Panthers Paw Prints: 2010 Season Kick-Off Edition

Panthers Paw Prints

Good Sunday morning, Carolina Panthers fans. The wait is over. Anticipation is at a fever pitch. The worthless wasteland from February to September is over. It's the Panthers first 2010 regular season game-day. I've got only one short link before the jump because I didn't want to clog up the main page with too much text. I've got some exceptionally good stuff after the jump today, so be sure to check it out. Let's just say I can't wait for some real football to start this afternoon. I can't wait to talk to you guys in the game thread later. For those of you who are insomniacs and always woke your parents up at 2:00 AM to try to open Christmas presents, feel free to consider this an open thread for Panthers discussion until the other threads go up later today. Here are your links for Sunday September 12, 2010:

Here are the new power rankings from Sports Illustrated. I don't mind being underestimated. I wonder what will happen to the Giants' #13 and the Panthers' #22 after we beat them this afternoon:

Bills in basement of NFL Power Rankings. (SI.com)
22) Carolina Panthers Their offseason of housecleaning sets up the Panthers nicely for the potential lockout next spring, but it's not entirely evident just yet what it means for their 2010 season. Carolina is young and homegrown (35 of its 53 players were Panthers draft picks) and there is talent in place. But can a Matt Moore-led passing game produce enough points to challenge New Orleans and Atlanta in the NFC South? I'm dubious.

More after the jump...

As of this writing, Sorensen and Fowler both predict a Panthers loss and Gantt hasn't announced his prediction yet. I completely agree on the Baltimore prediction too, so I included it here:

Don't lag, get ahead of game. (CharlotteObserver.com)
Upset of the week Baltimore 1 over NEW YORK JETS Games of the week NEW YORK GIANTS 3 over Carolina: The Panthers are better than the Giants. But the Giants are playing their first game in their new stadium, and they will remember being dismantled by the Panthers in their final game in their old stadium. If you don't think revenge is a motivator, check Carolina's road victory last season against Arizona.

For maximum enjoyment, follow these Instructions for this link: 1) Open up your media player 2) Find "Eye of the Tiger" 3) Set to medium volume 4) Press play 5) Open the following link and press play:

Video Gallery: Locker Room Talk. (Panthers.com)
Panthers ready for first hit.

Ok, I've got to stop here and address the Ray Lewis - Rex Ryan ripple this past week. If you missed it, you've got to watch this video. Tell me his passion doesn't make the hair on the back of your arms stand up:

Ray Lewis lets the smack fly for Rex Ryan and N.Y. Jets

And let's not forget this is the same Ray Lewis who did this to Chad Ochocinco after he mouthed off last year:

HIT OF THE YEAR 2009 Ray Lewis Big Hit on Ocho Cinco

I'm really worried what he's going to do to Sanchez if Ray makes it through the line unblocked...

OK, tangent over, back to the Panthers...

I really feel Fewell will do will with the Giants, I'm just hoping it takes until week 2 for the secondary to click and force turnovers:

Giants new defensive coordinator Fewell looks to dictate what the Panthers do on offense. (CarolinaGrowl.com)
Fewell said the Giants first focus will be on stopping Carolina's Double Trouble running attack of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. "Obviously they’re a talented offensive running football team, and that’s what our focus is," Fewell said. "The two backs can make you miss. They can run through tackles. We have our work cut out for us. I have a plan of attack that I want to try and dictate what they will see. So I’m not going to be defensive. I’m going to be offensive, and I’m going to try and dictate what they will see."

In our CSR radio episode last night, I listed "the other Steve Smith" as the Giants player I'm most worried about this weekend. He's a great young possession receiver, and I'm worried about the play-action Manning to Smith connection on 3rd down:

Panthers look to get back to their strength -- running the ball. (CarolinaGrowl.com)
BY THE NUMBERS: 29 – Number of first downs that Giants Pro Bowl WR Steve Smith converted on third down, the most in the NFL.

