Carolina Panthers: New Season, Same Plays

Cheven BoddieContributor IMay 26, 2009

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 10:  DeAngelo Williams #34 of the Carolina Panthers runs the ball while Bryan Robinson #97 of the Arizona Cardinals looks on during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game on January 10, 2009 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The Panthers were one of the top rushing teams in the NFL last year, using just three formations to display the combination of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.


That much will be a constant.


If we’ve learned anything about Head Coach John Fox, we’ve learned that even to his detriment, he’s not a big fan of change.


Still, with regard to the ground game, it’s the one thing Fox should be stubborn about.

Williams and Stewart, also known as “Double Trouble,” rushed for 2,315 yards last year. They did so operating primarily out of I—, Pro—, and Split backs formations.  


The personnel on the offensive side of the ball have not changed, although there is concern in regards to the signal caller Jake Delhomme.


That concern isn’t coming from Fox. Quarterbacks must employ a short term memory  after a bad play or game. Fans, on the other hand, will have a hard time forgetting Delhomme has turned the ball over nine times in his last two playoff games.

After signing Delhomme to a new contract extension, expect Fox to ride with Delhomme as his quarterback all the way to the mountain top or over the cliff.


Defensively the Panthers will run the same base 4-3 formation, even with new coordinator Ron Meeks. With two of the fastest linebackers in the NFL, Thomas Davis and John Beason, the front four will need to keep pulling guards away from the duo so they can run free.


Don’t expect too many stunts defensively since 345 pound defensive tackle Maake Kemoeatu is better at eating space than he is moving around in it.


One change that will be interesting to watch for will be how the Panthers line up rookie defensive end Everett Brown. At Florida State, Brown made a living rushing the quarterback from the ghost position on the defensive line.  


He often lined up two to three yards outside of the offensive tackles' outside shoulder to give him a better pursuit angle at the quarterback.


You don’t see too many teams using this formation in the NFL.




Simple, it leaves the defense susceptible to draw plays. It would also leave the outside linebacker on an island verses the run.


Brown racked up 13.5 sacks lining up in the ghost position for the Seminoles.


Don’t rule out the possibility of seeing it on obvious passing downs if the Panthers are unable to generate pressure on the quarterback from their base formation.