We now have our 53 man roster for the 2010 season. Overall I don't think there were many surprises; lets take a little closer look at who will start the season, position by position starting with QB.
Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen were not in danger of being cut. Moore is going to get his chance to prove himself not just to the Panthers but to the rest of the league. With Clausen behind him it's hard to see the Panthers keeping Moore past this season, giving Moore the chance to audition for another team in 2011. The wildcard in all of this is the future of the head coaching position. If Fox leaves, how would the next coach would see the QB lineup?
Regarding Tony Pike versus Hunter Cantwell, the way I see it is that Cantwell's ability is well known within the organization and his ceiling is quite low. Pike on the other hand has a higher ceiling at this point; well actually I should say many believe he has a higher ceiling. There is no denying that Pike is a project, but looking forward it does make since to keep him and see how he develops this year. If Moore ends up leaving next year I like the idea of another QB on the roster with more potential than Cantwell behind Clausen.
Of course we also have the question of trying to move him to the practice squad but in the end there is a high chance he wouldn't have made it that far. Sure we could have tried to use Edwards as the third QB but that's a decision Furney had to make and they chose the former option.
The biggest question here was if Goodson was going to stay with the team but he clearly answered that question with his preseason performance. Unlike last preseason he didn't fumble, which is a huge improvement. I'm hopeful, albeit slightly, that Davidson can start using all the potential in several of his offensive players. Also Goodson was able to return a kickoff for a touchdown.
FB: Tony Fiammetta
I don't think he was ever really in danger of losing the position battle or being cut.
I think the same thing can be said of the TE group as the FB and RB groups. They were pretty well set going into the offseason. Same as with Goodson, I hope that all three can be used more effectively this year. Each one has their strength and it would be nice to play to them.
I don't know if I can call any of these a surprise to make the roster or not. Smith, Lefell, and Edwards were locks and Jarrett is being given one last chance. Of all of them Gettis and Martin are the biggest surprises as Martin caught a break when Wallace Wright was placed on IR and Gettis out played Kenny Moore in the last few games. In all honesty I'm excited to see how Gettis develops this year.
With that said, I'm still not sure who the 2nd starting WR is but if I had to bet I would put my money on Jarrett just because. Actually what I think they should do is start each game with one WR, two RB, and two TE (or one TE and one FB). That way they don't have to name a second starting WR until one clearly emerges and both Williams and Stewart can be called starters.
Center: Ryan Kalil
Who did we cut again? Okay, so really some of the decision apparently turned out to be easy such as placing both C.J. Davis and Duke Robinson on IR. Also Crummey's performance didn't give us much reason to keep him and to be honest I know next to nothing about the performance of Hisatake, but maybe that says all I need to know. Either Duckworth was a great find or he's temporarily holding a roster spot. Either way, I wouldn't be surprised if we see roster movement across the offensive line to address overall depth.
While last season the offensive line was an area of strength, this preseason has raised serious questions about their performance and overall depth. We can hope that Otah returns for the Giants game but the reports are not good. Also if Kalili is injured I'm not sure if we have a respectable backup. Currently this is one of the biggest questions going into the season.
What a surprise at defensive end, not regarding who we kept, but that fact they have really stepped up. If they continue playing at the same level during the season our defense should continue to be strong. While many would have liked to keep Eric Moore, in reality with the talent left on the roster, he would have been an unnecessary luxury.
Tank Tyler is probably the biggest surprise of those that were cut today. Also cut was Corvey Irvin. Both represent missed investments. Irvin was a 3rd round pick last year and Tyler was traded for a 3rd round this past draft.
Neblett played his way onto the roster this preseason after going undrafted and apparently Hayden just can't be cut. Hayden was selected in 2008 as a 6th round draft pick but spent most of the year on the practice squad. I can't say I'm surprised they kept 5 DT after all the injuries we had last year.
We have known the starting lineup for quite some time. Williams was slowed by injuries during preseason and couldn't break into the starting lineup. Apparently Harris and Senn did more than the other LB and their positives falls into line with what Meeks was looking for. Also on interest is they still list Norwood as a DE/LB. While I believe he will be used in as a LB, it is obvious they still see him as a possible backup at DE if needed.
McClain clearly outplayed his 7th round counterpart. Apparently C.J. Wilson hit his ceiling between last year and this year.
Martin of course is taking Chris Harris' position at FS. Hudson was brought in to shore up special teams and Pugh showed enough to get the starting job once this preseason due to injury to Martin.
It sure would be nice to only have two dedicated positions for special teams instead of four. This could have been Eric Moore and more depth along the O-line. Maybe one day.