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Thursday, September 15, 2011
Panthers should take lesson from Saints

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

NFC South teams don’t share trade secrets, but we do. The Carolina Panthers might want to take a lesson from the New Orleans Saints when they host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

The Saints had a very tough time stopping Aaron Rodgers in the season opener and the Packers scored 42 points. Rodgers thrived particularly when facing the blitz.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Rodgers completed 18 of 22 passes (81.8 percent) when the Saints rushed five or more defenders. Rodgers produced a league-best 11 first downs on passes against the blitz. He averaged 10.5 yards per attempt in those situations and threw two touchdowns.

The Panthers didn’t have a lot of success with the blitz against Arizona’s Kevin Kolb in their opener. Kolb averaged 17.8 yards per attempt against the blitz and threw two touchdown passes.

Although conventional wisdom says you usually want to put as much pressure on a quarterback as possible, the Panthers might want to rethink that one with Rodgers. With defensive ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy, the Panthers should be able to generate some sort of pass rush from their front four.

Instead of bringing linebackers or defensive backs on blitzes, the Panthers might be better off keeping them back in coverage.