08 October, 2008


October 8th, 2008

After seemingly endless pops of great Canadian beer and some pretty extraordinary golf (!) and some seriously drunken fellowship I can finally put some thoughts together, starting with Sunday’s game.

Before I do, I’ve GOT to shout out to the Canadian group who once again came down and helped us put on one of the best parties we’ve had as a group. I hated to miss the restaurant jaunt, but the Monday golf outing and afternoon and evening ruckus could only have been beaten if the Swedish Bikini Team had joined us. But, back to my thoughts about the game.

Good on you, Foxy.

You managed to coach up the players to FOCUS on this game, if you can call it that. I’m trying to find the right metaphor to describe it. It’s like watching Pea-Dad drop-kick a yapping Chihuahua. It’s entertaining for a few times, and then you start feeling bad for the Chihuahua. Only, the Chefs never yapped. They took their punishment stoically, and quietly. I was actually flabbergasted to see the stats accumulate on the scoreboard. For the Panthers, it was like a record snowfall in Suck-ra-kewz. For the Chefs, it was like deep winter in Jacksonville, where snowfall is measured in microns.
I never disliked the Chiefs team, and could usually find myself pulling for them. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to win, and it’s great to blow someone out, but for goodness sake-

This was a BAD football team!

Wouldn’t you rather do this against, say, THE DUCKIES? Or The Squealers? Or another division foe like, uhhhm,

The Tampa Bay Buck-an-ears?

And if you do, boy, have I got news for you- We get our chance this Sunday! Only I think the Bucs have something to say about that. Everything went right for us last week, even when it went wrong- we can credit the defense for that, really. And I swear, I didn’t see a blitz, not once. Ok, maybe that shadow of the goal post attack where Peppers and Johnson pummeled Huard into the turf. (See Turkey-Vac? THIS is what happens when you BLITZ, you %^@#_(*^%$&^@%*#$^!!!!) This is going to be imperative to execute in Tampa on Sunday. Here’s my keys to the game – The absolute CRUX of our success will be the play of our offensive line. Controlling the line of scrimmage against the strongest part of the Buccaneer game is of utmost importance if a victory is the Panther’s goal (and what a moronic suggestion that it would be ANYTHING ELSE!). If Jordan and Jeff are not available, their backups had BETTER BE READY TO PLAY- I’m thinking that the backs and receivers are going to have to stay home to block a bit in the beginning to get the offense going. Those corners of the Bucs are going to be hitting a lot harder than the corners we’ve been facing for the past few weeks. I’m thinking the Buccaneer game plan is to double-team Smitty. So SOMEONE on offense will have to make a play, and we may have to ride someone like Moose or Dante extra-hard. If Jake is sacked more than three times, we are going to lose. UNLESS- The defense makes the kind of plays we’ve been making for MOST of the season. Which is my second key to the contest. I’m thinking if we really get after Garcia-Greasy, whoever’s under center, we will control this game. The Buccaneer running game does NOT scare me at all. Yeah, I know Warrick Dunn can make plays, but our trend this season, now five games old against the best backs in the game, leads me to think that MOST teams are going to have to beat us through the air. So, bring it on, Chucky.

I’m gonna have to be honest with y’all.

Tampa doesn’t scare me. We’ve won five of the last seven times we’ve gone down there. We have a winning record all-time against them. Jake is really familiar with everything they do, and I firmly believe we are superior at every position. So, what would keep us from victory? Poor execution. Continued false start penalties and sloppy tackling. And this is part of the motivating process, my THIRD key to this game. If I’m Foxy, I’m letting my players know how hungry the Bucs are- How talented and ferocious they are- how capable they are of beating us. God knows that Chucky’s doin’ it! Tampa doesn’t need a lot of motivation to get up for playing US! As a matter of fact, if the wins continue to come, NO team we play this year, (and the next) will have any problem getting up to play us. So, as the pleasant memory of the metaphysical drop-kicking of Pea-Dad’s Chihuahua recedes into the past, let’s take care of Tampa, and come home to face an ANGRY Naw’lins Saints team, who will unleash their powerful offense on us. THAT could be a scorefest come October 19th. And then it’s Arid-Zona at home and not a complete pushover. But that bye couldn’t come at a more perfect time in the schedule. It almost feels like karma, of the best kind. After the bye? The Schraiders, the Lions. Two of the leagues WORST teams. And then, the season hangs in the balance with tough, TOUGH games against the Duckies in their place, where they’re decent, AT the Packers, although they seem to be fading, Bucs at home, At the GEEEEEEEE Men, and THAT could be a battle for home field advantage, Broncoids at home, and then AT the Saints, who’d LOVE to spoil our season if they could. It’s vital for the Panther’s success to make hay NOW while the schedule affords it. Going 6-2 before the bye would be awesome. Going 7-1 would be better. Starting the second half with a pair of wins puts us in a nice position to take control of the division, which all of a sudden, looks a bit tougher than it did at the start of the season. Because friends- I guarantee you, we are NOT going 8-0 in the second half of the season. Someone is beating us, and maybe more than once.

I just got a bit of a rush-

WHAT IF I'm wrong, and we go 15 and-

I’m stopping now. I can’t go there yet.

I’ll be back with the weekly handicap Friday. Some of you I’ll see Sunday.

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