Week 5 of the NFL season has the Jacksonville Jaguars traveling to Charlotte to face the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon.
The Carolina Panthers, despite losing their starting quarterback, are getting it done offensively. The Jacksonville Jaguars are well aware of the fact their opponent loves to run the football.
The staff here at Black and Teal had a chance to sit down with Danny Jaillet of Cat Crave, FanSided.com’s site for the Carolina Panthers, this week. He offered some great insight as to how the Panthers, 2-2 like the Jaguars, view this game this week.
What are your general impressions of the Jaguars this season? What stands out to you?
So far this season, it has been an up-and-down ride for the Jaguars. They have appeared to find their groove as quarterback Gardner Minishew has inspired comeback victories and excitement every time he steps on the field.
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Regardless of what is happening with Jalen Ramsey, the Jaguars still have a strong front seven and a defense that can give offenses fits. They may not be headline-makers every single week, but they are finding ways to win. For that reason, they just might be able to sneak into the playoffs.
Playing without Cam Newton, how much more important is it to establish the ground game?
Establishing the ground game for Carolina is certainly an important aspect of it. When you have a player like Christian McCaffrey, a running back that can catch the ball as well as he can run, that takes a little bit of urgency off the ground game.
Kyle Allen has proven that he can play well over the course of multiple games. However, he is still a second-year player with limited experience. Finding balance within the offense and establishing a ground game with McCaffrey is still important.
He is one of the best running backs in the National Football League, and Carolina would be smart to use him as often as they can.
Which player on offense must step this week? Which on defense?
Greg Olsen. He only had two catches for five yards last week. With receivers like Curtis Samuel and D. J. Moore getting attention from the secondary, Olsen needs to be able to come up big in the receiving game. He has been a mainstay within their offense for years, and I could see him getting a lot of targets thrown his way in this one.
Defensively, Donte Jackson is going to be a player that has to step up. He will probably be matched up against Dede Westbrook, and Westbrook is a player that has speed and instant playmaking capability. Jackson will need to make sure he locks Westbrook down.
Westbrook has tremendous athleticism and speed and if Jackson allows him to get even one step ahead, it could make for a long afternoon for Jackson. Shutting down one of the main weapons of the Jaguar offense would make life much easier for the Panthers.
How big of an impact does the loss of Kawann Short have on your defense this week?
The loss of [Kawann] Short Is a huge blow to the Carolina Panthers defense. You’re talking about a player that is a two-time Pro Bowler and was voted a team captain this year. He was a player that recorded 49 combined tackles and 7.5 sacks while starting in all 16 games last year.
His leadership on a defense that is introducing new faces to the fold and his productivity especially while rushing the passer, will definitely be missed. He is an integral part of that defense, and now it will be up to Vernon Butler to step things up.
He has disappointed over the past couple of seasons, and now it is his turn to show he can be a productive member of this team.
The Panthers win on Sunday if…
The Panthers will win on Sunday if they do two things. First, they have to eliminate the turnovers. Although he got the win last week, Allen was a little sloppy with the football. He fumbled the ball three times and lost all three fumbles. This Jacksonville team will make you pay for your mistakes. It’s going to be a tough game for Carolina as it is, they need to make sure they play clean, turnover-free football.
Secondly, they need to get pressure on Minishew. If you give him time to throw, he will make you pay. Particularly late in games, he has been known to turn it up a notch. Rushing him into making throws and making him uncomfortable in the pocket will help Carolina in their quest for a win.