This one is certainly an uphill challenge for Will Healy‘s Charlotte 49ers as they look to turn the tides and avoid a 0-3 start as they host the Maryland Terrapins (1-0) this Saturday at Jerry Richardson Stadium. Kickoff is at 3:30pm and you can watch this one on Stadium, or listen to the local broadcast on ESPN 730. As I’m typing this post you can find Maryland -27 on some books, and CLT +27.5 on others. Clearly not much faith by Vegas in Charlotte keeping this one competitive.
Havoc, where art thou?
For Charlotte to disrupt a potent Maryland offense, they have to find a way to create havoc in the backfield and get to Taulia Tagovailoa. After only 16 teams sacks last year, Charlotte only has 1 so far through 2 games. Can the defensive line finally breakthrough in this one? It’s time for Markees Watts and Amir Siddiq to make their presence felt if the Niners want to right the ship defensively.
Sacks and Quarterback pressures/hits aren’t the only havoc this defense needs. Charlotte has yet to force a turnover through 8 quarters of action. There have been opportunities for the Niners simply haven’t sealed the deal on some poor passes. With one of the worst coverage grades in the nation, Greg Brown and Kap Dede, PhD. have their work cut out versus a talented Terps offense. Keep an eye on Rakim Jarrett, the former five star prospect in the 2020 class just snagged 6 catches for 110 yards in their opening win versus Buffalo, and led Maryland in all receiving categories this past season.
Charlotte has toted the ball 60 times in 2 games for total of 193 yards, averaging out to only 3.2 yards per carry. Healy has always stated he wanted his teams to be run-first and establish a physical presence up front. Offensive Line coach Pete Rossomando’s group hasn’t been able to create the push needed yet to create that identity so far in 2022, and they face a defense that yielded only 108 yards on 38 carries (2.8ypc) in Week 1. I’ll be looking to see if Charlotte leverages more guys in their rotation this week.
Get it out, fast
Shoutout to Cam Williams for a solid article that went live earlier today on the Missing piece on the Charlotte 49ers offense. While tight ends have been missing in action so far (1 catch for the group), I think Charlotte also needs to prioritize the quick passing game and mix in more screens. Charlotte’s offense really clicked late in the first half versus William & Mary when they went quick tempo and proceeded to march down the field for a touchdown, led by Xavier Williams. Charlotte has great wide receivers who can beat defenses over the top, however the offensive line has struggled in pass protection, giving up 8 sacks so far. More on the pass protection woes from the Charlotte Observer’s Hunter Bailey below:
Pass blocking was a struggle against W&M, highlighted by LT Jaxon Hughes and RG Jon Jacobs pass blocking grades of 29.9 and 19.3, respectively.— Hunter Bailey (@Hunter_Bailey45) September 8, 2022
The two starters allowed a combined 7 pressures, 5 hurries and a sack.
To be clear, if Chris Reynolds is healthy, there’s no discussion as he’s the clear-cut QB1. After Xavier Williams relief appearance on Friday night, I think its fair to question who exactly is QB2 for Offensive Coordinator Mark Carney. James Foster was set to have a great opportunity to showcase his abilities before getting hurt and knocked out of the game vs the Tribe. In came Williams in his first true appearance for Charlotte, not going to count that 1 snap at FAU when he spelled Foster on a third down after his helmet popped off. Williams showed the ability to make plays with his arm and legs, but as to be expected for such young QB, accuracy wasn’t always there.
We saw QB James Foster for 21 snaps & Xavier Williams for 50.— Hunter Bailey (@Hunter_Bailey45) September 8, 2022
Foster posted a 52.1 offensive grade. He completed 57% of his attempts with a clean pocket.
Williams posted a 78 offensive grade, completing 50% of his attempts w/ a clean pocket. He was blitzed 40% of his snaps.
Advanced Stats preview via @statsowar
Cover your eyes if you are faint of heart, as this projection has Charlotte giving up a 60-piece to the Terps, along with Charlotte having just a 2% chance of victory:
MARYLAND @ CHARLOTTE pic.twitter.com/jUJraUgIb4— parker (@statsowar) September 6, 2022