One of our fellow Panther fans, Austin Penny, from www.BleacherReport.com wrote up a nice article detailing what will make or break Carolina in 2009 outlined by 7 key points. The following is a response to those 7 keys to Carolina’s success in 2009…
7. Dwayne Jarrett: If Jarrett is going to pull a “Roddy White,” then this would be the year to do it. Absolutely. I think this is an interesting point because I’m more intrigued at the handful of guys who are fighting for Dwayne Jarrett’s job than I am necessarily at what Dwayne Jarrett will or won’t do. I think one or two, or three of those guys may still be on the roster halfway through the season and, depending on how heated that competition gets, one of those guys is bound to make himself more prepared than Dwayne Jarrett.
6. The Secondary: Coming into the offseason (aside from the obvious, which I’ll get to in a second) the secondary was the biggest question mark. Carolina released Ken Lucas and drafted two corners, Sherrod Martin and Captain Munnerlyn. That tells me that the coaching staff must not have too much faith in Richard Marshall; well, at least not any more faith than I had watching him get cold-smoked last year along with getting occasional severely stupid penalties. I expect to see one of the rookies and C.J. Wilson challenge Marshall and possibly take over at corner or nickel.
5. Tight-Ends: Depending on the TE and opposing defense, a pass-catching tight end can barbeque a team. Dante Rosario was a Charger killer in Carolina’s opening game of 2008. I’m content with Carolina’s tight ends, but a little concerned about opposing TEs in the NFC South. Jeremy Shockey can be a monster when he isn’t injured or inebriated, Kellen Winslow is maybe the best young TE in the league (although Tampa has no QB), and Tony Gonzalez is going to be a nightmare to play twice a year.
4. Double Trouble: Both DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart will rush for over a thousand yards apiece this season. But I have a question for Panther fans: What about Triple Trouble? Check out Mike Goodson here….
3. Jake Delhomme: While I am neither a Delhomme critic or Delhomme fan, I am one of those guys who really would have liked to see Carolina make a run for Matt Cassell or Jay Cutler. Many football analysts do not believe in Delhomme. I would like to see Delhomme prove them all wrong-he needs to redeem himself…in the meantime, I’ll try to have a sense of humor.
2. Ron Meeks: The defense may very well resemble Carolina’s defense we saw in 2003 with Meeks calling the shots…Especially since Jon Beason is buying into the system. I think the biggest winner in the Carolina drafting Everette Brown situation may be Julius Peppers…He and Everette Brown together may turn out to be a quarterback’s worst nightmare.
1. Julius Peppers: I strongly believe Pep will play this upcoming season. He is one of the best players in the NFL, period. His teammates will not care what Pep or his agent say as long as he is terrorizing the offense. With Peppers in a Carolina uniform, all 7 of these key points to Carolina’s success in 2009 become much more realistic. I guess that’s why Julius Peppers is referred to as a game-changer…
Again, check out Austin’s work here, if you want to see the article that I’m referring to. Later I will post my own “Keys to Carolina Success” thing.