Playing a new kind of Panthers

Posted by Darren Urban on September 7, 2011 – 9:45 am

The Cardinals have made games against Carolina a habit over the past few years. In coach Ken Whisenhunt’s four previous seasons in Arizona, the Cards have faced the Panthers five times, with three of them having memorable side themes. There was the Panthers’ 25-10 win in Arizona in 2007, a game in which the Cards looked to have a massive advantage since Vinnie Testaverde was quarterbacking Carolina with only three days of practice — only to see Kurt Warner’s elbow get mangled by Julius Peppers early in the game, forcing Tim Rattay to play Rattay also had only three days of practice.

In 2008, the Cards had a close 27-23 loss in Carolina early in the season, a missed opportunity that only served to help with a playoff rematch later that year — the 33-13 Cards’ thrashing in Carolina where Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme had six turnovers and had his career derailed in one signature night.

In 2009, the Cards lost, 34-21, at home when Warner had one of his once-in-a-while meltdown games in which he threw five interceptions. Then came last years’ disappointment, a 19-12 loss in Carolina when the Panthers were headed to the worst record in football.

(It’s odd the Cards keep drawing the Panthers yearly, since it is certainly not automatic.)

This year, though, is different. Every meeting previous Carolina had John Fox as head coach. Now the Panthers finally have made a change, with Ron Rivera as boss (and rookie quarterback Cam Newton as the unquestioned starter). The first game always is a challenge anyway, since teams don’t show as much in the preseason. Doing it now, with a new coaching staff, makes it harder.

“We are watching a lot of San Diego stuff from last year,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said, noting Rivera was the coordinator of the Chargers’ No. 1 defense last season. “Logic will say he will run some of the things he did last year.”

(On the flip side, Newton said the Panthers are watching film of the Steelers to get a sense of what new Cards DC Ray Horton will do — and the Panthers benefit because they just played the Steelers in a preseason game, Newton added.)

Whisenhunt said the Cards just have to be flexible as the game goes on to account for the “new” Panthers.

“This first game is always a little bit different, and probably not game planning in the preseason will help us from the standpoint of having to adjust and being ready to adjust,” Whisenhunt said. “We talked about that during the course of preparing for opponents during the preseason. You’re going to get to go against a team you don’t know exactly what they’re going to do. You don’t know if what they’ve shown in preseason is what they’re going to show in the regular season, but that’s the way it can be every Sunday in the NFL. Making adjustments is going to be key to us having success Sunday.”

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25 Responses to “Playing a new kind of Panthers”

  1. By Fred on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    do you think they will have a spy on cam and who might that spy be ?

  2. By Darren Urban on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    Fred —

    RE: Spy on Newton

    No idea on either front.

  3. By MIKE G on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Nice Cardinal Underground with Damien Anderson. We need to beat this team at home(as you noted above they have beaten us in the past at home seemingly when we had the advantage)– Important to get off to a good start and get a home win which makes the Washington trip a little more comfortable in week 2. For some reason –I think Dockett will have a big game and I hope we get 3 turnovers. Could be a game of adjustments in that both D coaches have no film to bank on from last year. I do think we will get a big dose of running from their 2 backs. Hey Darren–do you like our new punter??? or did you think we should have kept Graham??? Both seem to have different strengths!!

  4. By Darren Urban on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    Mike G —

    RE: Punter

    I think he’s a punter. We will see what happens when the games start.

  5. By Rich on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    predication – Cards absolutely “blow out” the Panthers.

  6. By Rodgerscromartie17 on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    Patrick Peterson already knows how to ruin cams day, thats good

  7. By DontTakeLoses on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    Spy? Seems like Ray may just blitz Cam to oblivion. I’d look for us to come on almost every down…

  8. By Phoenixraven1 on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    Frickin so excited for Sunday!

  9. By jdcrow59 on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    If a team led by a rookie QB & a rookie head coach beat us at home, it’s going to be a very long season.

  10. By joelz on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    not holding breath this season, ill expect alot out of next season, but lets be “frank” this is a young fresh new team that needs wins and losses to grow and coming out saying its the year of victory is nieve to the teams out there that have been working hard for severa YEARS on their team. #1 cards fan but last year woke me up, and im being cautiouse not stressing this season that much this year. Div title is do-able but thats if 8 or 9 wins can get it.

  11. By nodavis2000 on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    Blitizing isn’t always the answer though. If they run a lot, blitzing will open up holes in our D that may have stopped the run.

    I think we have a GREAT chance in beating Carolina this weekend. GO CARDS!!!

  12. By georgiebird on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply


    @JD Crow59

    Your comment says it all- all the excuses in the world are not going to change a bad outcome in game #1. It will truly be a long, long year.

    This is such a big game for the Cards. The pressure in game#1 is on the Cardinals-100% and the pressure on the Panthers-0%. Hope this doesn’t lead to all the drops and penalties when the pressure is high.
    In the same sense, a win in game #1 with all the pressure could do wonders for the Cardinals’ season.

  13. By Darren Urban on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    Georgie/JD Crow59 —

    RE: Opening

    2009 opener. First game after the Super Bowl. Return everyone. Cards lose to Niners, at home, scoring just 16 points. The sky was falling.

    Cards end up with a 10-6 record.

    Obviously they should win and I’m not going to say it’s a good loss if they did lose. But to flush the season after one game — ridiculous.

