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A Case For Being Optimistic.


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#31 XClown1986

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 11:38 AM

My biggest point is it is WAY too early to decide whether our team is better or worse. We are early on in free agency, the draft isn't here yet, and every team will have to make cuts. Not to mention the possibility of trades. Step 1 was trim the fat. Lets see what steps 2 and 3 are before we throw this team under the bus.

#32 SmootsDaddy89

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 11:41 AM

Based off LB play, I agree, we will be average against the run...but I say at best. That doesn't speak well to the front four.

Here's my optimism--NFC West, Browns, Lions and the Bucs (twice). Average play will surely get us six wins of those eight games. See...I can be optimistic. :)

Keep in mind we went to the NFC Championship game in 2005 with Brenston Buckner and some pig farmer from Iowa. Do you think our current tackles are worse than that rotation?


Like someone else said, my BIGGEST and overarching concern on the d-line is Brown being in on first and second down. I'm not sure he'll be strong enough or experienced enough to be solid against the run.

#33 rayzor

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 11:41 AM

re: hoover...as much as his presence will be missed in the locker room, he wasn't a vital part of the run game. he was important when he was on the field but that wasn't as often as you think.

between williams, stewart, goodson, and sutton the panthers ran 473 times. hoover was on the field blocking 216 times. now i can't find anything that shows how well they did with hoover blocking in front of them but i do know that stewart ran 42 times around the right end where the FB lines up and avg. 6.1 ypc. this was a lower ypc than he had running around the LE where the TEs line up but he ran around the right end more than anywhere.

williams, on the other hand, didn't run around the RE all that much. 25 carries at 4.0 yards each. most of his carries came on the right side.

what does this mean? imo, it means that while we do use the FB more than most teams, it isn't as pivotal as many think. it's important but not nearly as important as the talent we have at RB and on that OL.

between sutton and fiammetta, i think we will do just fine.with magazu teaching these two how to block and skipper helping hone their RB skills and mindset (important for a blocking FB to think like a RB), we should see quite a bit of improvement.

#34 panthers55

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 11:43 AM

I know a lot of people are confused, uncertain, or even upset by some of the moves made by the Panther's front office this off-season. I figure it is my duty, as carolinhuddle's most respected poster, to quell the voices of some of the malcontents like p55 and others spreading doomsday messages every chance they get.


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Jake Delhomme
You have to be a complete imbecile (looking at you, AK) to believe that we're worse off at the QB position now than we were last season. Will Matt Moore play like Tom Brady next year? Probably not. Will he even play as well as he did the last five games of 2009? It's a toss-up. But really, if he plays only as well as Jake did in 2009 (Not that well, mind you) we'd still have an excellent shot at snagging a playoff spot next year.

Brad Hoover
When the Panthers drafted Tony Fiammetta in the fourth round last year, we all knew this was coming. I actually expected Hoover would be cut after last season when we drafted him. Hoover was an average fullback, no matter how badly people here would like to deify him. Fiammetta was one of the more highly-touted fullbacks coming out of college. He has all the skills needed to be an elite fullback in the NFL. Will he be that kind of player? I don't know. I wouldn't judge him based on his terribly limited playing time last year. With a full off-season's worth of practice with the starters, I truly believe that he will be a beast of a fullback next season.

Muhsin Muhammad
Look, I love Moose, you love Moose, we all love Moose. But to pretend that his ability (outside of blocking) hasn't been declining lately is foolish thinking. This, along with defensive end, is a weak spot. And from the looks of things, it appears Jarrett will be given a chance to start next season, regardless of who we bring in. (Although I do think we'll take someone in the second or third round in the draft, but probably they'll spend this season playing the slot, unless Jarrett fails miserably.) I don't know how this will work out, truthfully. I could see Jarrett finally sobering up (literally) and taking responsibility when it's finally forced on him, and I hope that's what happens. I still believe that he has all the tools to be Moose Jr, if he gets serious about it.

Keydrick Vincent
Keydrick was diamond in the rough, but MacKenzy Bernadeau (aka the French Flattener) showed that he's more than capable of taking over for him. I don't even think most people are concerned about Vincent anyway, so I'll leave it at that.

Julius Peppers/Tyler Brayton
Julius Peppers was dominating when he wanted to be, but he was also a lazy asshole. No one's going to be terribly sad to see him go. Brayton was an excellent signing for us, so much so that we actually tried to retain him, despite him being 30. I still think we will re-sign him once he realizes he's not worth what he thinks he is. (If Seattle is any indication, it doesn't appear we're the only ones who think he's worth less than he does.) If not, we may very well use another early pick on a defensive end. I have all the confidence in the world in Charles Johnson, however. And I believe Brown will be a great pass-rusher. My main concern is his ability to play the run. Douglas, despite his age, is another possible solution here as well.

