Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
Panthers get creative with OC Turner
The Carolina Panthers have things going good with a 6-2 record and a three-game winning streak, but there's no time to dissect the first half of the season with a Thursday night trip to Pittsburgh on the docket.
The Panthers will take with them an offense that has tapped into more and more sources in recent games. They already had versatility as one of the assets, with quarterback Cam Newton's multi-faceted talents and running back Christian McCaffrey's ability to be a threat in several areas.
But offensive coordinator Norv Turner seems to have suddenly bolstered the playbook.
"He's willing to call it," head coach Ron Rivera said of Turner's use of what some would consider gadget plays. "The biggest thing is we use the right kind of guys. Norv is creating things and putting things together."
A double reverse resulted in a touchdown against Tampa Bay last week.
More than anything the speed on the field with receivers Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore has become a difference-maker. The Panthers tended to be more methodical on offense in the past.
This is also taking pressure off Newton, who seems to be excelling with efficiency even if some of his statistical numbers are as high as in the past.
"As far as the talent level on this team, it's extremely scary that we possess a lot of different good matchups in our favor," Newton said.
For Newton, some of the reverses and other plays that might not be all that conventional don't seem unusual from his perspective.
"We don't necessarily call them trick plays because we work on them so much and the way we execute them is like any other play," he said.
Ten players on offense have at least one touchdown this season for the Panthers. Six of those players have multiple touchdowns.
"Who knows what might happen next," Rivera said. "Somebody else may step up. It's exciting to have these kinds of players on the field."
The Steelers (5-2-1) have momentum as well with a four-game winning streak.
The Panthers have reached the halfway mark of the regular season with six or more victories five times.
The Panthers are 0-3 all-time at Pittsburgh, not counting preseason visits (such as one in August). This figures to be a special game for new owner David Tepper, who is from Pittsburgh.
SERIES HISTORY: 7th regular-season meeting. Steelers lead series, 5-1. The Steelers have won the last five meetings since the Panthers won in 1996. Pittsburgh is one of three NFL teams (Denver and Cincinnati are the others) that the Panthers have never defeated on the road.