Bills vs. Panthers 2013: five questions with the enemy

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

To prepare for the Buffalo Bills' Week 2 matchup with the Carolina Panthers, we spoke with 'Jaxon' at SB Nation's Panthers blog, Cat Scratch Reader. Read on for his take on key Panthers players and themes.

Carolina only managed 96 yards of offense in the second half against Seattle, undoing a valiant effort from a good defense. What happened to the offense in those 30 minutes?

Jaxon: Basically, the offense executed a flawed game plan that failed to take many shots down field. They instead settled for a dink and dunk offense that sputtered due to drops and a critical late fumble.

Despite the second-half failings on offense, Cam Newton looked pretty good throughout. Is this a worry for Panthers fans - that a limited stable of skill talent and a conservative mindset will hold him back?

Jaxon: It’s a definite worry, because upon review we saw that Newton missed a couple deep reads - where one time Steve Smith, and then another time Brandon LaFell were open for huge gains. Newton instead threw to the wrong receiver, Greg Olsen in both cases.

If the Panthers get their passing game clicking, who is the most likely third option to emerge behind Steve Smith and Greg Olsen: Brandon LaFell or Ted Ginn?

Jaxon: It should be LaFell, as he has proven he can make critical plays downfield in the past. Yet he only got one target last week. Ginn should have stepped up to be the third option, but again, they didn’t even try to get him deep.

Carolina did a great job of containing Seattle's running game (and obviously held them to three scores), but Russell Wilson had a very efficient day. What about his game, and Seattle's game plan, helped Wilson keep the chains moving against a tough defense?

Jaxon: Wilson was amazing escaping the rush and throwing on the run. Seattle then started to roll him out by design, which opened up the field for him. It was maddening trying to corral him, especially on the last drive when we really needed a stop. If he is going to hit a sophomore slump, it will have to start in Week 2, because we haven’t seen it.

That Panthers front seven is loaded with talent. I'm more interested in your take on the secondary, which gave up a 43-yard game-winning touchdown on Sunday. Are fans concerned about that group giving up big plays behind the big names this season?

Jaxon: If we can’t get pressure on the quarterback, it's going to be a long season, as that group is a weakness. We are yelling for Josh Norman to replace Captain Munnerlyn as a starter, as he was our best cornerback in the preseason - but for some reason that hasn’t happened. We are hopeful it happens this week.

As far as the Seattle game, the secondary only gave up the one big play, so that was a positive - but unfortunately that was all it took to lose the game. The signing of Quintin Mikell was huge, but it's going to take a couple weeks for him to get up to speed. We are hopeful this group can play well enough to keep us in games.

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