I hope Ginn can become the #3 WR b/c he is the only receiver we have on the team that truly has the speed to take the top off of a defense. I think of the receivers that left after the 2013 Season (Smitty, LaFell, Ginn, Hixson), Ginn was the only one I think the Panthers truly wanted to keep. Obviously, you saw how downhill our return game went last year (though in fairness it wasn't just the returner- the blocking and coverage sucked). But beyond being just a premier returner, for whatever reason Ginn has more of a connection with Newton than any other QB he's played with. Ginn as the #3 allows the Panthers to do a lot more schematically than the other choices. Ginn's speed prevents constant 8 man boxes which allows the threat of Newton running to be that much more dangerous. Why do you think the Panthers were so willing to give Stephen Hill a chance? The Panthers tried to use Corey Brown in that position last year out of necessity, but to me, I see Brown best playing the role Hixson did in 2013 as the #4 WR. I still think Cochery ends up as the #5 WR due to his veteran leadership and presence. Beyond that, I am intrigued by Damiere Byrd like a lot of the rest of you, but I think the Panthers will be able to stash him on the PS. If they do keep 6 WR's, I wouldn't be opposed to them keeping Byrd b/c the 6th WR is mostly inactive, and I honestly don't see why the Panthers would keep Bersin, Boykin, or anyone else over Byrd given his upside. I guess the only thing Bersin and Boykin have working in their favor in ST ability.
I certainly don't know how anyone outside of unknowledgeable national jacks could pick them to be division champs, but as long as they have Brees, they got a shot. As much as I hate mole face (and seriously if you had $100M + would you not remove that turd stain on your face?), he is a first ballot hall of famer and he still can pick us apart if we can't get pressure like we have the last few years.
The Panthers were competitive and had a chance to win most games in '11 and '12 when we had Cam and not much else on offense.
It's certainly hard to see them as a team that could make any noise deep in the playoffs let alone the division, but there not going to be an easy win either
I think there is some validity to PFF, especially in their evaluations of one-on-one situations. Meaning I take a lot of stock in their grades for receivers and defensive backs, especially on passing plays. Even with running backs it is fairly useful in terms of yards after contact, broken tackles, etc.
However, the assignments for lineman are a lot harder to decipher if you're not the coach calling the plays and knowing who has what assignment on a given play. A guy could look like he got beat when he is just trying to cover (late) for another guy that blew an assignment. Offensive lineman by their very nature are switching guys off bc the defense is constantly trying to trick them or overload a certain part of the line via blitzing.
I trust Rivera and Gettleman's evaluation way more than a 3rd party website. Both have proven to be pretty straight up in their evaluations of guys to the media.
I honestly feel way better about the offensive line outside of LT this year than any year since probably '08 or '09. Jordan Gross really was a guy it was easy to take for granted.
As long as CJ stays healthy, I feel pretty good about the defensive line. Obviously it would be awesome to still have CJ and Hardy, but I don't want to discount what KK brings. He has quietly become of the best interior rushers in the NFL. The D line still has top 10 potential, maybe top 5 if Ealy or Big Frank step up
That being said, I do like PFF. But there's a lot more to the value of lineman (and linebackers for that matter) than what somebody watching film and not knowing the play call is going to see