Welcome to the 2nd edition of Friday Fan Mail! I’m your host, Bobby Agnese. I’ve compiled inquiries from the best Panthers fans on the web, and have answered the questions you’ve been dying to know. It’s the Q&A you can look forward to every Friday. Lets get started:
Justin Caudle asks: “Will the Panthers 6th round draft pick Tyler Gaffney have what it takes to make the 53 man roster?”
Tyler Gaffney is an intriguing prospect, and has already been established as a dark horse by the fan base. Carolina has always loved their powerhouse backs, and Gaffney fits the bill. We haven’t seen a lot from the 6th round pick out of Stanford this offseason, as he went back to Stanford after the Draft to finish his senior year. That being said, Rivera and co. like what they have seen from him. I believe he’ll make the 53 simply because he provides talent on special teams that the Panthers desperately need. With four other backs getting touches in the crowded Carolina backfield, it’s unlikely we’ll see Gaffney take the hand-off from Cam in the backfield often.
Christopher Lofton asks: “Do you believe that this is DeAngelo Williams, Greg Hardy, or Charles Johnson‘s last season?
I think I speak for all of us when I say that hopefully none of these guys leave after the 2014 season. However, the NFL is a business, and tough decisions have to be made. Thanks to sticky contract situations, Williams and Johnson probably won’t be going anywhere. Hardy, however, is a completely different story.
The Pro Bowl defensive-end is set to be a free agent after the 2014 season, and the money he warrants may be too much for Dave Gettleman to dish out. A recent domestic abuse charge doesn’t help his case, and if The Kraken gets suspended, it’s likely 2014 will be his last season with the Panthers. Owner Jerry Richardson firmly believes that talent isn’t worth trouble.
Annie Tallire asks: “Who is the toughest opponent the Panthers will have to face in 2014?
I’m sure I’m all alone on this, but I see Carolina having it’s toughest battle of 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. If the Panthers were facing Andy Dalton and crew at Bank of America Stadium, it’d be a different story. Unfortunately, Carolina has the displeasure of traveling to Paul Brown Stadium on October 12th. The Bengals are absolutely deadly at home, and are one of the few teams who are completely loaded on both sides of the ball. Cam Newton will have a lot of trouble scoring on their defense, and it’ll be a low-scoring, physical gridiron matchup.
George Killette asks: “How is Brandon Williams coming along?
Ah yes, Brandon Williams. Perhaps the most popular bench warmer since the notorious Armanti Edwards. Unlike Edwards,
however, Williams has the opportunity to make a big impact.
In OTA’s and mini-camp, Williams was an absolute force on the field. He has stepped his game in a big way since 2013, proving himself as a threat both with his hands and in the blocking game. Rivera is impressed, and if it weren’t for Ed Dickson’s seniority, Williams would already be running away with the 2nd tight-end position.
Imagining Williams lining up across from Olsen in two tight-end sets is a beautiful thing, and hopefully it’ll become a reality in the regular season. I expect the sophomore tight-end to make a big impact in upcoming training camp.
That’s a wrap! I want to thank all of you very much for submitting all of your questions for the second edition of Friday Fan Mail! Make sure you tune in next week, and if you have any questions you’d like me to answer next Friday, be sure to contact me through Facebook, or Twitter @bobbyagnese.