YOOOAdrian’s 2010 NFL Preview- Carolina Panthers

Inconsistency is the moto of this squad since there 1st Super Bowl appearance in 2003.  They’ve been up and down over the years more than Jessica Simpson’s love life.  Except this season, there’s no Jake Delhomme.  That can be a great thing, or surprisingly a bad thing.  Believe it or not, Delhomme had some great years and some trainwrecks.  Oh, and there’s no Julius Peppers rushing the quarterback either.  Anyway, if you believe in trends, Carolina is destined to be over .500 this season.

 Quarterbacks

Matt Moore-  85/138  61.6%  1,053 yds  8 td  2 int  98.5 rat

Carolina holds the distinctions of the having the least amount of experience at the quarterback position.  They have a collection of 8 total starts, all by Matt Moore.  Moore has a career record of 6-2 and was 4-1 last year.  The vast difference between Moore and Delhomme are the turnovers.  Moore, like Delhomme went undrafted. 

Moore doesn’t have the attributes of an All-Pro quarterback, but for now that’s fine because he’s smart and a good decision maker.  He has enough arm strength to make throws, but can’t fire the ball into tight windows.  He has good sense in the pocket and can escape and avoid the pass rush.

Others- Jimmy Clausen, Tony Pike

Clausen surprisingly slid into the 2nd round and the 48th overall pick in the NFL Draft.  He could be the steal of the draft.  Clausen is familiar with Offensive Coordinator Jeff Davidson’s offense.  Davidson worked under Clausen’s former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis at New England.

PRESEASON_PANTHERS_JETS_24

(Jimmy Clausen)

Pike is a 6th round pick from Cincinnati.

 GRADE- 6.75

 Running Backs

DeAngelo Williams- 216 car  1,117 yds  5.2 avg  7 td  29 rec  252 yds 

Carolina splits the carries between the NFL’s best running back tandem of Williams and Jonathan Stewart.  Head Coach John Fox likes to keep both backs fresh.  Last season, Williams and Stewart became the 1st running back duo ever to amass over 1,100 rushing yards each.

(DeAngelo Williams)

Williams is the speedster.  He has great vision, short area quickness, the speed to turn the corner and a bevy of moves to make highlight-reel runs.

Jonathan Stewart- 221 car  1,133 yds  5.1 avg  18 rec  139 yds  1 td

Stewart is the bulldozer and complements Williams perfectly.  He runs people over and moves piles.  Stewart has enough burst for longer gains.

Others- Tyrell Sutton, Mike Goodson, Tony Fiammetta

Williams and Stewart aren’t the greatest pass catchers.  The team is hoping that Sutton can be that 3rd down back.

Goodson showed flashes as a 3rd round rookie, but he fumbles too much.

Fiammetta takes over for longtime Panther Brad Hoover at fullback.

GRADE- 9

 Receivers

 Steve Smith- 65 rec  982 yds  15.1 avg  7 td

Carolina has been looking for a complementary receiver for Smith, and a successor to Muhsin Muhammed for 6 seasons.  Smith was constantly double-teamed last year. 

(Steve Smith)

Smith is 31 now, but can still scoot.  Smith may be a short target, but he runs good, crisp routes and possesses the speed to get deep. 

Dwayne Jarrett- 17 rec  196 yds  11.5 avg  1 td

The number two spot is an open competition.  The team drafted 3 wide receivers and hoping someone can emerge. 

For now Jarrett possesses the starting spot opposite Smith.  Jarrett has been a disappointment since being drafted in the 2nd round in 2007.  He needs to show improvement.

Brandon LaFell- ROOKIE

LaFell is a 3rd round pick from LSU.  LaFell has the size and length to cause mismatches in the secondary.

TE- Jeff King- 25 rec  200 yds  8.0 avg  3 td

King is used primarily as a blocking tight end.

Others- Armanti Edwards, Kenny Moore, David Gettis, Dante Rosario.

Edwards is a converted quarterback drafted in the 3rd round from Appalachian State.

Moore has good hands and is a possession receiver.

Gettis is a speedy receiver drafted in the 6th round from Baylor.

Rosario is a pass catching tight end.

GRADE- 7.25

 Offensive Line

LT- Jordan Gross

Gross is coming off a broken right tibia and fibula suffered in November.  Gross is technically sound using his quick hands.  He doesn’t make many mistakes.

LG- Travelle Wharton

Wharton is versatile and packs a solid initial punch.

 C- Ryan Kalil

Coming off his 1st Pro-Bowl, Kalil has established himself as one of the better centers in the NFL.  He’s an outstanding run blocker.  He’s quick off the ball and is very athletic for an offensive lineman.

(Ryan Kalil)

 RG- Mackenzy Bernadeau

Bernadeau needs to improve his run blocking skills.

