#1. I have no doubt Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware will get to Cam Newton. But what happens when they get there? Newton ain’t Tom Brady. He’s more likely to throw Miller to the ground than be sacked by him.
#2. What happens if the Panthers offense struggles early? This is a team that hasn’t faced adversity a lot this season and certainly hasn’t faced a defense of this caliber. If Carolina doesn’t score on their first couple drives, do we see Cam Newton force things?
#3. One of the untold stories of the AFC title game was how many receivers Peyton Manning missed for big plays down the field. But the biggest stat of this game may be Manning’s interception total. Can he avoid the big mistake, especially in the middle of the field? If he does, the Broncos defense will keep the game close.
Carolina Panthers 24, Denver Broncos 20
NFL coaches all think what they do is special. They’re wrong. Football is not a complicated game and winning, by and large, still comes down to which team has the better players.
Greg Olsen is a great player. Anybody with eyes knew he was beginning the process of becoming a great player in Chicago. And trading him away because he didn’t fit the system of an offensive coordinator was asinine then and is even more asinine now. If a coach can’t maximize the ability of a great player then the coach isn’t worth keeping around.
You ESPECIALLY don’t trade players for coordinator fits because coordinators are always a good season away from leaving your organization. Players can only leave if you let them (or if they hate you).
Who didn’t look at the Panthers receiving corps at the start of the season, following the injury to Kelvin Benjamin, and expect their offense to struggle?
The answer is Panthers GM Dave Gettleman.
The best I’ve ever been taught the three-act structure of playwriting was by a a wonderful writer and teacher named Pat Cook at the BMI Musical Theatre Writing Workshop. Cook, recalling the lessons of a teacher from his own past, described it thus:
Act One: get the main character up a tree.
Act Two: throw rocks at him.
Act Three: if he comes down safely, comedy. If he falls to his death, tragedy.
At the risk of harping on an issue many readers of this site could care less about, this structure is being more or less abandoned by the modern dramatic writer. The three-act play is being replaced by the 65-minute “meditation” on a relevant theme. (How hard it is to be gay, violence in schools, sex scandals in politics!) Plays with beginnings, middles and ends – once referred to as “well-made plays” – are now considered old-fashioned.
John Fox is not the hot coordinator of the moment, the NFL’s equivalent of a meditation on a relevant theme. What has Adam Gase actually done? How much does Dan Quinn actually provide the ridiculously-talented Seahawks defense? Shhh! Who cares? These are the names of the moment and they excite owners and fans in the same manner any shiny toy in the window excites a child: they’re new!
Fox is not new. He is a veteran head coach, an established structure, an old-fashioned play. The Chicago Bears are his third act.
Doesn’t seem like any news will be breaking on the GM/head coach front over the next 48 hours but if it does I will be on top of it. In the meantime, as always, follow DBB on Twitter by CLICKING HERE.
Apologies for the technical difficulties this morning. Enjoy our new feature.
More Sondheim. It’s an addendum.
After the jump you can hear my spot on SportsTownChicago.com previewing Bears v. Panthers…