out throwing all the time like we have in previous games, that will play right into the Panthers hands. We need to control the LOS and keep them off balance, establish the run, or at least keep trying to do so. The Panthers have 30 sacks on the season and would gladly see us dropping back often to pad those numbers. We need to remain balanced. A win this week doesn’t put us in the playoff conversation, but a loss would immediately remove us from any possibility of making the playoffs. It’s a dream hanging by a thread, but it’s still hanging. Let’s hope we get the win and keep the thread hanging.