What Do You Like About This Year’s Carolina Panthers?


I had a couple of “okay” topics in mind to write about today. At the last minute I changed my mind, because I thought of something else in which I want to get you, the reader, involved in.

Yes, it’s about the Panthers. Why else would you be here, right?

All offseason — or to some extent of it, we’ve harped on the things we didn’t like, that the front office changed.

We saw longtime fullback Brad Hoover get released, Jake Delhomme was also released, Julius Peppers was allowed to become an unrestricted free agent, and Chris Harris was traded away.

Of course there were others who some of us may have felt or believed would have still been beneficial to keep around, but it’s all in the past now.

Rather than dwell on the past (I really helped by bringing it up agan), what additions or addition-by-subtraction did the Panthers make that you favored? What changes within the organization did you find acceptable?

For me, there are a few. Four, to be exact.

The release of Delhomme was kind of surprising to me. I, along with most fans, believed it would be a true competition between Matt Moore and Delhomme in 2010. Suffice it to say, it won’t be. But I’m not broken up by it. I liked what I saw from Moore late last season. He showed leadership, poise, and had the sense to get rid of the ball rather than take a sack.

The release of Delhomme was an addition-by-subtraction. Throwing 18 interceptions is totally unacceptable. He also took the sack too many times if he couldn’t find one man open in the passing game, which is utter nonsense. Once Moore stepped in as the staring QB, one could easily notice how the ball was being spread around a lot more.

Julius Peppers. A longtime Carolina Panther; selected in the first-round of the 2002 NFL Draft, made Chicago his new home during the offseason. I wrote a little bit yesterday how until now, Peppers has always been a “Carolina man.”In the sense, that he’s played all of his football in his home state.

This is another simple case of addition-by-subtraction, but his stats are what muddles things up for fans, thus causing mass confusion at times.

Earlier in the offseason, I looked into his stats from 2009, to see where he put up some of his bigger numbers and better performances. They were generally against weaker opponents, or during primetime games. The primetime games had the better performances. This guy was obviously showing up to more or less show out for potential suitors in the offseason. the rest of the time (most 1 pm games), he was rarely to be found.

Enter Everette Brown. In no way do I think that Brown will put up the kind of numbers Julius Peppers did. There will be one thing different — a huge difference — between Brown and Peppers. Brown will go at it on every down, and give it his all. He might not put up 10 sacks in a season, but fans will be impressed and pleased with his tenacious play. And if the other defensive end gives it his all as well, the Panthers will look pretty good at that position.

A lot of folks made a big deal about the trade of Chris Harris. Again, it was a move that surprised me more than anything, but when I looked at who was going to be taking his place, I kind of shrugged my shoulders, nodded my head, and said “okay.”

Whether it’s Sherrod Martin or Charles Godfrey who take over the spot vacated by Harris, this team is in no danger at the safety position. The panthers were in greater need of depth at linebacker than safety, and Martin or Godfrey is more than capable of stepping into that role.

The latest I read elsewhere, was the Panthers will probably take a look at Godfrey at strong safety, and allow Martin to take over at the free safety position, as that’s where he excelled at Troy. Good stuff, I say.

Aside from the defensive line, the fullback position grabs my attention and curiosity a little bit, as well. When Carolina released Brad Hoover, I do believe most of us were either in shock or left scratching our heads.

Tony Fiammetta, a draft pick from the 2009 NFL Draft, will be taking over for “Hoov.” I wasn’t overly impressed with Fiammetta last season, but being it was his rookie year and he had a full season to learn the position from one of the best fullbacks in the league, there’s little reason why his game shouldn’t be better this year. He has the size. That’s not a question, but ball security seemed to be something of an issue during practices last season.

The Panthers also signed undrafted rookie free agent RaShawn Jackson out of the University of Virginia, who was the No. 2 rated fullback going into the 2010 NFL Draft. The kid has some nice moves, and could also contribute should Carolina decide to have two active fullbacks on it’s roster. Otherwise, we could see him placed on the practice squad.

Last but not least, Carolina decided not to re-sign longtime (excluding the two-year hiatus to Chicago) wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad. This was a move that neither surprised nor upset me. I always liked Moose; I had a profound respect for his skill on the field, but last year he actually irritated me on a few occasions.

Prime(time) example: Monday night game against the Dallas Cowboys. Jake Delhomme decided to have another of his funky passing and getting sacked games, so when he actually threw a very catch-able pass to Muhammad, the guy didn’t even attempt to reach into the air to make the grab. All he had to do was lift his arms — not even do an acrobatic Steve Smith jump. But he decided to go T-Rex arms, and let the ball get intercepted.

So the Panthers addressed the need at receiver 10-fold. There are something like 11 receivers competing for the second, third, and perhaps fourth receiver positions.

If I were given a choice of who the Panthers were to keep (which has been a big topic lately) in addition to Steve Smith at the receiver position, I’d say Brandon LaFell, Dwayne Jarrett, Dexter Jackson, and Armanti Edwards. Five receivers.

So please share your thoughts on my opinion, and feel free to offer your own!

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