Delhomme should bounce back
With the signing of Free Agent David Carr many
prognosticators around the league foresee Delhomme being benched by the half
way point of the season to make way for the former Houston Texan.
Always the underdog, Delhomme has never allowed criticism or
media cynicism for that matter to faze him.
After fighting the team back into playoff contention in 2004 and trying
desperately to will the team to victory in 2005 he has shown that no matter
what, he’ll always fight to win.
While fans have often criticized his gunslinger mentality
and his at times, wayward accuracy none can deny his competitive spirit and
will to succeed, hopefully this year, the front office will have the pieces in
place to help him, help the team get back to the Super bowl.
Jeff Davidson, recently hired after a brief stint in
Cleveland wowed the front office with his vast knowledge and impressive resume.
After Quarterbacks coach Mike McCoy was almost a lock for the OC job,
Davidson’s hiring came as a pleasant surprise, but after seeing a glimpse at
his plans for the Panthers’ offense its clear why the front office was so
willing to bring him in.
Davidson has moved the team to a zone blocking system,
allowing the athletic lineman on the roster to thrive and play more naturally,
he also plans to use more screens and short passes to the tailbacks and tight
ends, getting the ball out of Delhomme’s hands and into those of the team’s
The alteration to the system should see an improvement in Delhomme’s
statistics giving him a better completion percentage and better chance of
developing a rhythm within which he’s at his most valuable as a passer.
Steve Smith will continue to be the marquee act and his
penchant for turning small routes into long gains should create mismatch issues
on the outside. The talented receiving tight ends, brought in over the last two
years and the already established receiving talents of the team’s tailbacks
should allow the Panthers to move the ball down the middle of the field.
The key to the Davidson offense appears to be flexibility.
Aiming to score points and to move the football by any means necessary is a far
cry from Dan Henning’s establish field position and run up the gut philosophy
that caused frustration amongst fans and hindered Delhomme’s ability to make
It’s no secret that for Delhomme to be at his best he needs
to establish a rhythm early and get support from his running game, two areas
Davidson will be able to improve with his new system. Smith will always be able
to pick up long gains, Dwayne Jarrett will provide a big target on the outside
and should the running game improve moving the chains on third down shouldn’t
be as big a problem as last year when running the ball was a useless endeavor.
The defenses stifling style and the probable improvements to
the offensive schemes should see Delhomme bounce back to his Pro Bowl form of
2005 regardless of what prognosticators like to think.