Mike Shulas deep thoughts
The Panthers have won nine games behind a strong defense and a ball-control offense that makes few mistakes. But the Panthers scarcity of big plays has prompted teams to crowd the line of scrimmage, making it hard for the running game to get going. Cam Newton has 25 completions of 20 yards or more, compared with 59 in 2012. A week after the Panthers longest completion was 17 yards at New Orleans, Mike Shula needs to call a few more so-called shot plays to loosen up a Jets defense ranked second vs. the run.
Getting after Geno
Carolinas front four failed to put much pressure on Drew Brees last week, allowing the Saints quarterback to carve up the secondary for 313 yards and four touchdowns. Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith is no Brees, but the second-round pick from West Virginia has shown flashes when hes not throwing interceptions (20) or getting sacked (39). The Panthers had their streak of consecutive games with at least one takeaway snapped at 16 at New Orleans. It would be a good time to start a new one.
Rally time for the Legion of Whom
Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes said he wasnt calling out the Panthers secondary when he described it as the weakest link of the defense. He clearly had watched a lot of tape of the Saints game, when the so-called No-Name Secondary was exposed on Sunday night at the Superdome. This group has rallied around the no-respect mantra all season, and will look for a bounce-back game against the Jets. The corners can help by being more physical and not allowing Holmes and Co. free releases off the line. The Jets will be without wide receiver Stephen Hill, who was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury.