QB Brian St. Pierre - Carolina Panthers
|6-3, 230||Born: 11-28-1979||College: Boston College||Drafted: Round 5, pick |
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Week 2: vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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FBG says: Great matchup. Simply put, Cam Newton did not open 2019 on a strong note. He missed badly on several throws and failed to beat the Rams for anything deep, creating just 239 yards on 38 attempts. He's healthy, but clearly not yet at his apex after offseason surgery. Luckily, the Panthers have surrounded him with a fantastic collection of young, dynamic talent capable of making his shaky days work. In D.J. Moore, he now throws to a better set of No. 1 WR traits than he ever has. Moore brings speed, size, and physicality to the table - Kelvin Benjamin never boasted more than one of those - and has proven himself a playmaking option. He caught 7 of his 10 targets despite tight coverage from Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters on the outside. And in Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel, there's a ton of short-area athleticism that wins in the flats and slots. Newton continued to struggle with his downfield touch Sunday, and he'll lean heavily on the two open-field playmakers, who combined to catch 13 balls for 113 yards in Week 1. Overall, this is an iffy attack to believe in while Newton is struggling so. He'll need to show better downfield ability before we can expect to see Moore's and Samuel's upsides. But in the meantime, it's comforting to see the game-breakers producing anyway. Moore, McCaffrey, Samuel, and tight end Greg Olsen are all capable of strong play even when the pass game is limited.
The Tampa Bay pass defense has been atrocious for several years running, and the personnel didn't change up much for 2019. They were fortunate to open the year against a shaky Jimmy Garoppolo, whose erratic play papered over some big issues that remain in this unit. Garoppolo misfired early and often, missing receivers that had beaten the Buccaneers' subpar cornerback group. Vernon Hargreaves has improved overall, but not enough to transform this group. Had they been working against better outside receivers, they likely would have allowed several splash completions. The 49ers' top target, tight end George Kittle, won matchup after matchup - he caught 8 of 10 targets that counted, then had 2 touchdowns negated by penalties. All told, there's little reason to look at this burnable group much differently than in 2018. They'll have their collective hands full with all of the speed and athleticism the Panthers bring to the table.
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