Greg Cosell: Bell And Gross Struggled To Protect Against The Saints

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(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Executive Produce for ESPN’s NFL Matchup, Greg Cosell, joins the boys for his weekly film breakdown. After checking on the health of the city, Greg immediately starts breaking down the Panthers loss to the Saints.

On the Panthers pass protection:  Both tackles, Byron Bell and Jordan Gross, had poor games in one-on-one pass protection and that was a defining element of the game.

On the Panthers offense:  The panthers offense was not a whole lot different than it has been in every game. this is not a team driven by offense. When the defense gives up points then what the offense is, becomes magnified. This game was more a function of the Saints high-powered offense being able to put up 21 points in the first half. That was far more important. This was not that different a game from the offense, they’re not a high-powered, explosive offense.

On Quentin Mikell:  For the last six or seven weeks, in the Panthers nickel package, Mikell was out and Robert Lester was the safety out there with Mike Mitchell. This week, Lester did not see the field, they kept Mikell on the field. Maybe because he’s more experienced against a diverse Saints attack, but this was a change that was made. There were a number of times the Saints isolated Mikell in coverage, because he’s not a very good coverage player.

On the Saints offensive execution: Conceptually, they do a lot of things you have to defend and they did them very well in this game. They do what we call ‘three level stretches’ . The 15-yard Colston touchdown was classic Saints. Colston was the inside slot to the three receiver side, and when he’s in that position, particularly in the red zone, it’s an alert that the ball is going to be thrown to him down the seam. It was a great playcall. the route combination beat the coverage and Brees made an incredibly precise throw. It’s always easy in those situations to rip a defender, but that play was designed to attack three different defenders and it worked. Sometimes the offense calls a play and it’s perfectly executed. In the NFL there’s not a big difference between success and failure. The backside safety came over and probably missed the ball by a foot. That’s what happens when Drew Brees is on the game.  I thought the shifts and motions caused some problems for the Panthers. I thought they tried to react and adjust, instead of lining up and playing and they got caught a couple times.

Greg also takes a look at the Panthers opponent this week, the Jets, and looks ahead to the Saints return visit to Charlotte. He also weighs in on the Peyton in the cold notion and the Thursday night game between the Broncos and Chargers.

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