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.


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.


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.


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).


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.”

Next Panthers Game View full schedule »
Thursday, Aug 2828 Aug7:30at Pittsburgh SteelersBuy Tickets

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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  • John

    Smith has set himself up for some of this “hate” as it were. He hasn’t exactly been a poster boy for good behavior. So it isn’t that surprising.

    With that said this is a tempest in a teapot and it isn’t worth all the ink it’s getting. In the big picture I don’t this is all that big a deal. As has been pointed out here it may well be a blessing in disguise. He gets a few less miles on his legs before the season and we get a real good look at the other guys vying to make the field. Boy do we have a lot of them to look at.

    On the rest of the article I am in agreement especially on the need for extended and active play by the QB and recievers.

    • Eric Quackenbush

      Other than two off-field incidents, I really don’t understand this cesspool of hate toward Smith. I guess success does breed jealousy and hate, especially when you’re able to talk the talk AND walk the walk.

  • John

    Other than that how’d you enjoy the play Mrs. Lincoln?

    One of thoe incidents but a guy in the hospital for several days and essentially ended his career. The other required surgery and put our starting CB on the shelf for several weeks. Lucas was never really the same IMO.

    Now I don’t hate Smith but I can see how others use those two incidents to justify their feelings. And Steve has no one to blame but himself for them. I think the vast majority of Pantherland wants to give Steve a pass. If he continues to work in the community and keeps his hands to himself until he retires most will only think of him running through secondaries making them look bad when his name comes up. Which is really the best any athlete can hope for, To be remembered for his prowess and not his foibles. It’s all up to Mr Smith if he gets that.

    • Eric Quackenbush

      I had to chuckle at your first question, which admittedly, was pretty bad of me.

      Nobody vilifies Muhammad anymore, and that’s because Smith is hands-down better than Moose, and practically every receiver in the NFL. And what Panther Nation thinks of Smith is what matters most. What fans of other teams think of him, to me, is nothing more than expressions stemming from jealousy. Because the second you say to an opposing fan, if Smith were a free agent, would you be happy if your team signed him? Almost always, the answer is yes.

  • John

    Oh yeah I agree most teams would love to have Smith and despite those past incidents if he were a free agent this year he wouldn’t be having the problems TO is getting employed. Not for a minute. And I am glad we have him as well. Just wanted to be sure that was clear. If the guy whose nose he broke can forgive him than why should anyone, including me, hold a grudge?

    And nobody vilifies Moose anymore not because of his talent level but because he really made a change. And on the talent issue he wasn’t as flashy but he has some good numbers. In fact better numbers in some areas than people in the hall. And I know he had a lost a step, when he didn’t have many to give, but I would have loved for him to go Ricky Proehl and play another season or two. Anyway as far as the public is concerned he matured, although, apparently Yasinkas still has some ax to grind with him. However nobody here in Charlotte does and I think he is respected by the other players in the league as well. And I am hopeful we see Smith going down that same road of really getting into helping in the community, mentoring the young guys and maturing. I would love to see Smitty rise above all the baggage and finish his career as a solid citizen Pantherland can celebrate without reservation.

    • Eric Quackenbush

      I think (I can’t say for certain) that Smith is beyond his decking teammates in the facial area days. That’s what he says, so for the last time I’ll believe him. There’s a saying which most folks are familiar, “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.” I like to take that one step further (for a third strike) and say “there won’t be a third time. Otherwise, you’re SOL and JWF.”

      I didn’t mean to portray that image on Moose; I too think highly of him, and he did the right things to rectify his “demons.”

      As it stands right now (IMO), Smith is a better man than his past portrays himself to be. He is still like a stick of dynamite, at least in interviews, but I think he will allow his bark to be worse than his bite from the Lucas incident until the end of his career.

