Ross Jacobs has been an FFM correspondent on NFL games and NFL Draft matters for the past few years. He is going to be writing up some of his notes on various games he’s watching/studying this year. Typically, he will have written/submitted his work before mine, so this is a look at the same game with different eyes...and you can compare and contrast or find some new takeaways.
2020 Week 3 Analysis: Panthers @ Chargers (By Ross Jacobs)
-Don't be fooled. The Chargers have the better roster by far over the Panthers. But they lost this game because Anthony Lynn is a terrible coach and Matt Rhule is a very good one. Lynn is a tough-guy, grinder, ground and pound, old-school head coach, and he has absolutely no idea how to manage players, scout, or construct a gameplan. Rhule is the exact opposite. If you're betting futures on these two teams you can put down a good chunk that Lynn will be fired in the next 2 years, and Rhule is going to the playoffs very shortly.
-Carolina was in control of this game most of the way. The Chargers had chances at the end, but only because the Panthers had been kicking field goals instead of scoring touchdowns. It really wasn't that close of a contest.
-Carolina's defense is still very poor despite holding the Chargers to 16 points. Their offense has really been impressive, but this defense is going to be their downfall. Very impressed with the job Rhule has done with this team already. They come out every week looking excited to play. I cannot wait to see this team in a year or two.
-This is a perfect example of what I was talking about with the Chargers offense last week. If you were impressed with Herbert's debut against the Chiefs I urge you to go back and re-watch it. Or just watch him against a bad Carolina defense. Herbert is just like so many other young QB's coming into the league these days. He can deliver the ball fine if he's given time or he predetermines a pass before the snap and no defender jumps in his way, but muddy the pocket or confuse him in any way and trouble is coming. He constantly stares down receivers, and you saw that here as he was picked off once and had another one or two dropped. The Buccaneers are going to absolutely destroy him this week.
-Not sure what was going on with Austin Ekeler week 1, but he looks to have fully regained his bounce. Week 1 he looked chunky and slow, but he was much more spry and quick this week. It might be that he just looked good compared to Carolina's defense, but I don't think so.
-Wow, Carolina is finally giving Curtis Samuel some runningback touches. He still only had 4 carries and 4 catches, but maybe he's gaining respect? He looks like the best playmaker among the WR corp to me. He had several plays where he made people miss or ran a guy over. Don't forget he was a legitimate RB at Ohio St. The guy has power despite his smaller stature. I'd really like to see him getting about double what he is now, but maybe this coaching staff is slowly figuring that out.
-Both these teams aren't going anywhere near the playoffs. I expect both of them to be somewhere around 5 wins or so. The Chargers are probably just a bit better at this point, but it's hard to tell.
-Like I said the player to have on the Chargers now that Herbert is QB is Hunter Henry. He and Ekeler are the safe outlet pass guys for the rookie. Henry is a legit TE1 and should finish in the top 5 or 6. Ekeler is going to be an RB1 again rest of schedule. He looks great again despite the crappy offense around him. I avoided him in drafts because I knew Tyrod Taylor wouldn't throw him all the dump passes, but I guess we should have known Herbert would be in sooner or later. That's the risk you take sometimes.
-Like I said last week your DJ Moore stock is dead. He had only two catches here, and both of them were later in the game. There was no attempt to get him involved at all. Samuel is getting some spotty touches, but Anderson is the top dog now. He's a great buy-low target for WR-needy teams coming off a 5 catch 55 yard game. Grab him now and thank me later.
-If you're playing daily fantasy I highly recommend starting the Tampa Bay defense against the Chargers this week. Herbert might pull a Darnold and toss a pair of pick sixes.