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Caulton Tudor

Duke's Cutcliffe, Panthers' Rivera ace the weekend

Posted October 14, 2013

Dave Doeren, NCSU, D: The good news is that Brandon Mitchell should be back for the next game.

The bad news is that game will be at Florida State (Oct. 26), and the Seminoles have been KO'ing quarterbacks left, right and dead center.

The injuries have been nonstop, but the offensive execution and schemes have been just as costly. In Saturday’s 24-10 loss to Syracuse, the Pack averaged only 3.7 yards per play and 2.9 on rushes. If those figures don’t improve a lot, there will be no winning record, no bowl and not much to look forward to until Jacoby Brissett gets in the lineup.

Previous grades: Three Bs, one C, one D.

David Cutcliffe, Duke, A: The 35-7 win over Navy was so impressive and so thorough that the Blue Devils have to feel good about this week’s trip to Virginia and games yet to come against the Wolfpack, UNC and Wake Forest.

The most surprising aspect of the 4-2 record is the ground game production being provided by Josh Snead, Jela Duncan, Juwan Thompson and Shaquille Powell. And now with Anthony Boone back at quarterback, the air game will only gain momentum.

At the turn, Cutcliffe is the league coach of the year leader by at least a furlong or two.

Previous grades: One A, two Bs, one C, one D.

Ruffin McNeill, ECU, D: What should have been a win at Tulane ended in a staggering 36-33 triple-overtime loss that may eventually undermine the Pirates’ Conference USA East Division title hopes.

The worst part of it was that Tulane’s standout quarterback Nick Montana was too banged up to play and the Pirates gave up 229 passing yards to freshman sub Devin Powell.

Now 2-1 in the league, ECU will probably have to win out in league games against Southern Miss, Florida International, Tulsa, Alabama-Birmingham and then the finale trip to Marshall (4-2, 2-0).

Previous grades: One A, three Bs, one C.

Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers, A: Either Rivera is gradually turning the corner or he’s going to become one of the all-time aces and spaces coaches.

The Panthers have looked like world beaters in two of their past four games and just awful in the other two. In Sunday’s 35-10 win at Minnesota, Cam Newton had one of his best days ever and the defense was stifling when it counted.

The next three games are against St. Louis (3-3), Tampa (0-5) and Atlanta (1-4). Rivera needs to win all three because the ensuing three are against San Francisco (4-2), New England (5-1) and Miami (3-2).

Previous grades: One A, one C, one D, one F.

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  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Oct 15, 8:23 a.m.

    Cam isn't among the best QB's in football. That's for certain. But he has the ability to be. ... View More

    — Posted by jcinncar

    I think the Panthers would like to have the last five minutes of many games back. They've lost a lot of games by a TD or less in the 4th quarter.

    I agree that Cam would have a lot of teams interested in him, and he and the Panthers will find that out when his contract is up, I believe after this year. I wouldn't be surprised to see Cam try and leave and the Panthers slap the franchise tag on him. I hope it doesn't come down to that because if a player is kept on a team he doesn't want to be on, it usually doesn't end well, as it didn't with Peppers.

  • DUKE4EVER Oct 14, 7:54 p.m.

    GO DUKE!!

  • jcinncar Oct 14, 7:51 p.m.

    Cam isn't among the best QB's in football. That's for certain. But he has the ability to be. The Vikings would have had two or three more sacks were it not for his athletic ability and strength. One things for sure. If they ever want to trade him there will be a lot of teams interested.

    The Panthers are a pretty good football team. What they need more than anything is a shutdown corner. Get that and they have a very, very good defense. A little help on the offensive line...and in a year or two they'll need another running back...and they have a bonafide playoff contender. In a couple of weeks they have a tough stretch of games. They need to beat the Rams Sunday and the Bucs next Thursday before they hit that stretch. But if they play to their potential they're gonna whip some teams this year. I bet they'd like to have the last 5 minutes of that Buffalo game back.

  • IBleedRedandWhite Oct 14, 7:34 p.m.

    I know as a State fan I am excited about getting Mitchell back. However, HE is not the total solution. The O-line is depleted, the secondary is depleted, the D-Line suffered losses this past weekend. TOB left the cupboard bare, but this season already sounds like a broken record complaining about all of the losses to injuries. The real solution is recruiting and a better strength and conditioning regimen.

    Not a fan of the trick plays and going for it on 4th down in field goal range. Plain and simple,State is young and inexperienced and Cuse was bigger and stronger and it showed. I feel Coach D and his staff will figure it out and get who they need into the program and right the ship.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Oct 14, 5:15 p.m.

    The Panthers are a fumble, and a last second TD pass away from being 4-1. Seattle is one of the... View More

    — Posted by Toddler10-21

    Agree, Toddler. Cam is far from perfect, but he can't be blamed for Williams dropping the ball, ditto LaFelle, and those mistakes cost Carolina the game, not Cam. They may have beaten bad teams, but they came within a whisker of beating good teams, like Seattle.

  • 75Tarheel Oct 14, 2:17 p.m.

    The Panthers are a fumble, and a last second TD pass away from being 4-1. Seattle is one of the... View More

    — Posted by Toddler10-21

    Way too optimistic in my opinion. Scam has yet to show he can win consistently. Two wins against inferior teams does not a season make. Let's see if he can 'lead' (cough, cough) this team through the middle of the schedule and get some quality wins.

  • Toddler10-21 Oct 14, 2:05 p.m.

    The Panthers are a fumble, and a last second TD pass away from being 4-1. Seattle is one of the best in the NFL.

  • rushbot Oct 14, 12:46 p.m.

    so the panther persons defeated the viking persons...they also defeated the giant persons..this is not an impressive thing...

  • jmcdow2792 Oct 14, 11:54 a.m.

    I have to agree with this assessment. I hope things change soon.

  • tcoutouzis Oct 14, 11:16 a.m.

    I just wish my Pirates would play with some consistency. They play a flawless game in Chapel Hill and then completely flop in the next two games. Tulane, by far is the biggest flop this season. We should have dropped 40-50pts on them in regulation. It should have never have gone to overtime. I know that everyone is going to blame the kicker for his 3 missed field goals, but lets not forget the 98 yard pick six as one of the 4 times that we were inside their 5 yardline and didn't get a TD.

    I am just so frustrated with how inconsistent the offense is. The defense has come around, but still needs work. Rick Smith is doing a good job there. Lincoln is still showing his inexperience as an OC. He really does need some growth so that he can better learn how to counter the different defensive schemes thrown his way during a game. All it would take is a couple years under a good OC and I think he would be great.

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