A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
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Blognostications

2011 - Week 7 @ Carolina Panthers

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Blognosticator - servumtuum

This is a tale of two quarterbacks, one everybody knows a lot about and one about which we know next to nothing.

Normally in trying to analyze a game such as the upcoming Redskins-Panthers tussle I'd be burying everybody under a deluge of numbers, stats on top of stats and breaking down running and passing efficiencies and defensive strengths and weaknesses and comparing to see who might have an advantage where the other has a weakness but there's a problem. There's a hole in the numbers, a lack of data-insufficient information to form a general conclusion.

That hole has a name. John Beck.

I did, of course, start digging through the stats like any self-respecting “Numbers Guy” would but some of what I found led me in a different direction-one that may be uncomfortable at first but which might contain some good news after all. I'm referring to the heart-rending loss to the Eagles that's causing so much angst and soul-searching among Redskins fans and although I, like most everyone else I imagine, would like to toss this into that over sized dumpster of bad memories reserved for Redskins fans and move on I couldn't help noticing some similarities between the Panthers and the Eagles that may serve as indicators of what to expect-and, possibly and surprisingly, clues as to why we can win this game. The similarities begin at QB.

I have to start, of course, with Cam Newton. Cam Newton is what Michael Vick wanted to be when he grew up. Big, strong, fast and with a bionic arm-Newton is a monster. He is different, though, where Vick is a gazelle, Newton is a thoroughbred racehorse. But he's a rookie monster and his supporting cast isn't as experienced or skilled as Vick's. Oh, he has Steve Smith, naturally, and TE's Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey-but it's Smith and Olsen who have 6 of the Panthers 7 passing TDs and the rest just move the chains once in a while. Running game? Why Cam of course-DeAngelo Williams is there for chain moving but Cam's the center stage attraction in the Red Zone-6 TDs worth. Sounds intimidating but there are chinks in the Newton armor. He is prone to tossing INTs, for example. Like Vick-and Grossman. He's done it 9 times this season so far-same number as Rex Grossman actually-although it took Newton 6 games instead of 5 for Rex. That's another of the Eagle/Redskins/Panthers similarities-the three teams lead the league in throwing INTs. The other side of the ball reveals another Panther weakness-they aren't very adept at getting INTs themselves-just 3 so far this season in six games. That's in the bottom quarter of the league. In fact every other team the Redskins have played have more INTs than the Panthers.

Besides, it won't be Rex throwing the ball anyway.

I forgot to tell you, I'm basing all this on an assumption-that assumption being that the aforementioned statistical hole named John Beck will be under center Sunday.

Cam, by the way, has yet to face a team that gets after the QB as well as we do-we may not drop him much but we can distract his attention enough to generate mistakes-like the big one he pulled against Atlanta Sunday. The Panthers also have a weak pass D giving up an average 8.5 yards per attempt-tied with the Pats for second worst in the league (The Dolphins lead at 8.6 yds/attempt). (Well, you know I had to throw some stats at you somewhere.) Opposing QBs are averaging a 64.2% completion rate against the Panthers-24th in the league-the Redskins are #5-holding opposing Qbs to 54.9%.

Just one more number. The Panthers opponents have been allowing an average of almost 23 points to be scored against them in games other than playing the Panthers. The Redskins are giving up less than 17 points per game.

Time to get back to that “statistical hole”, Beck. So what do we know about the guy? Less than one half of a football game against one opponent is what we know. An opponent, however, that had been embarrassing us all day long-or rather against whom we had been embarrassing ourselves. John Beck waltzes in and take the Redskins on a surprisingly efficient drive and runs the ball in for our only TD.

His stats for the short time he was in? 8 for 15 for 117 yards-7.8 yds/attempt avg. and one rushing TD.

And no INTs.

It surprised me. No doubt it surprised the Eagles too. And that's where our secret to this game, I think, lies. We don't know all that much about John Beck other than he performed far better than Rex Grossman did against the same opponent. Neither do the Panthers.

Playing a team whose QB you haven't had a chance to study and which just got embarrassed is a risky proposition.

Redskins-24

Panthers-21
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