I love stories like this.
Lowe’s, please sit here. Bank of America, sit here. Mr. Millionaire, you’ll be seated here in the front row.
That was the scene as the Carolina Panthers hosted their annual Countdown to Kickoff Luncheon at the Charlotte Conventions Center. Then the team gave those gathered at this occasion a meal. Yes! A meal. In this case it was chicken, rice and green beans.
I thought it was a serious faux pas to feed your team’s supporters green beans and rice. I’ve consulted my copy of Emily Post’s book and I can find nothing on it so I suppose the team probably had no one leave with their sensibilities upset.
I digress. There were speeches given and lots of positive energy. Players and coaches alike displayed a tremendous amounts of confidence and opitimism.
“I’m sitting there watching the first offense and I got a smile and thought, ‘Hey, this is really cool; I’ve got a quarterback!’” John Fox said. “No offense to anybody else. But it’s important to have a guy that’s been there, that has the confidence of the team — not just on offense, but the whole football team — that’s been with you for a long time, and is a great leader.”
Ouch, ouch!!! Double ouch! That has to make Matt Moore, Vinny Testaverde and The Glove feel really good about themselves. I assure you, they aren’t exactly feeling the love today.
“I really like this football team,” Fox said. “We went out and made changes and found what we call ‘our kind of guys,’ guys that have high football character, that understand what it means to compete Sunday after Sunday.”
If this team is made up of guys like we’ve been told that ’03 team included they have a chance – no bickering, all of them got along and everyone just did their jobs. Let’s hope this group has all of that in spades.
“I know I keep saying this, but I like this football team. We’ve got the right guys,” Jake Delhomme said. “We really do. We got better by addition, but mainly we got better by subtraction through this off-season. We’re doing the right things.”
Is this for real or is Jake just towing the company line? Is he selling us on this or is he already sold on this group of guys?
“I think we’re a lot further along this year than we were last year at this point,” Delhomme said. “Getting Moose back this off-season was huge not only for myself but for the running game and for Steve (Smith). For the last couple of years it has been a one-man show. It’s very simple, Steve was a one-man show and we had to get on his coattails and let him take us as far as we could.”
There are detractors who say that getting Moose back was nothing to crow about. Jake knows what he’s talking about. Those other people are wrong. Moose will be a leader, he’ll contribute and then the crow can be served to all of those “experts” who think they know something. I can’t wait.
Delhomme feels like with the offensive line the Panthers have now – they added Jeff Otah through the draft, Keydrick Vincent in free agency and retained the services of Jordan Gross and Travelle Wharton – and with a stronger running game the Panthers are bound for good things this season on offense.
“I think we’re making strides,” he said. “I’m very excited what we can do offensively. I think the passing game we can do some extremely good things. But I’m anxious to watch (running backs) DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart run. I’m anxious to see their ability.
“I think this will be a true test (against Washington) to really see their abilities. But we’re light years ahead up front (on the line) than we have been in recent years.”
If I’ve said this once I’ve said it a million times – the Panthers want to be the big tough kid on the block, the bully who takes the other kids’ money. If the offensive line has that ability, there will be a lot of crying defensive coordinators around the league.
“The potential on this defense is unreal,” Chris Harris said. “As y’all know, I came from Chicago, where we had a pretty good defense. I like this defense better than Chicago’s.”
Those are huge comments from Harris! That Chicago defense was unbelievable. To compare this group with that one is absolutely huge. I sure hope Harris doesn’t have to eat any crow.
“When I was a rookie in 2003 we went to the Super Bowl and the thing I remember most about that was the way the locker room felt and how comfortable it was and how the locker room felt… We just had that cohesiveness to us and that is something I really feel on this team. Knowing what I know about that team, I don’t think there is any reason we shouldn’t go as far we want to – all the way to Tampa,” said Jordan Gross.
All the way to Tampa? Is that possible? Put up or shut up time arrives the first week of September.