Panther Paw Prints - 2009 Season Kick-Off Edition

So what seemed like an eternity away last January has finally arrived. The Panthers can finally put the horrid finish of 2008 behind them and begin afresh with a home opener against the NFC contender Eagles. This edition of Paw Prints starts with some news from the Panthers locker room:

Darin Gantt's Panthers Blog | The Herald - Rock Hill, SC
It speaks to Pep's reputation in the locker room to have been voted a captain after doing everything he could to leave here earlier in the year.

Does it really? I'm still trying to figure this one out. Don't get me wrong, I love the notion of Pep being a leader on this team but he's never given that indication before. Has Peppers actually decided that he WANTS to be a leader?

Munnerlyn ready to man returner's spot - CharlotteObserver.com
Rookie cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said Wednesday he expects to be the Carolina Panthers' punt returner in Sunday's season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. Munnerlyn said he was told before practice he'll fill the role and he had about 10 repetitions catching punts.

Let's put some sticky stuff on his fingers please. Seriously, I think Munnerlyn will do well. The kid has done some growing up and presents the best opportunity to break a nice return at this point now that Mark Jones is out of the picture for the moment. In another line up move, its being reported TE Jeff King will start over upstart Gary Barnidge. What? Did you forget Fox's preference for veterans to a fault?

It looks like Jeff King has won back the starting tight end spot he briefly lost in training camp. King, the starter since 2007, is one of three tight ends on the roster, along with Gary Barnidge and Dante Rosario. "We all compete and we all want to be on the field," said King. "But someone else controls that."

 

There are those in Pittsburgh who think the Panthers got a steal in signing DT RaShon 'Sonny' Harris. Read the comments after the post via the link below.

NFL from the sidelines: Sonny Harris gone
The Carolina Panthers must have liked what they saw of Sonny Harris Thursday night as much as I did. The Panthers signed Harris to their 53-man roster.

Just like last season the Panthers lead off with a Super Bowl contender. Well according to Fox Sports anyway.

NFL - - FOX Sports on MSN
1. At the beginning of the year, my Super Bowl pick is always based on emotion. I'm picking the Philadelphia Eagles. Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid deserve a Super Bowl title after agreeing to take on the Michael Vick rehabilitation project. I've always been a huge McNabb fan. He personifies class. I've never been that big on Reid because he hasn't given McNabb the necessary supporting cast. Well, Reid and McNabb stepped up big for Vick. McNabb can show Vick how to prepare like a professional. If he's willing to listen to and learn from McNabb and Reid, Vick could be the NFL's most valuable trade option during the 2010 offseason and be in position to land another lucrative contract.

Here's a clay pigeon.. err...Eagles with a target on his back

Eagles rookie (FS Macho Harris) thrust into starting role | Philadelphia Inquirer | 09/10/2009
"Against tight ends, they're a little physical and big, so I have to bring a little more weight with that. I have to use my speed and quickness to beat them. I'm physical. I consider myself a physical player. The physical part is no problem, but what I have over them is my speed and quickness. At free safety, you get to be around the ball a lot. At corner, you get one or two shots a game and you have to make the best of it."

Panthers OC Jeff Davidson will get major grief from this site if he fails to try and exploit the rookie CB converted to FS...The Panthers have a few admirers of the o-line in the Quaker State:

Paul Domowitch: Panthers' offensive line works well together | Philadelphia Daily News | 09/08/2009
"Half of being a good offensive line is knowing each other and knowing how each other plays," said the Panthers' Pro Bowl left tackle, Jordan Gross. "We got that out of the way last year. There's really no excuse for us not to be a good unit, and hopefully, build off what we did last year."

NFL Power Rankings places the Panthers at #18. Someone please tell me what the resignation of the Richardson boys has to do with what happens on the field? No end to the disrespect.

NFL Power Rankings topped by Patriots, Steelers, Packers - Don Banks - SI.com
Carolina Panthers Another team I've obviously lost confidence in since late July. The Panthers looked dreadful in their 0-4 preseason, and then there's this whole messy deal of owner Jerry Richardson firing both his sons from team management. It's hard to see some sort of championship vibe rising out of all that. Starting the season with Philadelphia, at Atlanta, at Dallas may ensure this thing keeps right on snowballing.

Think beating the Eagles will change?

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