Panthers Paw Prints: Light at the Top, Heavy in the Middle.

Panthers Paw Prints

Good Wednesday morning, Carolina Panthers fans. Yesterday and this morning, there were quite a few posts and articles about the Panthers first cuts of 2010. I feel like the topic was fairly well covered with my post yesterday and a couple fanshots, so I didn't include most of them here.

If you follow my paw prints articles, you know that I have a crush on the stats and articles from footballoutsiders.com. This gem was quietly posted up yesterday, and I think it's one of the most insightful articles I've seen from them. It's "a summary of research from [their] first seven years." They could sell this essay. Seriously. I think this essay should be a required read for all NFL fans, players & coaches. Let me know if you think I'm going overboard, but I think this is really great information:

FO Basics: Seven Years of FO Research. (FootballOutsiders.com)
By and large, a team built on depth is better than a team built on stars and scrubs. Connected to the previous statement, because teams need to go into the season expecting that they will suffer an average number of injuries no matter how healthy they were the previous year. The Redskins went into 2006 with a Super Bowl-quality starting lineup, and finished 5-11 because they had no depth. You cannot concentrate your salaries on a handful of star players because there is no such thing as avoiding injuries in the NFL. Every team will suffer injuries; the only question is how many. The game is too fast and the players too strong to build a team based around the idea that "if we can avoid all injuries this year, we'll win."

Here are your links for Wednesday September 1, 2010:

No one's saying Smitty's not in shape, it's just a matter of getting back in football shape:

WR Smith starting to get his wind back. (CharlotteObserver.com)
"Have not diverted from the path at hand, which is Week 1 in New York," Smith said. "And that’s been the focal point, and that’s kind of where it’s going to start." The broken left arm no longer is a problem, and will be protected. Now it’s finding his wind. "This Monday, cardio-wise is a lot better than last Monday, significantly," he said. "That’s a relief mentally for me. That’s a little bit more reps I can go before coming out cardio-wise, so that was good. "Last week I was hurting, my lungs were hurting, chest was burning. It was like the last thousand meters" of a marathon.


I can't say it enough... Boy did he look good last weekend. I am still amazed by that tackle he broke and his ability to run away from grown men like they are children (am I laying on the praise too thick?):

Goodson starting to return Carolina Panthers' investment. (CharlotteObserver.com)
The physical ability is alarming ; it just needs to be channeled. He showed Saturday night what he�s capable of, but with Goodson, even the highlights need some explaining. The fast-as-a-finger-snap running back had 139 combined yards on six touches Saturday against Tennessee, showing the kind of game-breaking ability the Panthers hoped to tap since drafting him in the fourth round a year ago.

I really feel for Wallace Wright:

Foxhole: Panthers trim roster. (Panthers.com)
On wide receiver Wallace Wright's season-ending injury being a big blow: Yeah. I felt worse for him. He's worked very hard this offseason and was having a tremendous camp. He'll require surgery on his shoulder; that's why he hit the IR list. Of course we're disappointed, and so is he.

I haven't listened to this yet, but it's a podcast with Pat Y previewing the season:

Podcast: Previewing the NFC South. (ESPN.com)
Matt Williamson previews the NFC South with Pat Yasinskas.

Jake Delhomme continues to be a polarizing player:

Early observations on your votes. (ESPN.com)
Perhaps the thing that struck me most was the range of emotions from Carolina fans on Jake Delhomme and John Kasay. The former quarterback and the current kicker are getting lots of votes in both categories and that makes some sense. I guess some Carolina fans look at Delhomme’s whole time there and appreciate his contributions, while others are focusing on the quarterback’s horrible final season.

It's no surprise he wasn't high on our DT's, so I think this is somewhat fair:

Ranking the NFC South defensive tackles. (ESPN.com)
9. Louis Leonard, Panthers. His health remains a question. But, if Leonard is on the field, he’s the best defensive tackle the Panthers have.

11. Ed Johnson, Panthers. If he keeps dropping weight like he has throughout the preseason, Johnson probably will end up starting or getting significant playing time. The Panthers took a chance on this guy because he played under defensive coordinator Ron Meeks with the Colts before running into some trouble. But Johnson appears to be getting his career back on track.

A little Armanti talk with Darin Gantt:

Mac A: Panther Realism, Darin Gantt and Armanti Realism. (WFNZ.com)
Some UNC smacktalk gets a little carried away, people doubting the Panthers and Charlotte Observer writer Darin Gantt clarifies his position on Armanti Edwards. E-Mails and Jimmy’s Lottry to close out the day.

