The Panthers Pro Bowl LB Jon Beason posted on his blog today a piece he titles 'What We Learned' about the 2010 season. He has a slightly different take on a couple issues I thought worth pointing out and discussing. The first one is a lesson I hope we don;t have to experience any time soon, the thrill of only a couple victories among too many defeats to count:
You definitely appreciate those wins more when they come, and you value those opportunities when you get to play in meaningful football games.
How long has it been since we played in a meaningful game? Early 2009? Maybe the 2010 season opener? Technically you could say the first 8 games of 2010 were meaningful but honestly, after that poor season opener it was hard to realistically think we were challenging for anything. The fact Jon is pointing this out says he is a 'realist' in my view, another sign of Beason's leadership qualities. This guy wants to get back to playing meaningful games.
Beason then points to the Falcons and correlates their 13-3 to the fact they didn't make their first roster move until week 17! Wow...reminds me of the Panthers 2008 season when we remained fairly healthy practically all season. He contrasts that with the 2010:
On the other hand, we started out with a lot of injuries and got hit hard at offensive line, receiver, running back, D-line and linebacker, especially. We were always banged up. That made us a very young team, and I don’t care how talented you are, in this league it takes experience to know how to prepare to win football games.
But didn't Richardson just say he wanted the young guys to get on the field? Something tells me Big Cat was not referring to the rookies!
He next moves to his position switch and gives big props to Dan Connor for the defenses early season success. But you can tell he laments the fact his role was essentially marginalized to a degree..
For me, moving out of the middle was something I did to help the defense be successful. My No. 1 goal is to win football games, that’s why I made the move. A lot of people might look at it and say it was not a success. It gave other teams the opportunity to scheme around me, and as a leader it was hard for me to lead without being as productive as I had become accustomed to being. I was doing my job, but not making as many plays.
He sounds like a guy that wants to stay in the middle. This has to be one of Rivera's biggest decisions to make and that is how to keep Beason in the middle and keep Connor on the field. Beason even agrees Connor is
best only suited for the Mike:
Dan proved that he is a very solid football player who can play at a very high level. It would be very hard to keep a guy like that if he’s not playing the Mike...If we all stay together, great. If not, I know those guys are going to make a lot of money and go on to be successful.
It almost sounds like Beason is saying "Hey, it's either him or me because I don't want to move back to WLB". Wasn't the WLB supposed to be the play maker position of the LB core in a Cover 2? If we are set with Anderson back at SLB then it makes signing Thomas Davis a priority if neither Beason or Connor is suitable for WLB. Definitely one of the more intriguing positions to watch this off-season.
Beason finishes with a vote of confidence to his new Head Coach. By the way, notice how many times people look to Chris Harris for a recommendation?
He’s an upstanding guy with a great personality and I hear he has one of the better football minds in the game. That was further validated by Chris Harris, who played safety for him in Chicago. We talked about Coach Rivera a few times and how he did things in Chicago, and Chris never had anything negative to say. I think he’s going to be a great head coach.
Rivera would do well to reach out to his Pro Bowl LB and get to know him before the lock out...just saying.