Big ups to my man Jaxon from Cat Scratch Reader for answering five of my questions about the Angry Panther Cats. I don't want to hold you back in your quest for Carolina knowledge, so without further ado...
1. I was pretty skeptical about Jake Delhomme's ability to rebound, but he's looked better this year. Fluky or no?
Jaxon: Jake actually didn't play that bad last year. He has his best season in many statistical categories. Yet the Panthers failed to meet expectations so some of that has to fall on him. So far I'm satisfied with his performance in the first two games. He's thrown 6 TD's in two games with only 1 INT. I expect a good year from Jake and that Carr will be a non-factor.
2. The two headed tandem of DeAngelo Williams and DeShaun Foster has been decent but not extremely effective so far. Why do you think that is?
Jaxon: They played well in game one and combined for 32 carries for 160+ yards. Once the Panthers got down by 17 points they started throwing the ball and finished with only 17 carries. They have to touch the ball to make a difference. I have to point to the offensive line for most of the problems against Houston. If the Panthers jump to a lead expect them to run the ball a lot, to the tune of 30-35 carries.
3. To flip your own question around, what are your expectations for Steve Smith against DeAngelo Hall? What are your expectations for your corners and the fearsome Julius Peppers against our awesome O-Line of suck?
Jaxon: The key is to get either Keary Colbert or Drew Carter to make a catch downfield to keep the safety from cheating too much. The Panthers will also run some crossing routes and WR screens to Smith to get him the ball. Smith will keep his streak of 100 yd games going but will only have one TD this week. I expect Julius to get his first sack and the defense to force the Falcons to throw. Alge Crumpler worries me over the middle because that is his strength and our weakness.
4. I'm a big fan of Coach Fox and I think he's done a great job. If the Panthers don't put it together this year, though, is he on the chopping block?
Jaxon: I don't think so this season. Now if he has two bad seasons in a row? Yeah, he's in trouble. He will be seen as squandering a very talented team through poor decision making and poor game preparation. I like Foxy and think that won't happen this year or next!
5. What's your prediction for the score and your final record?
Jaxon: I admit I went into the Houston game a little too cocky so I'm going to tone it down a little. I'd like to think the Panthers will be pissed about losing their home opener, AGAIN! The Panthers vs. Falcons is usually a good game though and I think the Falcons will have a little pride at stake. Panthers 20, Falcons 13.
Panthers Regular Season record: 11-5
Thanks again to Jaxon for answering my questions about our erstwhile rivals and be sure to go here to find my answers to his five questions and make fun of Panthers fans.