I really don’t want to harp too much on the lack of offensive success during the preseason. We’re already well-versed in what we’ve seen. Would my writing be so casual if the Panthers had put on a huge show and finished the preseason with an undefeated record or gone 3-1…2-2, even? Probably not. I’d be pointing out all the good things that came of the preseason. While it’s not all doom-and-gloom for Carolina, which went 1-3 in the preseason, it’s always more difficult to feel good about something when you see the same errors every week, almost as if nothing was done during practices to correct those mistakes.
Maybe it’s some sort of illusion, and we’re going to see an offense that is in fact nipping on the heels of success of it’s defensive counterparts when the regular season opens. I wouldn’t have a problem with that. I love being proven wrong when the team performs better than what I’ve seen and read. But let’s be real. The offense failed to score once in four games! That’s got to be a team record!
Apparently, this offense has suffered immensely from the absence of three players.
I won’t deny that the lack of luxury play-makers like Steve Smith and Jonathan Stewart don’t go unnoticed. Same goes for right tackle Jeff Otah. These three are integral parts to the Panthers’ offensive machine. But yet again, no player stood out from the others at wide receiver or quarterback.
But I’m not going to hash through that again.
The regular season starts in a little more than one week, and ready or not, it’s coming up fast! The New York Giants will be a great first test for Carolina; kind of like jumping from the fire into the frying pan. Let’s all hope that THE Steve Smith’s arm is truly chump-proof in this first game, as fodder has already been spewed from both sides, while the New York media even had to run it’s typical big mouth.
Jonathan Stewart will be a welcome sight for sore eyes in this one, as well. Mike Goodson and some of the backup running backs fared pretty well throughout the preseason, but having our dynamic duo of Double Trouble — “DT” or backwards TouchDown — back together again, will really light up the Giants’ run defense.
An added bonus of course, will be the return of right tackle Jeff Otah, who is a key player in opening up running lanes for Carolina’s backfield.
Finally, I’ve thrown in the towel on Dwayne Jarrett. I gave him four opportunities to do something in four preseason games. While he did show a little improvement, it didn’t match the way he’d been hyping himself during OTA’s and training camp. But get used to him, as I’d be astounded if the Panthers sign a decent free agent wide receiver to supplant DJ. In all likeliness, Carolina’s going to “run what it brung.”
So it’s here, ladies and gents; the 2010 regular season is finally upon us. Preseason ’10 while mostly forgettable (defense aside), is behind us. Now wins and losses truly have a meaning.
Stay tuned next week, as I prepare to embarrass myself once again, with my game-by-game predictions for our Carolina Panthers.