There’s a preoccupation in the NFL right now with going fast.
But Panthers coach Ron Rivera — whose team ran the fewest plays in the league last week — showed his defensive colors when discussing the topic.
“I’m not quite sure what the real, true benefit is other than having a few more plays,” Rivera said, via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. “People say, ‘Well, you get 75, 80 plays going faster.’ You also can go 1-2-3 and out faster and put the other team back on the field faster. So which is it? . . .
“There’s some stretches if you go out there and you go too fast and make a mistake, and all of a sudden your defense is back out there. Now your defense is getting worn down. Is that a good thing, too?”
It wasn’t for his next opponent. The Bills ran a middle-of-the-pack 61 plays, but they had five drives of three or fewer snaps against the Patriots. That made it easy for their defense to look gassed.
There’s little danger of that with the Panthers, who ran a scant 50 plays from scrimmage. But they were 17th in time of possession, since they ran effectively when they did have the ball.
Of course, they also lost a 12-7 game to the Seahawks, so picking up the pace a little might benefit them.