The Best and Worst of Amazon’s “All or Nothing” Carolina Panthers (Episode #7/8)
Well, now it’s Amazon’s turn to show us what they got. The past week or so, we looked at the BEST and WORST of HBOs’ Hard Knocks (2018 Cleveland). We have the 2018 (season) Carolina ‘All or Nothing’ (2019 release) to review – eight episodes. I’ll watch and review each episode over the next week or so.
Typically, I like the Amazon production better than the HBO…but I like them both. A look behind the scenes that I still cannot believe the NFL allows to happen because it exposes how silly these people (coaches and GMs) look in real life/real time. And I’ve watched/reviewed them all…and they’re all the same nonsense management – except Sean McVay…you could tell right away he was different.
Let’s see what we have with the BEST and WORST of Amazon’s Carolina Panthers’ 2018 season!
Last episode, the Panthers went from a 6-3 record to 6-5 and the Panthers are going to get screamed at in practices all week, I’m sure, until they finally stop their losing streak. Spoiler Alert…the nonsensical yelling and screaming appeared from the coaches this episode #7. The yelling and screaming about ‘wanting it’ paid huge dividends…as the Panthers lost three more games this episode to fall to 6-8.
Let’s see how it happened with my BEST and WORST of episode #7…
WORST: Coaches…when things go wrong
Well, my praise for the Carolina coaching staff lasted six episodes. Not bad. The long losing streak has brought out the ‘typical’.
Suddenly, we are treated to Ron Rivera screaming at the defense (in their meeting room) that there is ‘no accountability’. The sentence/the claim makes absolutely no sense but it’s what panicky people start doing when things go wrong. They try to find things to blame.
When the team started 6-2…there was no talk of ‘no accountability’. Everything was fine. Five weeks later, when they hit a three-game skid…then everyone got ripped by the coaches. Like the players suddenly forgot about ‘accountability’. The team has just lost three games in a row, and one of them a fluke loss they should’ve won…that had they won, no one would go around screaming that the players have ‘no accountability’. The ‘accountability’ of 53+ men hinged on Cam Newton overthrowing a wide-open receiver for a late game 2-point conversion win vs. Detroit.
Here’s how bad it gets with this losing streak ‘pain’ -- we see normally ‘normal’ Ron Rivera starting to fall prey to the cliché coaching…but, even worse, we see the assistant coaches go into ‘typical NFL’ panic mode, such as…
We see one positional coach talking about ‘this week is a playoff game’…a must win. No kidding. When do the players want to lose, ever?
We see the linebackers coach telling the guys/semi-crying that this is his one chance at an NFL job! His case for them to do better/to win this week is based in the fact that their win-loss record reflected poorly on his future. I’m sure they really care. I’m sure coaching Luke Kuechly is a real grind, a real task. How does he do it?
I know the players don’t care about any of the silly, desperate words floating around…because the players are mostly looking at their shoes during every coach’s tirade about ‘focus’ and ‘working harder’. It’s not that the players don’t care about their jobs or winning…they just don’t care about idiotic coach speak they’ve heard going back to pee wee football.
We then see the rookie defensive coordinator going ballistic about ‘The Panther’s Way’ of football. How important the team ‘way’ is. This being spoken to a room full of guys who mostly have contracts that will send them packing next year…the ‘Panther’s Way’ will churn a chunk of the roster (the ‘family’) every year – but somehow the players are supposed to care about this mythical ‘Panther’s Way’? The only people who believe in the ‘Panther’s Way’ are assistant coaches and the brainwashed/zombie fans who buy into that crap. Keep in mind, this ‘Panther’s Way’ speech is given by an assistant coach who would tender his resignation an hour later if another team offered him a bigger opportunity/paycheck. But, yes, please tell me more about this ‘Panther’s Way’ that is so all encompassing.
Suddenly, to the coaches, no one knows what they are doing once a losing streak hits. It can’t be the coaching…it has to be the stupid, lazy, unfocused players. It’s the player’s fault that Cam Newton has a shoulder problem. It’s the player’s fault Greg Olsen can’t hardly walk but is shoved out onto the field the second he can limp out there. It’s the player’s fault Devin Funchess can’t catch and Jarius Wright is starting while human scoring machine Curtis Samuel fights to play 10 snaps in a game. It’s the player’s fault Graham Gano started missing kicks.
