I thought I would check in our NFC South bretheren blogs to see what they are talking about that might interest Panther fans. So here it goes:
Atlanta Falcon Position Battles: The Cornerbacks - The Falcoholic
This time we're going to look at perhaps the most wide open position on the entire roster. Last time we did this little exercise, William "C4" Moore ran away with the strong safety crown. Because there's so many more options at cornerback, I imagine the vote is going to go a little differently. Basically, the top four vote getters are going to be our top four corners going into the season, with the top two being assumed as our starters. Make that vote count!
They are all competing to see who gets the honor of being torched by Steve Smith in 2009.
Meet A New Atlanta Falcon: S William Moore - The Falcoholic
Role: I'd frankly be surprised if Moore wasn't bringing his tlaent to bear on some unfortunate souls from the start of the season. The Falcons didn't pick him up to sit unless he performs at a level significantly below Thomas DeCoud this summer, and he's such a force against the run already that he makes sense at strong safety. I fully expect him to get a ton of snaps and potentially factor in on special teams, if Mike Smith is willing to get him on the field for that as well. I see a very bright future for Moore, who could be a decade-long starter in the NFL if he steers clear of injury.
If DeCoud is so good then why did they draft Moore?
The Falcoholic - Falcons Have Now Signed 5 of 8 Draft Picks
"The Atlanta Falcons today signed sixth round draft pick linebacker Spencer Adkins. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Adkins, 5-11, 246 pounds, totaled 72 tackles (42 solo), 10 tackles for loss, five sacks and one interception in 31 career games at the University of Miami (Fla.). Last season, he set career highs in tackles for loss (six) and sacks (four) while contributing with 17 stops. The Falcons have now signed five of the eight 2009 Draft selections, which include: cornerback Christopher Owens (third round), cornerback William Middleton (fifth round), offensive tackle Garrett Reynolds (fifth round), Adkins (sixth round) and defensive tackle Vance Walker (seventh round)."
Looks like there is a lot of fresh meat in the Falcons defensive backfield.
Can the Saints Maintain their Offensive Fire Power While Simultaneously Improving their Defense? - Canal Street Chronicles
He noted that during offense vs. defense drills it was the offense that initially got the better of their defensive counterpart until Williams and his unit began making plays and challenging Drew Brees and company. This led me to wonder if an improved defense might actually help push the Saints offense to improve as well and not become complacent. After all, if the Saints managed to put together the best offense in the league while practicing against one of the worst defenses in the league on a daily basis, just think what they can accomplish now facing a decent defense every day.
If that logic holds, would a defense that constantly practices against a top offense benefit from that somehow? I guess the logic does not hold.
Meachem's Last Stand - Canal Street Chronicles
Originally I had planned to write some long, well-researched, inspirational post filled with facts, numbers and references that would astound the mind and boggle your brain. But I just didn't know how to work it all out and I just wasn't really feeling it. I've since come to learn that I'm pretty apathetic toward Robert Meachem. I've also come to realize that we don't really need any facts and figures to discuss this topic. There is only one factoidal truth worthy of note regarding this matter: Meachem has been a disappointment thus far given his first round pick status.
It looks like the Saints are not the only team waiting for a highly drafted WR to make an impact. I'm sure you know who I am referring to (Okay, since some slow Saints fans might be reading this: Dwayne Jarrett)
Plot to take over Da Chronic enters its final phase - Canal Street Chronicles
Now, from my secret lair in the Old City Ice House, I am prepared to take over Canal Street Chronicles for good...or evil, as the case may be. Because once the power of the Blogosphere is in my hands, I will inaugurate a little war. In a matter of hours, Sports Illustrated and Yahoo will have annihilated each other. We shall see a new power dominating the world!
Congrats to MtnExile on taking over the Lead Blogger role over at Canal Street Chronicles.
Sears Non-Starter - Buc 'Em
In a somewhat surprising release of information, it appears as if Arron Sears has lost his starting job. As you may or may not know, Sears has been inactive in the offseason due to some apparent concussion issues, either from 2008 or offseason work. The team, and Sears have maintained silence on this issue, calling it a personal matter. Apparently, Sears wasn't excused from minicamp, and as a result of not being there, a formal change in the depth chart has been made with Zuttah now occupying the starting left guard spot. Morris is quoted as saying about Zuttah.
I would like to think this helps the Panthers but Zuttah is a good player so I bet its a wash.
By the Numbers - Rehashing the 2008 Defense - Buc 'Em
We'll start by looking at the Buc's defense in relation to passing yards per game, rushing yards per game, yards per passing attempt and yards per carry. This will give us an idea game by game if the Bucs were wearing down towards the end of the season. We will also look at the Buc's per game average and year averages vs the league average. Finally, we'll look at the same numbers from the first 12 games as compared to the last 4 games, those in which the Bucs were panned for giving out.
What jumps out at me is that 299 yards rushing the Panthers hung on the Bucs during that Monday Night game! That is one stat that never gets old or loses its relevance.
Buc 'Em - Another Smith That Can Return Kicks
There's no doubt that Clifton Smith provided one of the feel good stories of the 2008 NFL season for Buc's fans. An undrafted free agent, he was largely expected to be just another NFL body. After all, we had drafted return man extraordinaire Dexter Jackson in the 2nd round to take care of the return game. To avoid any hyperbole and avoid a story we all know too well, Jackson didn't exactly pan out in year 1. Clifton Smith soon won the job and by the end of the year, was lounging in Hawaii on the NFC Pro Bowl Roster. He provided a spark to our return game and cemented the job as our punt/kick return man.
Clifton Smith did have a surprising year returning the ball. Might the Panthers find a similar gem in their bevy of UDFA kick returners in camp?