Pre-Season Preview and 89's Statue


Do you realize that we are less than a month away from seeing our beloved Panthers hit the field?

Albeit a pre-season game, I am still pretty stoked so I thought, “Why not a Pre-Season Preview?” So here we go.

I look forward to it and these are the reasons why.

Disclaimer: I understand that this is Pre-Season and the whole thing is entirely different and abnormal.

Quarterbacks:

For the first time in quite a while, we have a genuine quarterback battle going on. Or at the very least I feel like we do.

As it stands now, Matt Moore is the starter so I do expect him to see a bit more playing time than Jake Delhomme was given in the pre-season. Now defenses are a bit more prepared for him so we will get a better idea how he will fare. Let’s not even discuss how he has yet to be given ANY credit for his terrific play last year. I hope that this will continue.

Jimmy Clausen who is supposed to be “The most NFL Ready” QB of this year’s Draft. We’ll have to see if he is ready for the speed of the NFL. Facing the defenses of the New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, and Pittsburgh Steelers, he had better be.

And let’s see Tony Pike in something other than a spread — and is Hunter Cantwell as underrated as they say?

Running backs:

Let Double Trouble play just long enough to break the rust off the hinges, but I want to see fullback Tony Fiametta get a lot of reps. I think we have a lot at stake with him and he has to be ready for Week One. A lot of people who “preview” the Panthers overlooked the loss of Brad Hoover, so, Tony Fiametta has got to be up to the task.

Has running back Mike Goodson learned how to hold on to the ball? Might fellow RB Tyrelle Sutton be prepared for more game time? By the way, if you do not follow Tyrelle Sutton on Twitter, I must say he is pretty entertaining. Follow him.

Recievers:

PUT THEM TO WORK. For the preseason, I want to see lots of pass plays. (For the QB’s too) While Smitty is healing up, put these guys in the fire. And I am really ready to see what Armanti Edwards is going to bring us.

Defensive Line:

Here is where we are all concerned. We all know there will be a rotation, so we will get some idea of how the depth will work out. I still say there will be a drop off with the loss of what’s-his-face, but not as severe as some make it out to be.

Linebackers:

Jamar Williams and Eric Norwood are the ones to watch here. I dont think anyone is sure where Norwood will settle in at, but this will be intresting to see. And yes, I shook my head typing this thinking about TD (Thomas Davis for you novices).

Secondary:

One of the things that aggrivated me about last year’s pre-season, was seeing the Meeks’ scheme appear to correct itself as the game progressed and not being sure if this was because the quality of the opponents was dropping off or if this was genuine. Turns out it was the latter, so I am looking forward to seeing our youth take it over.

And finally, I want to see who will emerge as a Returner. Here is another battle I see turning out better than expected. It has to.

And one more thing I want to hit on before I go:

So, the report is that 89 may be healing faster than expected and could return sooner. This is indeed good news, however it has also triggered the “89 haters” naturally. So I was perusing an article this morning suggesting that Smith should be heavily fined. While I am still of the mind that he made a mistake here, I think it is time to give this an honest look and consider what happened as well as what is going on all over the league.

First of all, I think the label “thug” is going way too far. This was a dumb accident. It is not like he was on a motorcycle, or driving while impaired or involved in a domestic dispute. Also, you will have to convince me that he is the only player out playing in a pick-up game. There are a lot more dangerous activities which players engage in. For instance I think Jordan Gross is involved in farming during the offseason and lives in a rural area. I can tell you there are lots of ways to get seriously injured by accident. Should he stop farming? Do we start fining players when they get involved in traffic accidents whether or not they are deemed to be at fault?

Where does it end?

It was a dumb accident. Smith should not have been there playing. It was not a criminal activity and players are out there on their own time, doing more dangerous things than Flag Football every single day; so for goodness sakes, let’s just let this rest.

For the haters, this is what I want to see. Let’s go ahead and just get Smitty’s statue up on the Ring of Honor. You know one is coming anyway, so let’s make it one for the haters to enjoy, as well. In the words of the lovely LadyN RedskinFan, “Haters gonna hate.” Let’s make it a statue of his run into the endzone on that epic night in Saint Louis. And since he is a lightning rod, let’s have it where his numbers light up for every one to see. 89 after all, is (the) ” Bottom Line.”

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Tags: Armanti Edwards Brad Hoover Carolina Panthers Double Trouble Greg Norwood Hunter Cantwell Jamal Williams Jimmy Clausen Matt Moore Mike Goodson Pre-Season Ron Meeks Steve Smith Tony Fiametta Tony Pike Tyrelle Sutton

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