What Do You Like About This Year’s Carolina Panthers?

Carolina Panthers fullback Brad Hoover watches play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on ESPN Monday Night Football Nov. 13, 2006 in Charlotte. The Panthers won 24 - 10. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

I had a couple of “okay” topics in mind to write about today. At the last minute I changed my mind, because I thought of something else in which I want to get you, the reader, involved in.

Yes, it’s about the Panthers. Why else would you be here, right?

All offseason — or to some extent of it, we’ve harped on the things we didn’t like, that the front office changed.

We saw longtime fullback Brad Hoover get released, Jake Delhomme was also released, Julius Peppers was allowed to become an unrestricted free agent, and Chris Harris was traded away.

Of course there were others who some of us may have felt or believed would have still been beneficial to keep around, but it’s all in the past now.

Rather than dwell on the past (I really helped by bringing it up agan), what additions or addition-by-subtraction did the Panthers make that you favored? What changes within the organization did you find acceptable?

For me, there are a few. Four, to be exact.

The release of Delhomme was kind of surprising to me. I, along with most fans, believed it would be a true competition between Matt Moore and Delhomme in 2010. Suffice it to say, it won’t be. But I’m not broken up by it. I liked what I saw from Moore late last season. He showed leadership, poise, and had the sense to get rid of the ball rather than take a sack.

The release of Delhomme was an addition-by-subtraction. Throwing 18 interceptions is totally unacceptable. He also took the sack too many times if he couldn’t find one man open in the passing game, which is utter nonsense. Once Moore stepped in as the staring QB, one could easily notice how the ball was being spread around a lot more.

Julius Peppers. A longtime Carolina Panther; selected in the first-round of the 2002 NFL Draft, made Chicago his new home during the offseason. I wrote a little bit yesterday how until now, Peppers has always been a “Carolina man.”In the sense, that he’s played all of his football in his home state.

This is another simple case of addition-by-subtraction, but his stats are what muddles things up for fans, thus causing mass confusion at times.

Earlier in the offseason, I looked into his stats from 2009, to see where he put up some of his bigger numbers and better performances. They were generally against weaker opponents, or during primetime games. The primetime games had the better performances. This guy was obviously showing up to more or less show out for potential suitors in the offseason. the rest of the time (most 1 pm games), he was rarely to be found.

Enter Everette Brown. In no way do I think that Brown will put up the kind of numbers Julius Peppers did. There will be one thing different — a huge difference — between Brown and Peppers. Brown will go at it on every down, and give it his all. He might not put up 10 sacks in a season, but fans will be impressed and pleased with his tenacious play. And if the other defensive end gives it his all as well, the Panthers will look pretty good at that position.

A lot of folks made a big deal about the trade of Chris Harris. Again, it was a move that surprised me more than anything, but when I looked at who was going to be taking his place, I kind of shrugged my shoulders, nodded my head, and said “okay.”

Whether it’s Sherrod Martin or Charles Godfrey who take over the spot vacated by Harris, this team is in no danger at the safety position. The panthers were in greater need of depth at linebacker than safety, and Martin or Godfrey is more than capable of stepping into that role.

The latest I read elsewhere, was the Panthers will probably take a look at Godfrey at strong safety, and allow Martin to take over at the free safety position, as that’s where he excelled at Troy. Good stuff, I say.

Aside from the defensive line, the fullback position grabs my attention and curiosity a little bit, as well. When Carolina released Brad Hoover, I do believe most of us were either in shock or left scratching our heads.

Tony Fiammetta, a draft pick from the 2009 NFL Draft, will be taking over for “Hoov.” I wasn’t overly impressed with Fiammetta last season, but being it was his rookie year and he had a full season to learn the position from one of the best fullbacks in the league, there’s little reason why his game shouldn’t be better this year. He has the size. That’s not a question, but ball security seemed to be something of an issue during practices last season.

The Panthers also signed undrafted rookie free agent RaShawn Jackson out of the University of Virginia, who was the No. 2 rated fullback going into the 2010 NFL Draft. The kid has some nice moves, and could also contribute should Carolina decide to have two active fullbacks on it’s roster. Otherwise, we could see him placed on the practice squad.

Last but not least, Carolina decided not to re-sign longtime (excluding the two-year hiatus to Chicago) wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad. This was a move that neither surprised nor upset me. I always liked Moose; I had a profound respect for his skill on the field, but last year he actually irritated me on a few occasions.