Maake Kemoeatu/Damione Lewis
Kemo was a fat turd who excelled at grabbing guards and centers and giving them great big bear hugs, but outside of that, he's been horribly overrated by our fanbase. And no matter how good you think he is, he simply will never be able to perform at a high level again with his injury. Lewis was good in a ROTATION, but not as the starter. If we could bring him back for cheap, I'd be happy with that. But both sides seem to believe it's not happening. Leonard, Tyler, Irvin, and even Johnson provide a good rotation, and I believe they're capable of replacing Kemo and Lewis. We may not have a dominant NT anymore, but really we haven't had that since we traded Jenkins.


Na'il Diggs
Like Hoover, the writing was pretty much on the wall here once we drafted Dan Connor, especially considering how much Dan was hyped as being the next great Penn State linebacker heading into the draft. People say Anderson will probably get the start, but I really think it's going to be Connor's job to lose, and we should still have one of the best linebacker corps in the NFL next year. Connor, simply put, is a bad mother f**ker. Just check his wallet.



One final point here.

How quickly we forget that just two years ago, we were in much the same position as we are now. We lost/replaced nine starters from the 2007 season: Foster, Colbert, Wahle, Hartwig, Bridges, Rucker, Jenkins, Morgan, and Cooper. We went into the 2008 season with two rookies starting at the key positions of right tackle and free safety, with another (Stewart) basically a starter himself because of how we use our running backs. What was the result? A 12-4 season, an NFC South title, a first-round bye in the playoffs, and who knows what else could have been if Jake didn't implode.

Losing players doesn't HAVE to have a major impact on a team's ability to perform at a high level the following season. Provided you have the players to replace those that you lost. Hell, Miami had a large roster turnover prior to the 2008 season as well, and they won their division, just one year after finishing 1-15. With the possible exceptions of wide receiver and defensive end, I believe we have the players already on the roster to fill the shoes of those we've lost.


So cheer up panthers55, Pat Kirwan is a useless douche who should shave that ridiculous mustache of his.


I only read the last 2 paragraphs as you suggested so I will comment on those. First of all we didn't lose nine starters from the 2007 season. First of all Bridges was on our team in 2008. Of those that left, Foster got less playing time as Williams took over for him and wasn't a big factor by the end of the season. Colbert started some games but was much less of a factor than Moose has been. Hartwig was on IR most of the season, Morgan hardly played and Cooper was a role player on special teams. Of the players you named Jenkins qand Rucker were the only real starters we missed. And jenkins is the only one we couldn't replace and still haven't. Rucker retired and due to knee injuries and other factors was over the hill and not uch of a factor. Brayton was more valuable than he was his last year.

The comparisons you make to 2007-2008 aren't close to the caliber of players we lost this year with the exception of Jenkins. And for the most part at least 2 of them retired where this year our players were cut despite wanting to play and many of them still performing at a high level.
In 2008 we also had more draft picks and begane this merry go round of trading our future number 1 pick by having 2 1st rounders that year. Given we only have 5 picks this year and no first rounder, we won't be picking the Jeff Otahs and Jonathan Stewarts to fill in the gaps and create 2 instant contributors. Plus we didn't lose a whole squad at once like we did on the defensive line this year. For instance we lost Jenkins and Ruckers but still had Peppers, Kemo, and Lewis as starters. With the exception of Johnson the rest of the guys are gone. On the offensive line we lost hartwig and Wahle but still had Bridges, Gross, Wharton as returning veterans and Kalil as a second year player. I don't hear much noise about Vincent because we are talking one position on the line not a total overhaul like with the defense. So your comparisons while appealing on a very surface cursory look don't hold much merit when you actually delve into the issue at all.

#35 SmootsDaddy89

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 11:59 AM

I only read the last 2 paragraphs as you suggested so I will comment on those. First of all we didn't lose nine starters from the 2007 season. First of all Bridges was on our team in 2008.


Was he starting? Okay then. I said lost/replaced specifically to include Bridges.




Of those that left, Foster got less playing time as Williams took over for him and wasn't a big factor by the end of the season.


The only game in which Williams had more carries than Foster was the very last game against New Orleans.

Colbert started some games but was much less of a factor than Moose has been.

I could include Carter if you'd like, since he started the games Colbert didn't and we lost both at the same time.


Hartwig was on IR most of the season,


If by most, you mean none.



Morgan hardly played

Okay?

He was a seven-year starter.

and Cooper was a role player on special teams.

Not arguing about his talent level. He was a starter.




The comparisons you make to 2007-2008 aren't close to the caliber of players we lost this year with the exception of Jenkins. And for the most part at least 2 of them retired where this year our players were cut despite wanting to play and many of them still performing at a high level.



Already covered this in a previous post.

In 2008 we also had more draft picks and begane this merry go round of trading our future number 1 pick by having 2 1st rounders that year. Given we only have 5 picks this year and no first rounder, we won't be picking the Jeff Otahs and Jonathan Stewarts to fill in the gaps and create 2 instant contributors.


