January 1, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Chris Ivory (29) is tackled by Carolina Panthers linebacker James Anderson (50) during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Panthers 45-17. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Casillas was asked this week about playing angry, which he says he doesn’t do. Quarterback Drew Brees spoke about being “even keeled”. However it’s safe to say that the Carolina Panthers won’t take that philosophy.
The last few days we’ve seen the reports and heard the audio clips of Panthers players still discussing the last meeting against the Saints where they were thrashed 45-17 in what they are saying was simply an attempt to disrespect them by running up the score.
Even Panthers coach Ron Rivera said that he wouldn’t have done what Saints head coach Sean Payton did by keeping his foot on the gas pedal and trying to give several Saints players like Brees a chance to pad his numbers.
The Saints need to be ready for an even more hostile meeting between the two division rivals because even Panthers fans, who are usually pretty accommodating, have been sounding off on message boards on wanting some payback.
Last year was when the Saints played the Panthers in an away game for their first meeting as well, a huge brawl broke out after Saints safety Roman Harper put a late hit on Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith after he scored a touchdown because Harper said Smith celebrated a bit too much going into the end zone.
While playing angry can help, both teams will be definitely be playing with a sense of urgency because both are 0-1 and falling to 0-2 for either team in the dominant NFC South division is something they can’t afford.
Both the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 1-0 right now with the Buccaneers leading the NFC South technically with a division win over the Panthers last week. The Panthers really can’t afford to fall to 0-2 in both the season and the division so early.
The Saints will surely have a fight on their hands when they face the Panthers this Sunday. Rookie Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is similar to Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and everyone saw how he dismantled the Saints defense.
The Panthers have alluded to the notion that after seeing how Griffin was able to find holes in the Saints defense, that they could take the same approach. If the Saints don’t fix their errors from last week, it will turn into a longer day than they had last week.