In the locker room Sunday in Baltimore, Panthers operating again D’Onta Foreman used a four-letter phrase to critique his efficiency within the 13-3 loss to the Ravens, calling it “s—.”

With the good thing about watching the sport tape and having a couple of days to melt his stance, Foreman caught by his blunt evaluation.

“I felt the same way after the game as I did when I watched the film,” Foreman mentioned.

Foreman has been a vibrant spot in a darkish season — a powerfully constructed, bodily again who posted greater than 100 yards speeding in three of the primary 4 video games after Christian McCaffrey was traded to the 49ers.

But when he studied the Ravens tape, Foreman didn’t see a man slamming his manner into the outlet as he had completed in opposition to Tampa Bay and in two conferences with the Falcons. He noticed a 6-foot, 235-pound bully again wanting tentative in opposition to a protection ranked third within the NFL in opposition to the run.

“Just gotta make sure I’ve got my eyes on the right spot, locked in on my keys, (and) just be more downhill. I felt like I was kind of running sideways a lot,” Foreman mentioned. “So I’ve just gotta get back to playing my game, trusting it and just doing what I do. But I definitely felt the same way after watching the film.”

Foreman ran 11 occasions for twenty-four yards in opposition to the Ravens. The Panthers completed with simply 36 speeding yards as a group, their fewest since a 28-yard speeding day in a Week 5 win in opposition to Detroit in 2017.


D’Onta Foreman ran for 130 yards and a landing in a Week 10 win in opposition to the Falcons. (Bob Donnan / USA Today)

Led by Foreman’s 130 yards on 30 carries, the Panthers had racked up 232 speeding yards within the rain throughout a Thursday evening win in opposition to Atlanta in Week 10. But they might not get something happening the bottom at Baltimore.

Panthers interim head coach Steve Wilks mentioned a part of the issue was the offensive line’s failure to get to the second stage and block the Ravens linebackers. But Wilks mentioned he additionally observed “a lot of indecision” by the operating backs.

“I think D’Onta talked to you guys about his commitment as far as just getting vertical and running the ball,” Wilks mentioned this week.

Wilks has tried to win with protection and a powerful operating recreation since taking on for Matt Rhule in October. With quarterback Sam Darnold set to make his first begin of the season Sunday in opposition to Denver, the Panthers (3-8) want Foreman to return to type to take among the strain off Darnold.

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Denver (3-7) is ranked third within the NFL in three main defensive classes — complete protection (permitting 302.1 yards per recreation), passing protection (186.8 yards) and scoring protection (17.1 factors). But the Broncos haven’t been fairly as stout in opposition to the run. They’ve given up 115.3 yards a recreation on the bottom (14th within the league) whereas permitting 4.67 yards per carry, which ranks close to the underside.

Foreman missed Wednesday’s observe with a vet day, a consideration for a participant who’s carried a heavy load because the McCaffrey commerce. Foreman mentioned he was coping with “a little soreness, but nothing too bad.”

There could have been an absence of operating lanes in opposition to the Ravens, however Foreman put the burden on himself.

“Just personally, I feel like I could have challenged those guys a little more, just running downhill whether there was a hole or not. Just make them tackle me. That’s my mindset,” he mentioned. “Through the course of the game, I just felt like I started trying to make plays, instead of trusting it, staying the course and just doing what I do. But new week, something definitely to learn from.”

So you’re saying I’ve bought an opportunity?

Even in a down yr for the NFC South, the Panthers enter Sunday’s recreation with only a 3 % probability of constructing the playoffs, according to The New York Times’ playoff simulator. The Times offers Tampa Bay (5-5) an 82 % of constructing the playoffs, adopted by Atlanta (5-6) at 17 %, then New Orleans (4-7) at 10 % and, lastly, the Panthers.

But defensive deal with Derrick Brown both doesn’t know or doesn’t care in regards to the Panthers’ lengthy odds.

“I think as a team, if we can get to nine wins, we’ll see what happens,” Brown mentioned. “I’m in a room with a group of men that want to be able to see if that can happen. So I’m excited about going through the rest of the year, playing this weekend, get a bye week and regrouping, then go into that (final) stretch.”

