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Greg Cosell: Panthers Tackles Will Have Hands Full With Aldon Smith

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(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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Greg Cosell, from NFL Films and ESPN’s NFL Matchups, stops by for his weekly NFL film breakdown with Mac and Jim.
On the Panthers run game: It’s a very multiple run game that features Cam as a significant part of it. There’s major option elements; there’s read option, triple option. Then you have the quarterback runs. You have quarterback power, quarterback draw and quarterback sweep. I think it will be a very multiple run game with a lot of misdirection elements to try to exploit the fast flow reaction movements of the 49ers inside linebackers, Navarro Bowman and Patrick Willis.
On Aldon Smith in the first matchup v. this one: When the Panthers won 10-9 in week 10, that was Aldon Smith’s first game back from his issues and he only played 10 snaps. Not only is ten a minimal number, he only played in the nickle. He’s going to play far more snaps and he’s a premier pass rusher. Both Panthers tackles at times have struggled in one-on-one pass protection.
On the difference between Thomas Davis/Luke Kuechly and Patrick Willis/Navarro Bowman: You’re splitting hairs. If you’re a young linebacker, this is the game you want to watch. They’re the two best pairs of nickel linebackers in the NFL. Thomas Davis is one of the most overlooked players in the league. Because both pairs are so good, these are two teams that almost always play nickel (5 DBs) and never dime (6 DBs). I don’t believe the Carolina Panthers played one snap with six defensive backs.
Greg also breaks down some areas the Panthers offense can attack, the growth of the Panthers defensive scheme, Steve Smith’s return, compares Cam Newton to Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers injuries in the first matchup, and also discusses the other playoff matchups.

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