Continuing the review of the Panthers top position battles to look forward too in training camp we turn to the offense. In this case I've got 5 roster positions to analyze as the more intriguing match-ups to watch.
#3 / Slot Wide Receiver
With the release of DJ Hackett it would seem Dwayne Jarrett has the inside track on this spot, or does he? Then the Panthers selected RB Mike Goodson in the
5th 4th round and quickly declared him a prospect for the slot position. When you add in 3rd year WR and PR Ryne Robinson and WR Jason Carter you have a full on competition. The Panthers could keep 6 wide receivers if two of them also fill duel roles, like 3rd RB, PR or KR. Since I don't have to explain where I would get the roster spot from I'm going to say the Panthers will figure out a way to keep all four mentioned above with Jarrett getting the first reps in the slot against the Eagles, then Robinson. Until we see what plays they run for Goodson in the preseason I can't say if he will even see the field outside of special teams. Carter could work his way into a rotation but working against him the Panthers focus on the running game. If the Panthers cut one at this point I have to say it will be Carter, my thinking being he may need more time coming off the injury.
I don't think it's a given the Panthers keep two fullbacks. The Panthers will have some tough decisions with the final cut down so I'm thinking if the 4th round rookie Tony Fiammetta can instill some trust with management he might usher in the end of the Brad Hoover era sooner than expected. I love the Hoov as much as any fan and I don't think he has lost much on his game in spite of the obvious pounding he has inflicted on others. It could just come down to the headcount and the Panthers desire to take a chance on another player. I have not even seen film on Fiammetta so I can't say for sure he has the skills to do it but if there is a position that translates from college to the NFL it is fullback. If you know how to run and block the role can be adequately reduced to just that. It would be better for the Panthers in the long run if Fiammetta showed he was ready for the prime time immediately.
Will Panther WR Dwayne Jarrett Gives the Panthers a 3rd Option at WR in 2009?
The Panthers may not run many two TE sets in 2009 but they will still retain the personnel to run it. Though they actually kept 3 TE's in 2008 that is not a given in 2009. Its safe to say Jeff King will be the starter and I'll say right now Dante Rosario holds off Gary Barnidge for the #2 position. If the Panthers keep two FB's then Bardnidge could be the odd man out. Why Rosario disappeared after the San Diego game is still confusing to me as far as how little the Panthers involved him in the passing game.
In spite of the fact many other pundits are expecting rookie OG Duke Robinson to compete for Keydrick Vincent' spot I don't think it will be that close provided Vincent is healthy. I think Robinson's conditioning and inability to control his temper will be enough to let him watch a few games before the staff gives him more playing time. If Vincent shows wear and tear and Robinson gets in shape I might eat my words but my money is on Vincent starting against the Eagles.
Luke Josh McCown wasn't brought into Carolina until after the preseason we has yet to participate in a TC competition in Carolina. 3rd stringer Matt Moore has to be miffed to be listed 3rd after playing so well at the end of 2007. If not for the preseason injury in 2008 he might be getting more consideration as competing for the starter's job. Moore represents the biggest boom or bust in camp. I can see him blowing away McCown and I can see him cutting cut. If he can't show more promise than McCown than the rookie UDFA Hunter Cantwell might be a darkhorse for the #3 QB slot. I'm going to stick with McCown holding the #2 job at the start of the season.