If you are one of the great CatCrave.com faithful who have been around the block, then I am sure you know of the lists I post after every game the Panthers play. If you are one of the new devotees to the site, new for this season at least, then let me explain since this is the resurrection of one of the best series on the interwebs.
After every Panther game I, Tony Cardwell, post five positives or negatives about the game depending on the outcome. Obviously a loss would mean a negative list while a win would mean a positive list. Now for the pre-season, I’m leaving the list as a place to put just my observations, good or bad, since the games do not go on any final record and have no playoff implications. Along with that, I am adding a Random Notes section at the bottom to lighten the mood and provide some pretty humorous stories.
David Gettis – Holy Schnikes. There has been a whirlwind of awful news around Gettis during this year’s camp. Before the pre-season games actually started, every other day twitter reports would come from camp mentioning Gettis’s lack of speed, bad hands, poor route running skills, and honestly just piss poor performances from the rookie standout of the 2010 season. That obviously has not been the case in the past two pre-season games. He has set himself apart by leading the team in yards AND receptions in BOTH games. Gettis was showing great speed as well as great hands, a turn-around grab on a bad throw from Derek Anderson being my personal favorite. With his performance so far I would not be surprised if he comes in as the Panthers fifth, fourth, or even the third receiver on the roster, and I really hope he does, I am definitely in the Gettis camp.
Josh Norman – Again, Holy Schnikes. We knew he has been working hard in the offseason, but this immediate improvement was extremely unexpected. Three INT’s this pre-season as well as some really solid, physical plays on receivers, before and after the ball is caught. He is my pick for a starter alongside Drayton Florence, with Munnerlyn and Moore getting heavy reps. I see no need to continue praising Norman, his level of play speaks for itself.
Graham Gano – Not going to spend too much time on him either. His accuracy has been on point and his leg strength is unrivaled. The kicking spot is all his.
Kawann Short, Star Lotulelei, and Kenjon Barner – I am surprised by these three guys. I expected a lot more from them. Barner has loads of speed, but his butterfingers might seemingly put him in the dog house, similar to Joe Adams last year. Two fumbles and a muffed punt in two pre-season games are not exactly great stats to have. Along with underwhelming players, Star and Kawann have not been as productive as I thought they would have been. The D-Line has been putting a ton of pressure on opposing QB’s but I expected more. Don’t get me wrong, the line is playing well; I just expected more is all, a sack or two from the starters and maybe a fumble in the backfield. They are winning the war in the trenches, so in all honesty they are getting their job done.
Offensive Play calling – Compared to Eagles offensive plays the Panthers own plays were atrocious. DeAngelo was stuffed multiple times at the line and, the Eagles secondary consistently read the receiving routes in time to apply great coverage as well as break up multiple passes. Ted Ginn’s wide open reception was the only exception. I was impressed with Cam however. On multiple occasions he “threaded the needle” to Olsen and Smith while the Corners and Linebackers were draped over their backs. Shula needs to show some real chops soon to convert me into a believer. However, Shula’s preparation with Newton has been astounding. Cam’s presence in the pocket was increasingly better than vet Mike Vick’s in comparison. And the plays weren’t all bad. The running game got started early on and though there were some afore mentioned stuffs at the line, the running game was extremely successful. So I’m trying to say things were a mixed bag, but that was to be expected with a first year OC.
Random Notes: Every time I see Brenton Bersin I am reminded of Remember the Titans, for Bersin looks exactly like Sunshine. More importantly I am reminded of the team singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” in the locker room.
The team has shown a lot in these past few weeks, and the positives outweigh the negatives. I look forward to the future with this team, as I do believe they have the prowess to turn some heads with a run in the playoffs.