Good morning Panther faithful and welcome to the Monday Morning Optimist, now on Friday! Word to the wise: When you don't see me posting like a furious madman on the open thread it means I'm a loss for words, and last night I was lost for words. Not in the way where one sits mouth agape unable to find the right phrase, not in the way where unabashed excitement leaves me in awe, but in the way one fumbles around a toolbox in a dark closet trying to find a ball peen hammer to smash myself in the head and end the horror... yeah, it was one of those games. The ultimate optimism: We won't see half those guys ever again.
Okay, I know that lead in contained more than the recommended dosage of hyperbole... but I think everyone knows what I'm getting at. Leading up to last night's game I was excited to see Moore work with the first team for a series or two, excited to see Jimmy Clausen have more than six snaps to work with the offense, but alas, it wasn't to be. A penny for your thoughts Mr. Fox? Are the coaching staff really confident enough in the offensive starters that they think sitting them was the right call? Not even the New England Patriots sat their starters last night... yet we did. I suppose I should give Fox the benefit of the doubt, after all in the past we doubted the DTs, we doubted Ron Meeks and we've doubted some roster decisions... so I guess they've built up enough cache that I'm okay letting it slide. So let's put this one out to pasture and never speak of it again...
After the jump
This is the part where I talk about Moore and Clausen breaking down their performance and speaking about how their development of these two quarterbacks. Alas, there was no Moore, there was no Clausen. So we can talk about these guys:
Hunter Cantwell: When he's not frog giggin' he's under throwing. It's a pretty unique ability to have the best arm on the roster, while also under throwing your WRs. I didn't see anything from Cantwell to indicate we should keep a roster spot open for him. He has this looping delivery that takes far too long to get the ball out, and when he does his passes seem to float to their target. I know the coaching staff was high on Cantwell going into camp, but personally I don't see why we should keep a spot for him when it's much more likely a better rookie QB will be cut and hit waivers.
Tony Pike: Pike sees into his NFL future and realizes he wont get much playing time. Pike was better than Cantwell, but only in the way two cookies hit the floor, one is encrusted in hair, the other is stuck to a bandaid; what I'm getting at is that neither were very good. Pike gets a little more lee-way though. Pike is a project, a serious one. I think the Panthers knew this in selecting him. He's going to take some time to be NFL ready, but he showed just enough last night that I think the Panthers should try to stash him on the PS. If he gets picked up off waivers, then fine... it's really not that big of a loss... but I can't help but feel like he could develop into a serviceable backup in time.
Now onto the regular rankings:
David Gettis- Extremely Optimistic: Has anyone done more to improve his stock over the last two games than David Gettis? For me, he's gone from the definition of a bubble player to an absolute lock. Maybe it snuck up on you as it did me, but as it stands Gettis has had a 7 reception, 71 yard preseason which is good for 3rd among receivers in the tiny amount of time he's gotten. You couple that with four very solid kick returns and you have a player who has too much value not to make the 53.
Armanti Edwards- Extremely Optimistic: One of the bright spots in an otherwise underwhelming game. He had a good punt return and it was refreshing to see Edwards used in some different ways on offense. We got to see his arm on a couple of plays, and that alone was enough for me to think we'll be okay carrying two QBs and having Edwards as an emergency 3rd stringer. I love the idea of a wildcat package featuring him, and with DeAngelo and Smitty on the field it will cause nightmares; But that name... no offense ASU Alum and fans, but the ‘Mountaineer Package' needs to be renamed. I don't really think naming an entire offensive package after the school one player went to is a good idea.
Jamar Williams- Extremely Optimistic: He made it through Pouncey's dirty hit and had a solid 8 tackle game. We're starting to see his potential and I did see flashes even against the backups that showed me he has a future at the position.
Greg Hardy- Extremely Optimsitic: He sacked Big Ben... one handed. Technically Landri got the credit, but that was all Hardy to me. He's looking like a special player.
Dante Rosario- Somewhat Optimsitic: Par for the course for Dante. Showing more and more why he's the best receiver after Steve Smith on this team.
Mike Goodson- Somewhat Optimsitic: He seems to be ‘getting it' more and more every week. Either that, or the Panthers are understanding how to use him more. Either way he's making a case to try and win back his 3rd string job.
RJ Stanford- Extremely Pessimistic: Put a fork in him. Blowing the coverage on the TD was the last straw and he plays an already deep position.
You know, I just deleted another two paragraphs because at this point is there even a need to be pessimistic about anyone else? The organization will speak for itself in a few days but I don't really see a need to talk about guys who aren't going to make the team. So here's a Panthers v. Steelers pessimistic role call:
- Savage, Dantrell: "Here"
- Offensive line: "Present"
- Mike Rucker's talking head, pointless color commentary: "Here"
- Maurkice Pouncey's dirty hit: "Present"
Not much of a roll call I know, but not much of a game.
This doesn't change anything from where I stand. We learned a little more about some of our backups, and maybe a couple of guys like Gettis won their spots, but ultimately this game didn't really serve a purpose. Next Sunday we face the Giants to really begin the 2010 campaign, and with the full compliment of offensive and defensive players we'll see last night's game for the anomaly it truly was.
90% optimistic heading to New York to face the Giants