  • J. Gore

    i agree with the comment that this maybe a blessing in disguise. we’re gonna have a better opportunity to evaluate our youth by them getting more reps while #89 is on the mend. know one wants to see a player hurt especially of his caliber. but it happened we deal with it and we move on. i’m sure most of the guys in that game were good friends with steve. it’s been mentioned as being an annual thing for them. put yourself in his shoes. if you were a multimillionaire do you mean to tell me you wouldn’t play a (FLAG) football game with your friends or a game of 21 on the court or a round of golf for that matter, for fear of being injured. if your answer was yes then i call bull s#@t. there’s no way those guys were coming after him near as hard as deangelo hall, ronde barber, asomougha, reevis or any other of the leagues db’s. it was an accident they happen. unless you lead a sheltered life. the media is reaching for anything they can get their hands on right now, whether it’s positive or negative. it’s a double standard. if he hadn’t got injured doing it and lets say it wasn’t at the ymca, instead he was at his local high school and lets say his high school were in lets see mississippi and he’s runnin routes with the youth in his neighborhood or catching passes from the hs qb, what would the media think of that? hmmm…. ?? what the media should have focused on more was the fact that clausen was there with him. our 2nd round draft pick is becoming good friends with our best receiver of all time. (anyone wanna argue that?) which doesn’t seem to be the case with moore. if i were moore every time someone seen smith they’d see me. they haven’t exactly had a lot of reps together. how many passes do you think jimmy and smitty have been working on together? my guess, the book. time will tell. were now just 11 days away.

    • Eric Quackenbush

      “what the media should have focused on more was the fact that clausen was there with him. our 2nd round draft pick is becoming good friends with our best receiver of all time.”

      Really?! I was not even aware of that. That’s good, though. I know there’s good going on between Clausen and Smith. When Clausen followed Smitty’s order to bring him Cactus Coolers from CA, Clausen followed order and that was the first step in the right direction. Clausen is not this monster that the media portrays him to be, but the media needed a “bad” guy so they could coo all over the “good” guy (Tim Tebow).

      We’re actually 10 days away as of this morning. I’ve been running late with my training camp countdown. :(

  • J. Gore

    (know one) LMAO

    • Eric Quackenbush

      Know many, but no one, lol.

  • J. Gore

    yeah eric it hink i read it on the observer or either bleacher report not sure. good stuff huh. i do believe that’s the only good thing i’ve heard anyone say about clausen other than ol chucky the qb lover himself and mel kiper who i think maybe his agent. not 100% on that. media always blows things way outa proportion. just ask T.O., not saying i would like to see him on our team but a great talent may go to waste largely in part due to the fact the media has picked over his career with a fine tooth comb. lookin for any discrepancies they could find so they could say uh ohh T.O.’s at it again. (sad) but jimmy is making the right steps toward being the qb of the future. and as far as not facing a pro style defense i think usc’s is about as close as a college qb can get. neither clausen or pike has a 2 digit interception stat over their last two seasons. i think that says alot about both of them. in jimmys defense you gotta win as a team but it only takes one guy to throw a pick and he hasn’t thrown many. come on hof game!!

    • John

      Well not to be picky but no USC isn’t even close to a pro caliber defense. The worst guys who start in the NFL were stars at their positions in college for the most part. So basically every NFL defense is the equivalent of facing the top of the college class at every position. That’s why even the worst NFL team would beat the best college team.

      Now I have nothing against Clausen. He may well turn out to be all that. Personally I think Pike has more upside but we’ll see. However there seems to be a large segment of the NFL community(not here but elsewhere) that want to anoint the guy before he has even played one preseason game. That I can’t get behind and it often seems it’s done as a knock on Moore.

      Speaking of Moore what’s all this defenses are going to figure him out crap I keep hearing? There isn’t a QB in the league who hasn’t got miles of tape on him. All of them are figured out to some degree or another. The question is can you stop them from executing. I mean Ryan hit a sophomore slump but I don’t hear anyone claiming he has been figured out and has to go. But he was a high draft pick so that’s OK I guess.

      Oh and Clausen wasn’t the only one at the game with Smith. So were some of our former players and a couple of the other receivers if I remember correctly. It sounded like a very competitive game.

      • Eric Quackenbush

        Ahh. I guess I’ll go backwards this time around, lol.

        I was aware that there were some other players present at the flag football tournament. I think Charly Martin was one there who is currently on the roster, but Clausen was the only one I wasn’t aware of.