The thing I'm most concerned about for the Panthers? Special teams and starting field position. I'm glad they're going with the "safe" pick in Munnerlyn:

Five things to watch vs. Giants. (CarolinaGrowl.com)
4. Will Carolina’s special teams excel or implode? The Panthers saw both ends of the spectrum in the return game during the preseason. They gave a handful of long returns and also struggled with fielding punts. On the flip side, Mike Goodson returned a kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown. Goodson will handle kickoff returns, while the Panthers are expected to go the safe route on punt returns and give Captain Munnerlyn the nod over Armanti Edwards, who might be inactive.

Some good stuff here. I wish McCoy had never left. I think there are worse candidates out there:

Mailbag: Carolina Panthers edition. (ESPN.com)
If Fox leaves, one name I’d keep an eye on is Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. He had a long stint with the Panthers as quarterbacks coach and is well thought of within the organization.

Good article. As long as you are not offended by foul language, I demand you watch the video halfway down the page. Classic:

10 Reasons to Hate the New York Giants. (CatCrave.com)
I guess this matchup is becoming something of a rival. The Carolina Panthers will have played the Giants now for the fourth time in three years.

I really hope they can keep this pace up into the regular season:

What to watch: Panthers-Giants. (Panthers.com)
OTHER SIDE OF THE LINE: The Panthers' defensive line, minus Julius Peppers, racked up four more sacks than any other team in the preseason. The numbers reset this week, however, and the line's ability to keep up the pressure against Eli Manning and Co. could be key to the game's outcome. "Obviously we don't have a lot of big names, but we all want to prove something," defensive tackle Nick Hayden said. "We want to show that we can play, that we want to make a name for ourselves. "It starts with this game."

Revenge has got to be the Giants' main motivation this week. This doesn't fool me:

Giants downplay revenge motive. (CharlotteObserver.com)
It's probably not a coincidence that the league scheduled the Panthers to open the new building, a gleaming 82,500-seat palace dubbed New Meadowlands Stadium until they secure a naming rights deal. After all, there's nothing better than a built-in storyline (like the Saints-Vikings opener Thursday). But mostly, the Giants want to try to show their home fans a different face, if only because the last one they displayed had a black eye. "You like to think your home stadium is a difficult place for opponents to play," Coughlin said. "Whether it was real or myth we had the "win factor" at the old Giants Stadium and we're hoping that comes into play at the new stadium."

Carolina fans may be a little conflicted rooting for and against Nicks this week:

Charlotte standout Nicks faces Carolina Panthers. (CharlotteObserver.com)
Although his rookie season was successful, when Nicks sat down and reflected on it afterward, he wished he had done even better. He said he knows he has to improve his game a notch if he is going to make the transition from promising rookie to full-time NFL starter.

Twitter Exchange of the Day:

I saw this garbage from Darin's page on the twitter feed on my phone and was wondering what was up... Then I saw this comment and couldn't help but laugh:

t]\'[f[f'd f/.la (Darin Gantt via Twitter)
t]\'[f[f'd f/.la

Mystery solved: Our friend ... (Darin Gantt via Twitter)
Mystery solved: Our friends' 2-year-old son Alex was doing some guest-tweeting. As soon as we get him an account you should all follow him.

Actually, I th ... (Dan Rutledge via Twitter)
Actually, I think his ... tweet was about Dwayne Jarrett. And I completely agree.

Fantasy Football Link of the Day:

Did you fall victim to an autopick draft? Unsure about the players on your team? Click this link:

Week 1: Player Upgrades. (FFToolbox.com)
Player Upgrades is for the hardcore fantasy owners who are looking for an edge every single week of the season that will ultimately lead them to a fantasy championship. Fantasy football isn't just as simple as showing up for the draft, picking a team, and then clearing off the trophy case to make room for the hardware at the end of the season. No matter how great (or disastrous) the team you drafted is heading into the season, fantasy owners who proactively scour the wavier wire, manage their weekly lineups to consistently make the right calls, and manage to wheel and deal at the correct times will ultimately find themselves in a position to dominate their fantasy league from Week 1 to Week 16 or 17.

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