  14. By georgiebird on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    Losing to the 49ers in 2009 was not the same. The 49ers were picked by some to go to the SB in 2009. Plus it was a division game against a team that has played us well.
    This Panther team with a rookie QB and rookie coach playing on the road is not the same.
    I don’t want to see the Cardinals lose-BUT if they do lose at home, the Cards will be rated #32 in the power ratings-And that’s a big hole to climb out of.

  15. By Darren Urban on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    Georgie —

    RE: Power rankings

    NFL rankings? Really? You are worried about that?

  16. By Scott H on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    It may just be one game and the first game of the season, but let’s be real – it’s a game against a team that is expected to be bad this year, it’s against a team starting a rookie QB who will be playing his first game in the NFL, AND it’s a road game for them!!! If the Cardinals cannot win this game against this team, then it will be seriously deflating. For me, that is. And like some others have said, I’m taking nothing for granted here. I thought there was NO WAY the Cardinals could lose to Carolina last year and, well, damn if they didn’t find a way to do it. This ABSOLUTELY needs to be a win for this team because if they can find a way to lose this one…then they can find a way to lose any other game on the schedule.

    Very excited to see how Kolb, Beanie, and Andre Roberts look!

  17. By Scott H on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    Still trying to decide if I would want to see Derek Anderson in this game at some point…on one hand, I feel like there’s no way he could beat us. On the other hand, the thought of the Cardinals losing to ANY team with DA at QB is is just beyond comprehension. Anyone else had any thoughts about this?

  18. By georgiebird on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    I’m not worried about the rankings. During the 2008 season, the Cardinals were ranked about 23rd in the league at one point and made it to the SB. That kind of stuff happens all the time- What me worry?

  19. By AndyStandsUp on Sep 7, 2011 | Reply

    Sorry Darren, but have to agree with georgiebird and JD Crow 59 about this being a game the Cards should and NEED to win.
    Is the season lost with a defeat? Of course not.
    But the game on paper (and everyone realizes it’s not played on a college ruled spiral notebook) points to an easy win.(Second biggest homespread except Minn at SD.)
    Confidence in this game provides almost as much as a boost as ability. If AZ was to lose this game and go to Washington (where the Redskins wouldn’t want to start the season with 2 home losses) and meet defeat, that COULD provide a spiral. Just as a 2-0 start could provide an impetus to a winning season.

    But you have to win the first one to have a two game winning streak. Just sayin’.

  20. By AJW on Sep 8, 2011 | Reply

    Be the ball….na na na na na…….GO CARDS!

  21. By clssylssy on Sep 8, 2011 | Reply

    It seems that the Cardinals are a team to rise to the level of their opponent…we have had amazing games against teams that were suppose to be far superior such as the Saints, Packers, Dallas, Giants, only to fall to teams with only 1-2 wins in a season, us being one of them. At times, it’s been like not everybody decided to show up because the other team was a “piece of cake.” Despite this being our season opener and having the home field advantage (say what you may but that extra man has won us the game more than once), I NEVER count anything as a sure thing. Cam Newton will be playing his first NFL game which could mean more if he weren’t so confident and comfortable on the field. Our defense is going to be critical and I like what I have seen of Ray Horton’s methods.It’s going to important to keep Steve Smith covered as well as keeping tabs on Jeremy Shockey. Shockey is a beast and was responsible
    largely for stopping the Cards in their playoff run in 09 against the Saints. No, this isn’t the same Panthers team…but neither are we the same Cards. Let’s play this like it was for the Title. GO CARDS! WE DO THIS TOGETHER!
    …Rankings, give me a break…LOL!

  22. By cards62 on Sep 8, 2011 | Reply

    Scott H. – I want to see Errant Anderson in the game in a big way. I think our defense would love nothing more than to smack him around after the rough year he caused our defense last year.

    I agree with all you fans that this is a game we have to win, but the season is not over if we lose. As I posted earlier I love our schedule and division, and I think we win the division this year, but my key to this is us starting off the year well. I have us winning our first 4 games.

    Cardinals 27 Panthers 14. Kolb throws for 250+ and Beanie runs for over 100 yards in the victory and CC and/or DD causes a turnover or two with their pressure.
    Sam Bradford was much more ready for the NFL than Cam N. this does not mean Cam is a bad QB I just think his learning curve will be much longer and we beat Sam B. with a worse Cardinal team so I have a hard time seeing us lose this game.

    My two concerns for this game. Panthers running game and our penalties.
    Carolina does have two very good running backs and Cam is a beast with fresh legs and our run defense not too good last year so I hope Horton run blirtzes a lot and then releases the hounds if its a pass play. Third and long Cam looks bad. Third and short Cam looks good. Last point is we had a lot of penalties in the preseason so I hope we play smart especially our OL.

    Go Cards beat Panthers

  23. By Mike in Mesa on Sep 8, 2011 | Reply

    I think he’s a punter. We will see what happens when the games start.

    You know I consider this an insulting answer. Did you watch either of them in preseason? Are you just afraid to give an actual opinion on these two players. I actually consider this persons question legit. I know you get a lot of the same questions over and over. But you should be able to come up with a better answer than “I think he’s a punter”. You might want to look up condescending in the dictionary. I think it might apply here.

  24. By Darren Urban on Sep 8, 2011 | Reply

    Mike in Mesa —

    RE: My answer

    You can consider it however you like.

  25. By Mike in Mesa on Sep 8, 2011 | Reply

    Why Darren does this mean we’re not friends anymore? You know Darren, if I thought you weren’t my friend… I just don’t think I could bear it!

    Maybe football’s just not your game Darren. I know! Let’s have a spelling contest!

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