        As for Moore, and defenses having figured him out, all I can say is that’s remarkable, considering he’s only started in five games. At the same time, in those five games, defensive coordinators have seen enough to present an effective game plan for defending against Moore. But you’re absolutely right, the defense still has to execute the defensive plays and call the right coverages. Unless of course, someone is recording the offensive signals…

        I also think that the majority of folks underestimating Moore are doing him a favor, by keeping him out of the spotlight. Most everyone’s figuring that by Week Five, Clausen will be the starter. Why? Because Fox wants to win games, of course. Well, as long as Moore is contributing and the team is winning games, do you really think Fox is that stupid to make a change? Apparently, people have forgotten how Fox operates with player personnel. I wouldn’t think for a moment, that he’s going to pull the plug on Moore, and I’m even hesitant about saying “unless Moore starts performing poorly (see Jake Delhomme),” in favor of a rookie quarterback. Do we really want to risk ruining this guy at the expense of maybe winning a few extra games?

        I too have nothing against Clausen, I think this team is extremely fortunate to have talent and potential in the form of three quarterbacks for certain, and possibly Hunter Cantwell as a fourth (not in any particular order).

  • J. Gore

    yes we’re lucky to have the talent we have and i can’t state this enough i wish them all the best of luck. no matter who ends up with the starting role i think we’re gonna be fine. and no way will fox pull moore for clausen as long as the ball stays in the offenses hands. as far as the defense thing goes John, i wasn’t saying that usc’s was pro caliber just as close as a college qb can get to facing one. alabama took their place this year but sc’s was still pretty tough. can’t believe i just complimented the trojans. lol let me rectify that GO HEELS!! and GO PANTHERS!!

    • Eric Quackenbush

      Now, I don’t mind you sharing your opinions on here, J. But easy on the exclamation used before “GO PANTHERS.” Not really, just wanted to add that to be contrary.

      As for complimenting USC; earlier this evening on my radio show, we were discussing Troy Smith of the Ravens, and were also talking about where he went to college — Ohio State — and also realized that in ’07, Smith and OSU lost to USC in the BCS National Championship game. Of the two programs which I generally loathe, I was happy for USC that time, lol.

      • J. Gore

        lol eric’s either a state fan or duke fan. it’s ok man. we’ll pray for you. nah all jokes aside i’m not that big on the inner state rivalries. just keep it in the carolinas. i’ll give butch davis a call though and tell him to get the defense to take it easy on our fellow carolinians this year. lol

        • Eric Quackenbush

          I’m not huge on the inner-state rivals, either. More of a State fan…Penn State that is, lol.

          Man, Butch Davis. I forgot all about him, since he was no longer employed by the Browns.

  • John

    I can’t see Clausen starting this season unless one of two things happen. Moore just sucks ala Jake and we have nothing to lose or Moore gets injured and we have no choice. That’s it. This is still John Fox and he isn’t going to change that much regardless. He will not feel like his best chance to win is an untested rookie. I mean he kept a guy on the bench we had won games with despite the obvious issues Jake was having until injury struck. Minus that injury he may well have played Jake the whole way. And this guy is going to put in a rookie who has never played a game to “save his job”? Not in this lifetime.

    As for college fandom I support App and The U personally.

    • Eric Quackenbush

      I completely agree, and I still feel that Moore is an improvement over Delhomme. I really feel that barring injury, he sees a full season as the starting QB. Which is good for Clausen, because it allows him time to learn the offense and become accustomed to the pro style of defense.

      App’s cool. The U, well…I have a different opinion on them, which I’ll keep to myself. Their uniforms look cool, though.

      • John

        On The U their thug rep is largely a media by product. And they did give us a couple of pretty good players. I am a native South Floridian so I come by my fandom naturally. But I understand opinions vary, no problem.

        • Eric Quackenbush

          Hey, it’s not like every program doesn’t have it’s player problems. My Penn State teams have had some players with character issues. Some are lucky to be in the NFL to begin with, few are lucky to still be in the NFL.