So I had mega writer's block and promised Dave a post, and was stumped for a few minutes until it occurred to me that I watched the entirety of the Panthers game last night (because I live in North Carolina. Woo!)
Yes, I watched super-hyped QB Cam Newton put in some work, I also watched Jimmy Clausen do some stuff, and by the time Derek Anderson entered the game, I no longer cared.
However, the Panthers look like they might be something worth batting more than an eyelash at this year. After the jump, a brief opinion of what the Panthers might have in store for opponents this year.
Save for one really, really dumb play (I blame DeAngelo for the INT), I thought Jimmy Clausen played well. His release is really quick, and he made some pretty good throws against the Giants starters. He also took several sacks, so take that how you want. Their running game was about what you'd expect. They have 2 really good running backs and a serviceable third in Goodson. I don't remember who all of theirs didn't play last night aside from Thomas Davis and Steve Smith, but I believe some of their OL didn't play.
The Panthers opened their wallet to sign all kinds of players, most notably Jeremy Shockey and Greg Olsen. Olsen could be a problem for us if we try to zone blitz with him on the field. He's very fast and he's a good pass catcher.
They had some good plays from local favorite Armanti Edwards, who had one 30+ yard catch from Cam and two 20-ish yard punt returns. He could be someone to watch out for this year.
Speaking of Cam, I thought he looked about how any rookie would in his first game action. He has a terror of an arm, his accuracy is rookie-level, but you can tell he's going to give everything he has to be good in this league. I don't think Cam will start in Week 1 (Heck, Anderson might win over the other two) but I'd look for Cam to start by the time we play them later on in the season.
Cam is a fantastic athlete. He didn't try to run any last night, choosing to try and make all the throws instead. He looked solid coming out from under center and his drop back was pretty smooth as well. He has the arm to make all the throws, but his accuracy still needs some work. If he gets his accuracy up, look out.
Their defense did some good things, but I think, aside from their LB corps and Charles Johnson, they have some liabilities on defense. They're going to have to start two young guys at DT, and their cornerbacks (Captain Munnerlyn was one of them, he didn't play, but he's ehh..... I believe.) were iffy at times. They had some good safety play at times, too.
They signed Olindo Mare, and for good reason. I don't believe any of his kicks will be brought out of the endzone this year. He was booming them almost through the goal posts from the 35.
They'll experience some growing pains, but the Panthers could give us a good game by the time we play them later in the season. They'll have some noticeable improvement, especially since they have former Eagles DC Sean McDermott as their DC now, and the Eagles have given us annual fits.
There's your Panther report. I think Cam will be pretty good in time, but I don't know if it'll be this year or not. Clausen isn't letting the starting job get away from him, either. Should be an interesting preseason for them.