Panthers Paw Prints: Who will fill in for Thomas Davis?

Good Thursday morning, Carolina Panthers fans. It's a sad day in the Carolinas. In case you missed the news, it looks like starting linebacker Thomas Davis is done for the season. Almost all the links I have today surround this story and look at it from different angles. No matter who steps up and plays the position this year, this is a blow to the Panthers' defense. I wish Thomas Davis a speedy recovery. Here are your links for Thursday June 10, 2010:

Here's the news from the Panthers official website:

Davis tears ACL again. (Panthers.com)
Linebacker Thomas Davis has suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee - the same injury that ended his 2009 campaign. He will have surgery soon and could miss the entire 2010 season.

This article and Packman at WFNZ were the only places that I heard he signed his tender after being injured. Go Panthers for doing the right thing:

Panthers LB Thomas Davis tears another ACL. (CharlotteObserver.com)
He signed his contract moments after the injury, but the Panthers were committed to that number from the moment early this offseason when he signed his injury protection letter. Hurney wouldn't comment on how the injury might affect their plans to sign Davis long-term. "He's a very valuable player to us, an explosive player, a playmaker, so from that standpoint, it doesn't change at all," Hurney said. "We just feel so bad for him, because he had worked so hard, was such a good player and such a good person. "He's a guy you want on your football team."

More after the jump.

An interesting point, why does it seem like he was rushed back from his injury? A lot of other guys can sit out almost the whole preseason with lesser injuries:

LB Thomas Davis re-tears ACL, could be lost for the season again (CarolinaGrowl.com)
The injury raises speculation whether or not Davis rushed back from the injury too early. He talked about making it back on the practice field in May exactly five months before having surgery to repair his ACL, which seemed a remarkable feat at the time. He even talked about running a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash. "I think anytime something like this happens certainly those are the questions you ask yourself," Hurney said. "But the rehab process was similar to the ones we have done in the past. The rehab he had been doing has been the same thing for the last couple of weeks. You always ask yourself why, but I don't think the rehab process was much different. It's something that happened."

He's on the PUP list, not IR, technically:

Panthers will wait to put ... (Darin Gantt via Twitter).
Panthers will wait to put LB Thomas Davis on IR, as remote of a chance as exists for a return.

 

I hope he remains a Panther in 2011, but there's no guarantees:

Thomas Davis re-tears ACL- Panthers left reeling. (RealBitsofPanthers.com)
The situation isn’t good for the 27 year old linebacker. He had a fantastic start to the 2009 campaign and it seemed that the sky was the limit; coupled with a defensive coordinator who understood his skill set, a reliable MLB in Jon Beason and a big payday on the horizon a second knee injury could be crippling to the future career of the former Georgia Bulldog.

And the fact that he could possibly return at the end of the season:

Panthers hopeful that LB Davis can return from second ACL tear. (NFL.com)
The Panthers have the option of placing Davis on the physically-unable-to-perform list once he fails his training-camp physical. That would allow the team to activate Davis later in the season. But Davis' injury leaves a void at one of the most important positions in defensive coordinator Ron Meeks' Cover-2 system. It calls for a speedy, athletic player to collect a big chunk of the tackles -- a position in which Davis thrived until he was hurt last season.

Who will fill in:

The three starters should ... (Darin Gantt via Twitter).
The three starters should come from Beason-Anderson-Connor-Jamar Williams in some combination. All can play at least two spots.

Jamar Williams seems like the obvious choice. Something to keep a close eye on in the coming days:

Who'll fill in for injured Davis? (CharlotteObserver.com)
The immediate and least-disruptive fix would be to put trade acquisition Jamar Williams in Davis' weakside spot and leave the rest of the lineup (Jon Beason in the middle, James Anderson at the strong side) as it is. Williams was once viewed as the heir apparent to Lance Briggs in Chicago before a long-term contract for Briggs made him a permanent spare part. Built like Beason, he's got good speed but isn't as explosive as Davis (few are).

More on the possibilities for the linebacking corps:

Panthers will have to scramble at LB. (ESPN.com)
With James Anderson expected to move into a starting job at one outside linebacker spot, the Panthers have veteran Jamar Williams and a host of young linebackers as candidates to take Davis’ spot. Dan Connor, who has been working at backup middle linebacker, now could become a candidate to move outside.

