Questions about the Panthers vs Saints game.

With a few injuries in the Panthers fold, including a random destruction of the FB position and Charles Godfrey and Moose out because of injury, the Panthers go into the Saints with a lot of questions. Some of them good, and some bad.

1. Can Sherrod Martin duplicate his exceptional 2 INT performance against Drew Brees and the Saints?

This is one of the biggest questions we have to ask during this upcoming game. We're all cheering for Martin to be our new FS, and Sherrod Martin is probably going to get one more game as a starter before Charles Godfrey comes back from injury. If he can pull off another good game here against an explosive offense such as the Saints, John Fox will have no choice but to name him the starter over Charles Godfrey for the rest of the season. John Fox has always been a fan of veterans, so in order for Martin to fully secure his job he will have to completely blow Fox away during the Saints game in order to force his hand and grab himself a starting job. It will also help our team in such a way to where we could look into trading Godfrey away in the offseason, thus allowing us to regain some valuable draft picks we lost in acquiring our D-Line help.

2. Can our D-Line get pressure on Drew Brees?

The Panthers will need to play a complete game against the Saints on Sunday. The Saints have had an explosive offense for a long time now, but now that they actually have a defense for once they can do amazing things. When a team averages 39 points per game while giving up 22, it takes a true moron to not figure out why this team has gone undefeated. Julius Peppers and Everette Brown need to step up early and often and put Drew Brees to the turf. Force him to make mistakes so that you can get their offense back on the field and put us in good field position to take the ball back the other way.

3. Can our running game take over the game?

Last week, we rushed for 270 yards against the #1 rushing defense in the league. In the first half, we were dominant. We went into halftime with the score 28-7, and the Panthers had a sizeable lead. However, I think the most important thing to consider is that the Panthers didn't score a touchdown for the rest of the game. While having a 3 possession lead going into halftime was enough to beat the Cardinals, against such a high powered offense as the Saints we need to be able to play a complete offensive game for four quarters. Many points must be scored, and much time must be taken off the clock!

4. Can our running game be successful without a true fullback?

The injuries to Brad Hoover and Tony Fiametta really hurt us for this game. It wouldn't be a big deal if we had another RB that could take their place, but instead we're going to have to take Jeff King from his TE position and use him as our FB instead. That may prove to be a huge factor if the Panthers can't get their running game going. With Daunte Rosario out because of injury, if the Panthers choose Jeff King to be their fullback, that only leaves one true TE on our roster in Gary Barnidge. Can the Panthers find a way to replace these guys?

5. Can Julius Peppers maintain his play for the rest of the year?

It seems like ever since Jon Beason promised the fans he would call Peppers out the next chance he got, Peppers suddenly kicked his play up to another level. Peppers did something he does not usually do by coming out and telling his teammates that he was letting them down, that he was making excuses for himself, and that he was going to be different from now on. So far, in the last 4 games he has six sacks, 18 tackles, two forced fumbles and one huge pick six. If Peppers can continue to cause the pressure on the opposing QB like he has these last few weeks, he will be a terror for any QB to behold, let alone deal with.

6. Can Jake Delhomme manage the game?

We don't ask much of Jake Delhomme, in his last game we only asked him to throw the ball 14 times, and he completed half that with one touchdown and no pick sixes thrown. There has been many theories of why Jake Delhomme has declined this year. Starting from the question of whether his arm is fully recovered from his Tommy John Surgery, his increased strength is too much for him to control, or just his lack of confidence in general, the cold fact remains that Jake Delhomme leads the league in interceptions, and until proven otherwise the fans will shout obscenities every time he touches the football.

The best way to combat this is to not put Jake in a situation where he needs to make a long completion to get a first down. Get those first 5 or 6 yards so that Jake has a 3rd and 4th on his plate other than a 3rd and 12. Let your running game take over, and make it the majority of your playbook for the game. Shove the ball down their throat with our two running backs, and let Jake work short passes to Steve Smith and our running backs. A turnover with Jake Delhomme in a game like this will go a long way in determining on whether we have victory or we are defeated.

That's really all I have to say guys. I'm sure there is a lot more where that came from, we haven't even started on Dwayne Jarrett yet. But for now, let us have a moment of silence for Ron Meeks, whom will have the biggest task ever in preparing our defense to stop the #1 offense in the world.

Let us hope that he makes it through the week.

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