As of now, the 2021 Carolina Panthers’ biggest strength and biggest weakness are their defensive line and their offensive line, respectively. So what you’re about to read should come as no surprise.
Week 1’s 19-14 victory over the New York Jets was, as our title here suggests, a tale of two different pressures. Let’s start with the bad pressure, because bad news is always better when it’s followed up by the good news.
According to ESPN Analytics, the Panthers ranked dead-last in their Team Pass Block Win Rate stat. This number, which had Carolina at 20 percent (a whole 13 percent behind the next closest team), measures “how often individual players and teams sustained their pass blocks for at least 2.5 seconds.”
Pass Block Win Rate through week 1 (ESPN):
DEN, MIN, NO-59%
ARI, BAL, NYJ, PIT-50%
— Johnny Kinsley (@Brickwallblitz) September 14, 2021
Head coach Matt Rhule didn’t need those analytics, however, to tell him his guys need to do a better job upfront. On Monday, Rhule told reporters that quarterback Sam Darnold, despite his positive performance, was under too much duress in the season opener and will need more efficient protection moving forward.
You know who was under even more duress, though? Yeah, the guy on the opposite sideline that day.
For your good news portion of the post, Jets rookie Zach Wilson topped all quarterbacks in pressure rate, according to Pro Football Reference. He faced pressure on 46.5 percent of his dropbacks, well ahead of the second-place finisher in Buffalo’s Josh Allen (36.4).
QB pressure rates per Pro Football Reference
1. Zach Wilson 46.5%
2. Josh Allen 36.4%
3. Joe Burrow 34.4%
4. Sam Darnold 33.3%
5. Kirk Cousins 32.7%
— The 4 Man Rush (@4ourmanrush) September 15, 2021
Wilson was pressured a total of 20 times, hurried 10 and sacked six. Welcome to the NFL, kid.
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