Here's the Primetime with the Packman clip where I heard that he signed his tender after being injured:

Audio: Primetime Hour 4 Wednesday. (WFNZ.com)
News breaks about Thomas Davis tearing his ACL…

Interesting results:

Poll: Will no Davis mean no playoffs? (CharlotteObserver.com)
The Panthers learned Wednesday that linebacker Thomas Davis tore another ACL and is expected to miss the entire 2010 season. Will losing Davis cost the Panthers a shot at the playoffs?

This is a common thread for a lot of college QB's these days:

Panthers QB Pike looks to adapt from shotgun to playing under center. (CarolinaGrowl.com)
He certainly has a lot to learn before OTAs wrap up next week, most notably adapting to being under center here in Carolina after working out of the shotgun the past few years at Cincinnati under coach Brian Kelly. It may sound simple, but it can be a big adjustment for some guys. "The biggest thing is making the reads as you’re dropping back," said Pike, who was selected in the sixth round and currently stands fourth on the depth chart behind Matt Moore, Jimmy Clausen and Hunter Cantwell. "In the shotgun you can kind of see everything and now you’re making the reads and adjusting on the fly. But coach Kelly did a great job of giving me some reps under center in practice. We’d even have practices where we worked exclusively under center. But being under center isn’t the big part, it’s just making the reads as you’re going and, of course, learning the new system."

Here's Pat's response to the Moose comment that had everyone in an uproar:

NFC South mailbag. (ESPN.com)
Shaun in Calif., writes: Having been a lifelong Panther's fan since they were founded when I was 10, I am puzzled by your assessment of Muhsin Muhammad as "not genuine". I am still curious personally as to what that means. He is such a fan favorite in Carolina and always seemed like a great addition to the team from a personality and even media standpoint.

Pat Yasinskas: I covered Muhammad for much of his career and that’s my assessment of him. I know there are members of the media in Carolina and Chicago that feel the same way. In fairness to Muhammad, he is a wide receiver and almost all wide receivers have a selfish streak. Muhammad is known as "The Flower’’ in media circles because he once made a comment after his team got beat 52-9 in Oakland that "amid all the rubble, a flower bloomed’’ because he got his 100th catch of the season. Muhammad can turn on the charm for the cameras when he wants, but I’ve seen another side. That said, his coaches and teammates always have considered him a "team’’ guy.

Haile in Durham, N.C., writes: Who is running with the first time defense for ROLB? James Anderson or Dan Connor?

Pat Yasinskas: Anderson’s been getting just about all the first-team work there through the offseason and that makes him the favorite to be the starter. Connor hasn’t been getting any work on the outside, although he has the ability to play there if needed. Connor’s been working in the middle as Jon Beason’s backup.

Long time fan-favorite stops by the Mac Attack:

Brad Hoover Interview. (WFNZ.com)
Former Panther Brad Hoover joined us to discuss his future, the future of the Panthers, and his long career in Carolina.

I don't know if there are many world cup fans on Cat Scratch Reader, but it's Panthers related:

Vikings' Rhys Lloyd, a soccer lover, will be rooting for his native England against U.S. (TwinCities.com)
Rhys Lloyd makes a living crushing kickoffs in the NFL. If it were up to him, he'd be hitting kicks of a different sort starting Saturday in the World Cup. Lloyd, the Vikings' new kickoff specialist, dreamed of being a professional soccer player while growing up in his native England. His father, Bryn, moved to the United States when Rhys was 15, and that started Rhys down a different path. He continued to play soccer at Eastview High School, but he also became acquainted with football.

Fantasy Football Link of the Day:

It's not a Panthers-specific link, but it is NFC-South related. I had Aaron Rodgers in fantasy football last year and he was an absolute beast. I plan to target him again this year, personally. Plus I like almost anything written by Brad Evans, he's so funny:

Spin Doctors: Aaron Rodgers vs. Drew Brees. (Sports.Yahoo.com/Fantasy)
Legend says Aaron Rodgers(notes) was conceived when Bart Starr wedded a Johnsonville brat (a very legal union in Wisconsin). The stories may be true. Not only has he reigned over the Sausage Kingdom, but also Fantasyland. Over the past two seasons, no player has amassed more points than Farve's former understudy.

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