Derek Anderson should have started mid-way through the season. Cam Newton has only looked healthy in the last couple of games, and now he has been sidelined with an unfortunate car accident. Newton has looked hobbled all season long, which has resulted in limited rushing attempts. On top of that, the only viable receiver on the roster is rookie Kelvin Benjamin, who is having a good first year with roller coaster performances.
Sticking with the Panthers, they just don’t get things right offensively. Even before Jonathan Stewart took 20 carries for 155 yards and a score last week, he was outplaying DeAngelo Williams since day 1. Williams has run his legs into the ground. Stewart is a better runner, receiver, and pass blocker. It’s understandable to take the conservative approach with a player with multiple injuries in his past, but he’s been a consistent bright spot in a bad offense.
Lamar Miller should have been utilized as the workhorse back since Knowshon Moreno went down. Moreno was the better all-around back that couldn’t stay healthy, so I understand splitting the load in favor of Moreno early on. Miller became the only option worthy of snaps in the backfield, as Damian Williams and Daniel Thomas are questionable to even make a roster, in all honesty.
On top of that, Miami continues to spell Miller with mediocre backups, rather than play LaMichael James. They signed James this season to their practice squad after he was let go by San Francisco. James played for coach Chip Kelly at Oregon. Dolphins offensive coordinator, Bill Lazor, was Philadelphia’s quarterback coach last season. Whether the Dolphins are slow to realize talent, or too far in the situation to take a step back, they could be getting more production fro the backfield by giving Miller more touches and spelling him with James.
All interesting stuff, considering that rookie Jarvis Landry has become the go-to receiver ahead of Mike Wallace. He’s surpassed veterans Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson in snaps already, and deservedly so. I would love to see them use both Charles Clay and rookie Dion Sims more. These guys are similar, H-back type of players, listed at tight end. They can block and catch, with some shake to get yards after the catch. Playing one at a time is fine, and they’ve been using the starter consistently, but it would be interesting to see both on the field at the same time.
Why in the world is Riley Cooper still playing? He can block well for a receiver, but that’s about it. A player with little to offer on special teams and as an actual wide receiver, it was evident that the contract extension would backfire. Jordan Matthews should have started earlier in the season, as early as week 6 even. Yet, Cooper looks like he is throwing games away by stopping his routes and dropping passes. One thing is for sure, Mark Sanchez is playing better than you think. For one, a backup lineman is forced to start, Andrew Gardner has been getting eaten alive. Zach Ertz hasn’t been great either. More than that, Jeremy Maclin is having a career year and Matthews has had a good rookie season. Cooper is leaving his team out to dry, so I expect rookie Josh Huff to further phase the veteran out.
Some more corrections to an explosive offense that got corralled by Seattle last week. It baffles me why they committed to running east and west. That played into the strengths of the Legion of Boom. They should focus on some more north and south running, and they should definitely give Darren Sproles more than 5 touches. Also, it’s like they are completely against passing the ball to LeSean McCoy. They’re just doing some weird things, and I can’t help but to point at offensive coordinator, Pat Shurmur. He was an overhyped quarterbacks coach in his first stint with the Eagles, then showed his offensive dullness as the head coach for the Rams.
When will the Eagles play Brandon Graham full time at outside linebacker. He has clearly outplayed Trent Cole, but his limited snaps have inflated Cole’s stats. Cole is still an effective player, Graham is just better nowadays, a former first round pick. Cole should be moving around the defense, from outside linebacker to 3-4 defensive end, and why not a little inside linebacker with DeMeco Ryans out? Or, Connor Barwin has been stellar on the other side, why not slide him inside while letting Graham and Cole both play? All are better options than watching Casey Matthews, who entered the year as the 5th inside linebacker on the depth chart. He was actually moved to the outside and third in reserve, but injuries have forced the pedigreed player into action.