Greg Cosell: Cam Gives Old School Offense ‘Dangerous, Spectacular Element’
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Greg Cosell, from NFL Films and Executive Producer of ESPN’s NFL Matchup, joins the boys in his weekly spot to preview the big Saints-Panthers rematch.
On the Saints being different at home and on the road: You can’t help but notice it with the Saints because its so drastic. It’s not just on offense. Even defensively they’ve lost four games, all four on the road, and they’ve given up 152 yards rushing on average in those four losses. I think that plays well for the Panthers.
On the Panthers offense: To me, in some ways, they’re a little old school in approach. They’re a power running team, their passing game is more designed and orchestrated than let’s just drop back and throw it. They’re not really aggressive with the passing game, but what Cam Newton gives you is his ability with read/option, designed quarterback runs, plays outside of structure, he always gives the offense a dangerous, spectacular element that can happen at any point in a given game. I think its the right approach given their personnel.
On the Panthers offensive line v. the Saints pass rush this week: Whenever I see road teams play in domes, noise always becomes a factor. When you rush the passer, the first guy off the ball wins. Robert Quinn is almost impossible to block in his building because of the noise factor, and that happened to the Panthers when they played the Saints two weeks ago. That’s one of the reasons why Gross and Bell struggled and that won’t happen in this matchup.
On the Panthers pressuring Drew Brees: You have to selectively blitz. There were a couple of plays where they got to Brees (in the first matchup) and you have to build on that. When you lose, you try to look for the positives and build on what you did well and how you can expand on it. They did some good things with pressure concepts against the Jets. The first Munnerlyn sack was a very well-designed blitz concept and you will see that against the Saints. I don’t think they’ll blitz at a high percentage, that’s not what they do, but they will selectively, particularly out of their nickel package.
On the Panthers secondary v. the Saints receivers: You have to do a couple of things. You have to have a feel for their route concepts based on alignment. I don’t think you can try to move around when they go into their shifts and motions. I thought they got a little caught up trying to keep up with all the Saints shifts and motions and that can cause problems.
Greg also weighs in on quarterbacks missing open receivers, the impact of weather, the Saints rookie left tackle, the Saints offense on the road, and Rob Ryan vs. Cam, the concept of balance and more.