Heath Evans on M&M: Monday’s game more important for Panthers than Patriots
|11.18.13 at 2:40 pm ET|
Former Patriot Heath Evans joined Mut & Merloni on Monday to talk about New England’s matchup with the Panthers and his take on the bullying scandal in Miami.
Monday’s game is a surprisingly good matchup as quarterback Cam Newton has led his team a 6-3 start to the season. With the Saints winning on Sunday, Carolina moved to 1½ games behind New Orleans in the NFC South.
“I think this is definitely more important for the Carolina Panthers, and [coach] Ron Rivera,” said Evans, who works with the NFL Network and the NFL on Fox.
Newton has played well this season, but the reason for the turnaround from a 7-9 record in 2012 revolves around the strong play of the Panthers defense. Second-year pro and Boston College product Luke Kuechly leads the team from his middle linebacker position. Evans compared Kuechly to former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi.
“Luke Kuechly, and I think Tedy would probably agree with me, is more physically gifted than Tedy,” Evans said. “This kid just gets it. … There’s literally not a weak point to this kid’s game, and it’s just going to get a lot better.”
New England ran the ball during its last game against the Steelers, but achieving the same level of success against Kuechly and the Panthers’ impressive defensive line will be a daunting task.
“You’ve got a lot of pieces here where, if you can run the ball, this offense can grow into a Patriots offense that we’ve never even seen before that could maybe even be more spectacular than what we’ve seen in the past,” Evans said.
Evans, a member of the Dolphins in 2005, took on the issue of the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito bullying saga.
“Jonathan Martin, if you’re having mental issues, and you have to step away from the team, what are you doing at a Stanford game the other night, on national TV in front of hundreds of thousands of people?” Evans said. “When everything that will be exposed is exposed, I’m sure we’re probably going to see Jonathan Martin in a different light, we’ll probably see Richie Incognito in a different light, so to speak.”
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