It's time for these roster-bubble guys to really bring it:

Roster hopefuls tackle challenge. (Panthers.com)
Wide receiver Charly Martin, who like Senn missed a major portion of training camp with an injury, feels much the same way. Martin is as determined as anyone to make the roster, having played on special teams with a major tape job protecting a broken finger, but he's just as determined to cherish the journey. "I try to understand this business, and you have to enjoy it while you're in it," Martin said. "It's pretty cutthroat, and it can end at any time. You just have to control what you do and put in the time and put in the work, and then it's out of your hands."

Related video:

Video Gallery: Panthers Insider. (Panthers.com)
Bubble players get one more chance.

Charly Martin's finger injury couldn't have happened at a worse time. The wide receiver depth chart is still a question mark:

Wright's injury opens door for Carolina Panthers' receivers Moore, Martin. (CharlotteObserver.com)
Without him, it seems clear the first four jobs will go to projected starters Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett, with third-round picks Brandon LaFell and Armanti Edwards safe as well. Now the question becomes how many of the other receivers, if any, they can keep. The Panthers have kept as many as six but as few as four receivers after final cuts in recent years, and taking away a special teamer in Wright may limit how many they're able to hang onto to just play offense.

Another wide receiver piece. I highlighted the part on Gettis (who I think still looks like an excellent PS candidate):

WR Smith still on track to play in opener. (CarolinaGrowl.com)
However, it might be tough for Gettis to make the roster given the numbers at wide receiver. "We get one more opportunity to evaluate all the players this Thursday night in Pittsburgh," Fox said. "There will be tough decisions, but he's got an opportunity and he'll get an opportunity Thursday."

Thomas Davis definitely believes he can contribute this year, and the Panthers must believe it's possible, or they would have closed the door by putting him on IR:

Not all Pups created equal. (HeraldOnline.com)
Thus, Davis could be activated as soon as late October, but more likely no sooner than mid-November (if everything follows best case scenario trajectory). They put him on the reserve-PUP list to buy themselves a roster spot in the short term, but mostly to protect his ability to come back if he continues to progress. As unlikely as coming back from two torn ACLs in eight months might be, the fact Davis hasn't been shut down is a telling sign. He might not be able to play again this year, but the simple possibility is enough for him, so he's continuing to rehab like a man on his way back soon.

Here's a really good Q & A with Sorensen from the Observer. Here's just one of several good responses:

How has Panthers' defense been so good? (CharlotteObserver.com)
Q: With the Panthers having reduced payroll, have no commitment to a coaching staff in 2011 and kicked out Jon and Mark Richardson, it smells like Jerry is cleaning house in order to sell the franchise. That's what businesses do when they are looking to sell. Thoughts?

A: Jerry will not sell the team. This is his legacy, and nobody wants to win more than he does. I'm not just saying that. Guy wants to win. Richardson isn't cleaning house. He's just rearranging the furniture. I can tell you, unequivocally, he does not plan to sell.

A couple of audio clips including some Foxisms:

Audio Gallery: 8/31 Panthers Update. (Panthers.com)
8/31 Panthers Update

Audio Gallery: 9/1 Panthers Update. (Panthers.com)
9/1 Panthers Update

Tweets of the day:

The fact they didn't move ... (Darin Gantt via Twitter)
The fact they didn't move Otah to reserve-PUP like Davis says that they think he's ready closer to Week 1 than Week 7.

Jared from Subway commerci ... (Steve Reed via Twitter)
Jared from Subway commercials is here at practice today. Not a big guy but could still use P90X to tighten those abs.

Jared from Subway at Panth ... (Darin Gantt via Twitter)
Jared from Subway at Panthers practice for promotional event. Last week Chuck Amato came by. Amato has bigger chest, Jared bigger entourage.

I'm afraid not great. Char ... (Darin Gantt via Twitter)
I'm afraid not great. Charly Martin cost himself a chance to compete with his ill-timed broken finger. RT @simmonsj2 What are 83's chances?

Fantasy Football Link of the Day:

Even if you don't play fantasy football, this is an excellent read. It's about rookie quarterbacks (we've got two) and projecting their NFL success based on preseason stats. If you haven't been keeping track, Clausen has 42 attempts and technically, Pike has 1. Clausen's likely to finish with close to 60 if he gets significant time against the Steelers:

Going Deep: The Bradford Files. (Rotoworld.com)
Perhaps the most meaningful preseason stat of all is not yards, touchdowns or that hinky "efficiency rating,", but simple attempts. Jay Cutler, Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford and Vince Young all had 50 or more preseason attempts. All of them saw significant rookie action, and all of them proved keeper-league viable.

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