Prime(time) example: Monday night game against the Dallas Cowboys. Jake Delhomme decided to have another of his funky passing and getting sacked games, so when he actually threw a very catch-able pass to Muhammad, the guy didn’t even attempt to reach into the air to make the grab. All he had to do was lift his arms — not even do an acrobatic Steve Smith jump. But he decided to go T-Rex arms, and let the ball get intercepted.

So the Panthers addressed the need at receiver 10-fold. There are something like 11 receivers competing for the second, third, and perhaps fourth receiver positions.

If I were given a choice of who the Panthers were to keep (which has been a big topic lately) in addition to Steve Smith at the receiver position, I’d say Brandon LaFell, Dwayne Jarrett, Dexter Jackson, and Armanti Edwards. Five receivers.

So please share your thoughts on my opinion, and feel free to offer your own!

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Tags: 2010 NFL Draft @THECatCrave Armanti Edwards Brad Hoover Brandon LaFell Carolina Panthers Charles Godfrey Chris Harris Dallas Cowboys Dexter Jackson Dwayne Jarrett Everette Brown Facebook FanSided Jake Delhomme Julius Peppers Matt Moore Muhsin Muhammad NFL Rashawn Jackson Sherrod Martin Steve Smith Tony Fiammetta Troy Twitter University Of Virginia

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  • Jacob

    I think we should keep Kenny Moore too.Can’t wait till next season!!!

    • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/blitzradio Eric Quackenbush

      Kenny Moore could very well step up during training camp and preseason, too. A change at QB really opens up the field and a lot of possibilities at the receiver position.

      Thanks for the read and comment, Jacob.

  • John

    I like a lot about this team this year. I think that other than Hoover and perhaps Muhammad, we didn’t let anyone go who could contribute more than the guy replacing them. Yes Peppers got stats when he wanted but he didn’t always want. Harris has lost a step and could no longer cover as much ground as he needed to. Even Hoov, whom we all loved, has taken such a beating it was catching up to him. I will say though it would have been dirt cheap to let him mentor one more year and retire as a Panther. Kasay is still here, he costs more than Hoov and we regularly have to carry an extra player to cover his deficiencies. That position needs to be addressed but escaped the youth movement ax. Guy has the most secure job in the NFL but should he?

    I like our young guys on the D. I think we may have got a draft day win or two there. I like the young guys at safety I think we got better against the pass with them back there. I like the attempt to finally find a number two and three receiver for this team. Could someone tell Fox you are allowed to run a slot receiver? Not sure he knows it’s legal.

    I like Matt Moore. I was surprised Jake went but only because of the contract. I fully expected him to be the vet backup. I think Moore is more than capable of being a good QB in this league for years to come. Is he the second coming of Peyton? Probably not, but who is? Not sure it’s Clausen although so many in the media seem to be hanging on his jock. Can we wait to anoint him until he has won a real game or two?

    This team has a great young core of stars. We have a very good O-line with quality depth. We have the best RB tandem in the NFL. This team has the potential to be a playoff team, we’ll see if they can get there. There is a lot to like here and I am very up for this season

    • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/blitzradio Eric Quackenbush

      Good stuff, John.

      I like the youth on the defensive side of the ball, and really the trending young philosophy, overall. I look at who we’ve had at quarterback the past seven years, and I just have a feeling that we’ll see a little more from the passing game this year than we’ve seen in years past. I don’t think Moore is the second coming of Manning either, but so far he seems to be a step above Jake Delhomme.

      And to add a little more to your closing paragraph, this team has never had back-to-back losing seasons under John Fox.

  • Gup

    For years I’ve had my doubts about some of the position coaches on the team–recievers, mostly–that they weren’t transitioning guys properly into the NFL. They bring these kids in with huge potential and they fall short. So, one of the things I’m most excited about is Tyke Tolbert.

    I think Williamson was probably too old school to be able to deal with the young guys today. The Bear Bryant school of thought isn’t going to reach people from the texting, tweeting, facebooking, everything-a-mouse-click away generation. A younger guy, with a fresh, or at least newer, perspective on the position could bode well for the stable of young talent they have. Hell, maybe even Jarrett will end up being the new version of Keyshawn, like he was billed as after being drafted.

    And you have to think, if Williamson was a hard-ass like his former coach, he and Smitty probably clashed quite often. What kind of damage can a revitalized Steve Smith do to opposing defenses…another triple crown season?

    • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/blitzradio Eric Quackenbush

      Like I said to a commenter in another post in regard to Jarrett, I like what I’ve heard and read about him so far this offseason, and I liked what I saw from him late last season, too.

      I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with the change of receivers coach. It seemed to me that the receiving core’s plays had grown stale in recent years.

      Thanks for the read and good comment, Gup.