Greetings Panthers fans! Here are a few Paw Prints for your reading pleasure.
The first one is a pretty straight forward recap of the Panthers' pre-season victory against the Dolphins from the Washington Post, but it's nice to see national writers giving Cam Newton some praise for a change:
Carolina’s first team offense was near perfect in scoring two touchdowns and a field goal in three possessions before getting the rest of the night off. That’s the type of efficiency the Panthers had come to expect last year after finishing the season seventh in the league in total offense and fifth in points scored.
Hopefully we can see similar reports after the Panthers beat the Jets on Sunday!
Follow me after the jump for more Paw Prints...
Moving along to some not-so-great news, it's been reported that WR Steve Smith has some kind of foot infection that could keep him out of the final two pre-season games:
Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith missed practice Wednesday with a foot infection. He was on crutches Wednesday and is getting treated with antibiotics. Smith should be ready for the season opener, but his status for the last two preseason games has yet to be determined.
It's unfortunate that he'll most likely miss these last two pre-season games, but it's not that he was going to play that much anyway. However, we've all seen this film before. You know the one. An important player gets a minor injury, the coaching staff convinces us that it's nothing serious, we convince ourselves that important player will only miss a few days/weeks, and then the "minor injury" lingers and keeps them out much longer than expected. We can't afford for that to happen, so get well soon Smitty!
In the event Smitty is unable to go for a few weeks, the clubhouse leader for the 2nd WR spot has confidence that the rest of the WR corps will be just fine:
Brandon LaFell, who caught a lot of passes Wednesday while Steve Smith visited a doctor, was asked where the Panthers’ receivers rank in relation to the rest of the league.
"We’ve got guys that can compete with anybody," LaFell said. "I don’t feel like there’s a secondary that really can stop us because we’ve got as many guys as anyone else has that can get open and make plays."
I don't think I can agree with LaFell and say they can compete with anyone in the league, but I love his confidence. Being confident is only half the battle though, as the receivers have to step up and make plays on the field if the offense is going to produce at a high level like they did last season.
If the Panthers can find a few guys to step up on offense this year, and if the defense can be somewhat respectable, then we could possibly see a playoff team in the making. As Andy Benoit wrote in the New York Times review of the Panthers, we could see the Cats making a playoff run in the near future:
Cam Newton is a rare enough talent to make the Panthers playoff contenders one day. It’s possible that day can come in 2012, though he’d have to overcome a middling defense and receiving corps.
While I agree that it's possible the Panthers can make a playoff run in 2012, I still think we're a year away from being serious contenders for a playoff spot. But, as the old adage goes: that's why they play the games.
That's it for this edition of Panther Paw Prints. As always, stay tuned to CSR for any breaking news that may come to light. If anything major happens, we will be here with all the juicy details free of charge. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts on any Panthers news you've found this week in the comment thread below. Let's hear what you've got to say Panthers Nation!