According to Tankathon, the Panthers have the third-easiest remaining schedule within the league, with just one recreation left in opposition to a group (Seattle) at present with a profitable report. But the Buccaneers (5-5), who’re three video games forward of Carolina within the loss column, have the fourth-easiest remaining schedule.

The Panthers are a lot nearer to ending with the highest draft decide than they’re to the highest of the division. But don’t attempt telling that to Brown, the 2020 first-round draft decide from Auburn who’s within the midst of a profession yr.

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Derrick Brown isn’t paying a lot thoughts to what the oddsmakers consider the Panthers’ possibilities. (Jim Dedmon / USA Today)

“You have to win out,” Brown mentioned. “Between the players, man, we want to win. We’ve been so close. Had games we lost by two or three points. We know we’re on the cusp. But it’s always the hump. It’s always the hard part getting over the hill. We’ll see what happens going down the stretch.”

After subsequent week’s bye, the Panthers journey to Seattle earlier than returning to Charlotte for house video games in opposition to Pittsburgh and Detroit. They shut the season with division video games on the highway at Tampa and New Orleans.

“Anything could happen, man,” linebacker Damien Wilson mentioned. “That’s why we gotta keep on preparing to the fullest of our ability and just play our ass off. Because we don’t even know what the (other division) teams are gonna do. The Falcons could lose. Tampa could lose. The Saints could lose. If we win, that puts us in a better position.”

Less is extra

Second-year offensive lineman Deonte Brown weighed 370 kilos when he reported to coaching camp on the finish of July. The 6-foot-4 Brown is right down to 322 kilos 4 months later, the lightest he’s been since his sophomore or junior yr in highschool.

“I feel a whole lot better, 10 times better,” Brown mentioned this week. “I couldn’t imagine myself at camp thinking I was gonna be this weight right now. This is probably the lowest I’ve been since high school. It’s crazy.”

Brown has struggled along with his weight for a number of years. He was 412 kilos when he arrived at Alabama as a freshman in 2016 and was listed at 350 as a senior.

He began cleansing up his weight loss plan and doing further conditioning at Wofford this yr, strolling after practices by way of a park in Spartanburg. He was 345 kilos when he was among the many Panthers’ roster cuts in August, and is definite his weight performed a job within the determination.

The Panthers signed Brown again to the observe squad, the place he’s spent your complete season going in opposition to the protection as a part of the scout group. Derrick Brown, who performed in opposition to Deonte when each have been within the SEC, mentioned his former rival appears good on the lighter weight.

“Still just as strong, but he’s lost so much weight. I feel like he’s moving better,” Derrick Brown mentioned. “He feels better. I just think overall it’s better helping him in the long run.”

Deonte Brown glided by “Cornbread” at Alabama, however his Panthers’ teammates have began calling him “Flatbread” this yr because the kilos have come off.

Brown mentioned he’s modified each what he eats and the way he eats. He’s eradicated most pink meats and tries to avoid bread and carbs. Instead of three massive meals a day, he now tries to eat a giant breakfast, a medium-sized lunch and a small dinner. If he’s hungry between meals, Brown mentioned he grabs some fruit and a inexperienced tea.

“You can tell he’s really thinking about his diet, as we all should be. We’re professional athletes,” mentioned second-year guard Brady Christensen, who was a part of Brown’s draft class. “He brought salad to one of our meetings. He’s been eating healthy. And that’s a great example to us to follow his lead.”

Brown, a sixth-round decide in 2021, credit his spouse for serving to him keep the course.

“She’s been like my home nutritionist since I’ve been with her,” he mentioned. “She’s been on my butt, like everybody else was.”

That help system would appear to be useful throughout Thanksgiving week, though Brown was planning to go straightforward.

“Really since college, I didn’t have much of a Thanksgiving because of the Iron Bowl. So I’ve been accustomed to not eating that much on Thanksgiving,” he mentioned Wednesday. “My wife’s gonna cook, but I don’t see myself eating a lot.”

(Top picture: Todd Kirkland / Getty Images)



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