Carolina Panthers Hit Rock-Bottom in Latest Ranking

The old saying goes, when you hit rock bottom you’ve got two ways to go: straight up, or maintain consistency. I think there was a song devoted to such, as well. The war against moron bloggers must go on, however.

The Carolina Panthers are receiving no love this offseason; the drafting of Notre Dame product Jimmy Clausen, was a seven-day flash in the pan, and it’s back to mediocrity and in some cases, less-than. Thus far, according to Jason Cole of  Yahoo! Sports, the Panthers are the equivalent of the Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders, Detroit Lions, et al through various years.

The latest ranking was “deserved” due mainly in part because of the departure of defensive end Julius Peppers. My, how much persuasion a “JAN” — Just A Name — holds.

I know the Panthers’ defensive line is quite young and by and large, unproven. However, it did put up some respectable numbers as the 2009 season wore on, Julius Peppers aside. What especially makes Cole’s analysis moronic however, was the insistence of using Kris Jenkins in the explanation of why Carolina’s defensive line is so terrible.

32. Carolina Panthers: How the mighty have fallen. A few years ago, the Panthers had a brutally tough line featuring Julius Peppers and Kris Jenkins. No, they have try-hard guy Tyler Brayton to go with a bunch of JAGs (Just A Guy) like Nick Hayden, Louis Leonard and Everette Brown. Rookie Greg Hardy has potential, but he needs to get his head on straight. –Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports

Kris Jenkins was a force to be reckoned with — when he wasn’t crying on the sideline or carrying on with opposing teams’ fans about his weight issue.

And what’s the problem with having a “try-hard guy?” I’d rather have “try-hard guy” than “sit-on-my-ass and play-when-I-want-to-guy.” At least I know that “try-hard guy” is going to give it his all on every down, and he’s also not a greedy prima-donna. The latter of the two is a piece of trash. The Panthers got rid of all the trash — good, bad, or indifferent — this offseason.

Let’s see how King Cole ranks the rest of the division.

Ranked at No. 8, the New Orleans Saints:

8. New Orleans Saints: The Saints don’t have one defensive lineman who makes you say “wow,” but they have a lot of very good players, such as end Will Smith, tackle Sedrick Ellis and versatile backup Anthony Hargrove. The group is diverse enough that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams felt comfortable using a lot of 3-4 looks in the Super Bowl. Former Bears end Alex Brown joins the defending champs this season, replacing Bobby McCray, and should be a moderate upgrade.

I really don’t know a whole lot about these guys, so I’m not going to spew forth like a sewer hole. I do know that they were an integral cog to New Orleans’ run to the Super Bowl. Can the team muster the same ability to make a run for No. 2? We’ll see. Most of the team remains intact.

Next Cole ranked the Atlanta Falcons at 14:

14. Atlanta Falcons: End John Abraham is not quite what he used to be, but he’s still a great speed rusher off the edge. The problem is that the Falcons don’t have enough interior help to get Abraham into more pass-rush situations. That was particularly true after they lost rookie tackle Peria Jerry last year to injury. If Jerry returns, he makes everybody better, even end Jamaal Anderson, a guy who is keeping his head just barely above water. Barely!

I personally don’t see what the Falcons did for Cole — closet Falcons fan — to justify being ranked 14th overall. So, we’ll see. Until then, there’s one more to go. Where do the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rank in all of this?

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OK, I have to admit right from the start that the Bucs don’t have an end who is worth mentioning (they have placeholders in Tim Crowder and Stylez G White, but you have to love what the Bucs did with their first two picks in the draft, taking tackle Gerald McCoy and then following up with Brian Price. If they can milk another year out of veteran Chris Hovan, at least the Bucs won’t get run over and through as they did last season (league-worst 158.2 yards per game). Furthermore, McCoy may have Warren Sapp-like impact in that he could make those around him much better, making it easier to find good ends.

So, the Panthers have try-hard guy among a bunch of JAG’s — Just-A-Guy’s, but from the start, the Bucs have no end who is worth mentioning — “placeholders,” being what Cole termed Tim Crowder and Stylez White. Wouldn’t this justify “try-hard guy” and “Just-A-Guy’s” being better than “placeholders?”

As I always say, I don’t have a problem with the rankings, they are more or less secondary to the reasoning behind the ranking. It just goes to show that Cole must write a one-a-day paragraph on each team, and forgets where he ranked the previous teams and what he said about them, because man, does he contradict himself throughout these travesties he has written.

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Topics: Carolina Panthers, Defensive Line Rankings, Jason Cole, NFL, Yahoo Sports

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