In this episode, the Panthers lose to Tampa Bay, Cleveland, and then the Saints to fall from 6-2 to 6-8. They started this episode 6-5. None of the hot air/B.S. from the coaches works. In the midst of it all, two assistant coaches are fired. Rivera takes over the defense from the D-C. None of it works to stop the skid that will eventually get to 6-9…a seven-game losing streak in all.
All the top coaches (head and coordinators) are still employed. They don’t pay the price for any of this.
I’m not saying they should get fired (or not), but everything gets so hysterical after even one loss…or two. You can’t imagine 4-5-6-7 losses? With years to implement his ‘system’, Bill Belichick barely loses two games in a row ever. Ron Rivera just lost seven in a row. He’s 24-24 since the magical Super Bowl run ion 2015. There has been no real sustainability. The Super Bowl year just a blip. Don’t you have to judge it that way? And I love the guy, but facts are facts. They haven’t sustained greatness.
Norv Turner…got bounced from Cleveland as O-C after 2013 after the team started 3-2 and went 1-10 the rest of the way. He was then bounced from Minnesota in 2016 when a 5-1 start saw the team go 1-4 after and then they punted Norv in-season. Carolina 2018, Norv’s first/only year with the Panthers…started 6-2 and then went 1-7 the rest of the way.
Norv’s last year in Cleveland, Minnesota and his only year in Carolina so far…those teams started out with a collective 14-5 record and then went 3-21 to the finish (to the finish of Norv midseason 2016 with MIN and a full season otherwise). Good luck in 2019 Carolina!! Remember, THE PANTHER’S WAY and hope you don’t get bit by NORV TURNER’S WAY!
Most of this episode was focused on the losing streak, the coaching talk during it, and the mounting pressure/reactions to it all. I have just a few other items to mention from this episode…
BEST = The more you see Luke Kuechly in action, it’s like watching a better/healthier Sean Lee…he might as well be the team’s defensive coordinator. He’s getting people in the right position, noticing plays ahead – and when he talks, the players aren’t looking at their shoes.
WORST = Then you have the opposite…barking dog Thomas Davis. The beloved veteran sounded like every other nonsensical defensive player – rallying the troops with illogical clichés and random cursing. The players have to listen to it/allow it because he’s a long-timer. It does nothing ever for wins-losses. The Panthers were 3-1 while Davis was out suspended due to PEDs and went 4-8 upon his return. Give me Kuechly every time.
WORST = I forgot about the Christian McCaffrey TD pass in the Saints game on MNF last season. Remember that? 4th & 1 from midfield, CMC takes a regular handoff and then steps backwards and floats a pass to a WIDE-OPEN tight end for a long TD.
It got me thinking – I bet if they ran that play 10 times a year on tight formations/3rd or 4th and short to go, they’d probably throw 5 TD passes…and then when defenses faded back to defend it…then they’d convert more runs of the ball for the yard/first down. Why don’t teams run trick plays like 5-10x a game? Weird alignments plays like you see in college, etc.? That’s how bad ‘establishment’ offensive coordinators are, and Norv Turner is their poster child – if it works, don’t repeat it for fear you’re not seen as clever enough. NFL O-C’s would rather run 60 different plays on 60 offensive snaps in a game, then run 10-20 plays over and over that they other team couldn’t stop. Offensive coordinators are about their playbook of plays they drew up when they were 14 years old in history class…they don’t study and pursue effectiveness. The pursue adding more plays to the playbook so players rupture a disc carrying it around.
WORST = During the losing streak, we see the D-C screaming at players to stop lightly jogging between plays at practice. The more I watch these football shows the more I think the coaches have only two things they focus on: (1) People not sprinting to the next play, and (2) players getting to the building before dawn to get to work.
The two scouting questions the NFL coaches ask about a player is based on those two things, and nothing else…I’m convinced.
OK, onto the final episode (#8)…where the preview ahead shows us that basically the season is over so we’ll get a focus on whether Greg Olsen or Thomas Davis are coming back (ohh, I’m on the edge of my seat) and other ‘Will I have a job next season?’ worries from players and coaches. The ultimately miserable 2018 season for Carolina comes to end next episode. We’ll review it all and wrap this puppy up.
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