 RT- Jeff Otah

Otah plays on the right side because of his outstanding, mashing run blocking abilities.  He does need to improve his pass protection.

 GRADE- 9

 Defensive Line

 LDE- Tyler Brayton- 45 tck  5 sck  2 ff  1 p def

Brayton is a solid run stuffer who can move inside in passing situations.  He’s not the greatest athlete, but he’s tough and plays with a high motor.

LDT- Louis Leonard- 6 tck  1 sck

Leonard is back after breaking his ankle last season.  He’s a space eater.

RDT- Tank Tyler- 6 tck

Tank is a tank in the weight room, but not so much on the football field.

RDE- Everette Brown- 22 tck  2.5 sck  2 ff  2 p def

A lot of pressure is on Brown as he has to take over the greatest pass rusher in team history in Julius Peppers.  Carolina spent a 2010 1st round pick to go get Brown in the 2nd round in last year’s draft.

(Everette Brown)

Brown is a bit undersized, but he’s a natural pass rusher with a quick first step and a nice spin move.  His size will be a hinderance in the run game. 

Others- Charles Johnson, Ed Johnson, Eric Norwood

Charles Johnson is another undersized end.  He plays with a lot of energy.

Ed Johnson is a proven run stuffer.

Norwood is a 4th round pick from Mississippi State who can play end or outside linebacker.

GRADE- 7

 Linebackers

 LOLB- Dan Connor- 30 tck

Connor is a downhill player who’s best against the run.

MLB- Jon Beason- 141 tck  3 sck  3 int  7 p def  1 ff

Beason is one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL.  He’s quick and fast, plays with great range from sideline to sideline, and has great short area burst.  He is simply a tackle machine.  He’s o.k. vs the pass.

(Jon Beason)

ROLB- Thomas Davis- 61 tck  1.5 sck  2 int  5 p def 

Davis was on his way to a Pro-Bowl season until tearing his ACL in week 9.  He gets to the ball in a flash, plays aggressively and has good awareness.

Others- Jordan Senn, James Anderson, Jamar Williams

Anderson and Williams will compete with Connor for the starting job on the left side for the departed Nai’ll Diggs.

GRADE- 8

 Secondary

 LCB- Chris Gamble- 58 tck  4 int  12 p def 

Gamble challenges the receiver at the line of scrimmage and has the speed to recover.  He has good ball skills as well.

RCB- Richard Marshall- 88 tck  4 int  9 p def 

Marshall is quick out of his breaks and is an asset against the run.

Richard Marshall Jerramy Stevens #86 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is tackled by Richard Marshall #31 of the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 8, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

(Richard Marshall)

CB- Captain Munnerlyn- 44 tck  1 p def  1 ff

At only 5’8, Munnerlyn may be a bit small, but he plays tough.

FS- Charles Godfrey- 45 tck  1 int  5 p def  4 ff

Godfrey has yet to put it all together, but he has the potential to do so.  He has size and speed.

SS- Sherrod Martin- 23 tck  3 int  4 p def  1 ff

Martin moves over to strong safety after starting at free safety last season for a few games when Godfrey was injured.  Martin has range and is quick out of his break.  He needs to improve his tackling.

Others- Jordan Pugh, R.J. Stanford

Pugh and Stanford are corners who were late round picks in the NFL Draft.  Pugh was a 6th round pick from Texas A+M while Stanford was 7th round pick from Utah. 

GRADE- 7.25

 Special Teams

 PK- John Kasay- 22/27  50 lg

Kasay hasn’t missed more than 5 field goals in a season since 2005.

P- Jason Baker- 76 punts  44.1 avg  22 in 20  61 lg

Baker will handle kickoffs as Rhys Lloyd is departed.  Lloyd’s 51 touchbacks were the most in the NFL over the past 2 seasons.

KR- Mike Goodson- 17 ret  20.7 avg  33 lg

Goodson is a burner.

PR- Captain Munnerlyn- 31 ret  9.0 avg  33 lg

Munnerlyn is another burner.

GRADE- 7

 2010 PREDICTION- 6-10

The big question for Carolina is the quarterback position.  How will Matt Moore play, and will Jimmy Clausen see any playing time.  Here’s the thing with this team.  All Moore has to do is the opposite of what Jake Delhomme did last season.  Just don’t turn the ball over.  The Panthers have an extraordinary duo of Williams and Stewart at running back to go along an outstanding run blocking offensive line.  Opposing defenses should see a lot of them.  I think Everette Brown will be fine, but he’s no Julius Peppers.  The safety position may be a concern as well.  Overall, the Panthers have a favorable schedule but can they win those games.

Offensive MVP- DeAngelo Williams

Defensive MVP- Jon Beason

Breakthrough- Everette Brown

Overrated- Chris Gamble

Underrated- Jonathan Stewart

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