Panthers' game plan should travel well

Updated: January 13, 2006, 6:38 PM ET
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
There is a difference between getting outcoached, which sometimes happens in the NFL, and running into a great game plan. The latter is what happened to Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants in last week's 23-0 wild-card playoff loss to the Carolina Panthers.

John Fox
Fox
Carolina coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Mike Trgovac came into the game determined to stop Giants running back Tiki Barber and make New York's offense one-dimensional. Needless to say, the Panthers were pretty effective.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning took the brunt of the criticism for the woeful output of New York's offense, and some of that was warranted. He rushed some throws, he threw off his back foot a lot and his mechanics looked unsound. But most of the blame can go to the constant pressure he was under, a direct result of the scheme the Panthers employed -- a scheme we might see again this week in Chicago.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.

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