When it comes to the Carolina Panthers training camp, there is so much to be excited about. An infusion of offensive rookie talent. Julius Peppers and Captain Munnerlyn are back to help the defense. Things appear to be on the up and up.
That is not to say everything is perfect. There are still a few areas that are questionable to say the least. Here are my top three.
Offensive Tackle is a mystery
This is perhaps the most glaring problem for the Carolina Panthers heading into training camp. The Panthers are now without both of their starting offensive tackles from the past two seasons. In there place are two guys that have seen mixed results in the NFL. What is most troubling here is that we are not talking about depth, we are talking about the starters. That isn’t good.
Third year right tackle Daryl Williams has shown consistent improvement, that is the good news. However, we don’t really know if he is ready to take on the duty of starting right tackle. His performance last year was a mixed bag as he got the starting nod by default due to injury. Speaking of injury, he hasn’t exactly been the most healthy player on the roster either. Williams has missed significant time in each of his first two season.
Matt Kalil was signed away from Minnesota, but like Williams his time in the NFL has seen mixed results, to put it nicely. Now, he has said he is completely healthy after hip surgery, so maybe that will translate into improved play on the field. The Carolina Panthers better hope so. Behind Kalil there is no real answer for left tackle.
Of course, there is Panthers rookie Taylor Moton who may end up being the best offensive tackle on the roster. That won’t happen immediately, however. The Panthers need to hope for a best case scenerio this year, that being two offensive tackles that perform adequately and remain healthy.
Depth at Safety
Next in line for camp concerns is the depth at the safety positions. The good news is the starting combination of Adams and Coleman could be the best the Panthers have ever seen. The bad new, behind them is a lineup that looks questionable at best.
The Carolina Panthers have always been high on third year player Dean Marlowe. However, Marlowe has been hampered by injuries throughout his career. At some point he needs to be able to suit up and play when needed.
Colin Jones is a special teams ace that has struggled some in the safety position as well as the buffalo nickel. Travell Dixon could be an answer here, but is currently an unknown. Dixon spent most of the season on the Panthers’ practice squad last season before being promoted to the regular roster for the final game of the season. Any way you slice it, safety depth remains a major concern.
What about Shula
Rounding out my list of concerns is how Mike Shula will implement and execute the new “evolved” offense of the Carolina Panthers. I love the player additions that have been made this offseason. Adding speed and versatility to the offense is absolutely a great move. Now, all that remains to be seen is Shula’s ability to get everyone on the same page, call the right plays in a timely manner, and score some points.
This is Mike Shula’s time to shine. He has enough talent on the offensive to be the envy of a majority of NFL offensive coordinators. If Shula fails to put together a top 15 offense in the NFL, it could be his last chance to do so.Agree? Disagree? You can sound off right here with thousands of Carolina Panthers fans.