It happened again. Despite many of us in the media constantly calling for the Michigan Panthers to sign a kicker, Coach Jeff Fisher has elected not to and in doing the Panthers left four points on the scoreboard and effectively lost the game. Carrizosa who may be the scape goat of this game, has repeatedly failed in the kicking department. A gifted punter out of San Jose State, it does appear that the inability of the Fisher to properly manage his Special Teams unit has managed to lead to a huge loss with six weeks remaining in the season.
What The Panthers Got Right
The rushing attacked continued to yield amazing results, Reggie Corbin is turning into one of the more elite rushers of the USFL as for the second straight week, he went over 100 yards. The Panthers again rushed for as a team over 200 yards effectively making up for the lack of production in the air.
The Linebacker corps continues to step up as well. Frank Ginda led the team with nine tackles and a sack while late addition Alexander Vainkolo also stepped up with two tackles for loss. The secondary who I originally believed to be a weakness of the team, has stepped up in assisting the front seven, with their rushing defense. The “Captain” Sean Williams continues to make as he had a Forced Fumble and an Interception during critical points in the game. Williams’ turnovers both led to points for the Panthers in the second quarter.
What The Panthers Did Wrong.
The offensive passing attack is non-existent it appears. Whether it’s Patterson or Lynch under center the Panthers cannot consistently manage a solid pocket for either passer. In the previous weeks the Panthers were plagued by drops, from the WRs and TEs this week they only accounted for 7 receptions between the two position groups. Patterson has also plagued himself with “easy” interceptions throwing 3 this game. What pains fans the most, is that on many of his INT’s there is rushing room for him to earn a first down. Patterson strength is throwing on the run however, sometimes it’s a lot easier for him to sometimes tuck it and run to continue to move the sticks.
I’d like to see more TFLs and more pressure for our Defensive Line. Cavon Walker has been underwhelming to me while, Chase DeMoor has turned into a rotational Pass Rusher who is not providing much of a pass rush. The Stars are an extremely pass happy team and had several longer developing plays in Cookus had enough time to look to his secondary options. While the secondary did improve in some aspects of Pass Defense, there is still room to improve.
Special Teams continues to fail the Panthers as we mentioned before. Carrizosa is 1/4 on Field Goals 0/2 on Extra points. In Week 3 the Panthers had no kicking attempts against the Generals in a game the Panthers lost 10-6. Carrizosa has left 11 points on the field and there have been countless possessions in which Fisher has elected not to kick a field goal. each defeat the Panthers have suffered has been under five points, and with a sputtering Offense the Panthers cannot afford to give a way points. The Kicking game is an increasing concern moving forward in the season and coach fisher needs to sign an actual kicker in effort to save their season.
The 1-3 Panthers take on the 2-2 Bandits as they both begin out of division play. The Bandits and Jordan Ta’amu have seemed to also have a sputtering offense however, with Ta’amu at QB the Bandits are not one to take lightly. The Bandits boast a solid defensive front seven that is led by Travis Feeny who exploded for 9 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 TFLs. Moving forward, the Panthers have entered “playoff” mode as they currently are in 3rd place in their division.
With the Generals seemingly having control of the North it appears that the Bryan Scott-less Stars and the Panthers are primed to fight for the second playoff spot in the division.