A phrase I have heard a lot this offseason is "by committee", referring to our large group of #2-#3 receivers and our mixed group of aging or injured RBs. As the season progresses I'm sure certain players will emerge as the go to guys but through the pre-season and opening 4-5 games the offense will be rotating a lot to try and find the right fit. It should be interesting to see a lot of two TE sets with a mix of speed/power backs and fresh WRs coming in. It should make for a lot of options (if Mike Shula can step out of his box). On the other side of the ball the most interesting rotations should come on the defensive line along with Charles Godfrey slipping from Safety to CB, especially as a blitzer.
Wide Recievers: Cotchery seems to be the most fit for the #1 WR on the roster but played his best in slot. Last season the Panthers put Ginn on the left as a speed guy, will we see Tiquan Underwood as his replacement? With Benjamin, Avant as well as less recognized McNutt and Pilares fighting to make an impact we should have a wild card corps with everyone looking to prove themselves. The first 5 games should be fun to watch as players rotate around to different roles. For all we know Benjamin is the Slot WR of our dreams and Jason Avant is the new #1.
Running Backs: Cam, Williams, Tolbert, Stewart, Barner, Gaffney. All will be getting reps, especially in a run-first and clock control offense. The strongest part of our Oline is Center and Guard, look for a different RB to be hitting that whole, which will make for some interesting 3/4th and short calls. Also the reoccurring theme of returning to a two TE set only amplifies the the idea of us crossing our fingers for more than 3 yards up the middle.
Defensive Line: We have multiple DEs that specialize in rushing the passer OR stopping the run. Some players like Johnson, Hardy and Star can do both but on 3rd and long I'd like to see Ealy on the inside. As far as stopping the run guys like Colin Cole coming through the middle may be interesting to watch.
Defensive Backs: The best rotations to look for will be at the FS and SS playing in the nickel and box while still stopping the deep ball, which has been a problem the past couple seasons. Roman Harper worries me the most but I believe DeCoud and Lester will be a great pair with Godfrey in the slot.
I have never been more excited for pre-season football than I am this year, thanks for reading. Let me know your thoughts!