Yes, because you can only get immediate contributors through the draft in the first round!!!!!1111

Plus we didn't lose a whole squad at once like we did on the defensive line this year. For instance we lost Jenkins and Ruckers but still had Peppers, Kemo, and Lewis as starters. With the exception of Johnson the rest of the guys are gone. On the offensive line we lost hartwig and Wahle but still had Bridges, Gross, Wharton as returning veterans and Kalil as a second year player. I don't hear much noise about Vincent because we are talking one position on the line not a total overhaul like with the defense. So your comparisons while appealing on a very surface cursory look don't hold much merit when you actually delve into the issue at all.


None of all that really relates to my main point at all.

#36 ncbobcat

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 12:03 PM

Keep in mind we went to the NFC Championship game in 2005 with Brenston Buckner and some pig farmer from Iowa. Do you think our current tackles are worse than that rotation?


Like someone else said, my BIGGEST and overarching concern on the d-line is Brown being in on first and second down. I'm not sure he'll be strong enough or experienced enough to be solid against the run.



Yeah, Carstens was the weak link and I still don't know the beef people had with Buckner besides the defensive offsides. That still left Rucker and Peppers. Right now I can't say Brown is as good as Peppers (more heart) and Johnson is as good as Rucker.

That is 3 SOLID of 4 D-lineman (though you may disagree about Buckner). We have a complete unknown about our current front four. To me, that's a BIG difference. I must have been born in Missouri in a former life becasue I definitely have the SHOW ME mentality. Potential is nebulous to me especially when it is a complete unknown as this unit is. Individually, you can make an arguement for potential, but that's about the beginning and end of it.

#37 SmootsDaddy89

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 12:07 PM

Bucker was okay. He was better when he played with Jenkins though. Rucker was already starting his decline by then imo. Really, it was an issue in 2004 with his heart problems. I think Johnson is certainly as good as Rucker was when he was younger.

#38 rayzor

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 12:11 PM

My point wasn't about how super awesome the players we let go were, but about how well the players behind them were able to fill the gaps, mainly because we've been drafting extremely well lately. Only two holes (Vincent and Moose) were even filled through free agency in 2008.

I would agree that some of the players let go this season are better than what we lost after 2007, nevertheless, it doesn't detract from my main argument.

And we still have plenty of time to make those same types of minor signings that end up paying off next season.

totally agree with this. it wasn't the quality of players that got the boot making the hole...it was the hole itself that was the issue. what happened there? we got better. with the exception maybe of DT, we got better in every position.

some of the pieces we used were on the team already. others were brought in as rookies or non-high profile FAs.

despite those big players that were lost this year, the core is still strong.
as far as QB is concerned, we will be going into next season in better shape than we did last year.

RBs are still the best. sutton being given a year under his belt and a good bit of PT as a rusher, receiver, and blocking FB should improve. anyone not impressed with how well he did as a blocker considering his size and the fact that role was new to him is blind. goodson just needs to settle down and mature. hopefully this past season and this offseason will bring that but remember that he's still just a young kid. the talent, energy, athleticism, and potential is there. he just has to wrap his head around it.

OL is still downright studly. did some major shifting after gross went down and they still rocked. good news is gross will be back and we now have one of the strongest guys in the league playing RG now in big mack.

LBs will see little to no drop-off. sure diggs was underrated but he was, in a sense, a little overrated as well. when the defense was at it's best last year, diggs was either hurt and off the field or was seeing less and less PT with every game.

DBs are still as good as last year....and they were very good last year. all questions and doubts i had about them last year are gone. i would liek to have kept wesley to back up harris and to continue the joker role he did so well but we can find someone else to handle that. i feel really good about FS right now. i'm loving gamble, marshall, and the captain. hopefully we can keep marshal but all is far from lost if he goes.

STs should also be improved going into this year. new ST coach and two good new gunners coming in and an apparent early emphasis on improving the STs will help.

#39 MadHatter

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 12:21 PM

...and our d-line was swiss cheese for the better part of last season with guys like Lewis and Peppers.

Having said all that, I would feel better with one more experienced DT and DE in the mix. Brayton could serve both those roles so I'm hoping we can reel him back in, but I understand why we don't want to shell out big time $ for him.


I think you will get your wish at DE. I fully expect us to sign a Brayton type player sometime during FA. Heck,it might even be Brayton. He is still available.

I don't think we bring in another vet DT. We have Leonard and Tyler that performed well before being injured and for which we traded draft picks. Irvin has the skills to be that pressure guy up the middle. Hayden is a waste of air. Given that Johnson slides inside...as could Brayton (if we re-sign him), I think DT is set. We will prob take one somewhere later in the draft if they are bpa.

#40 panthers55

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 12:21 PM

Was he starting? Okay then. I said lost/replaced specifically to include Bridges.






The only game in which Williams had more carries than Foster was the very last game against New Orleans.


I could include Carter if you'd like, since he started the games Colbert didn't and we lost both at the same time.




If by most, you mean none.



Okay?

He was a seven-year starter.


Not arguing about his talent level. He was a starter.







Already covered this in a previous post.


Yes, because you can only get immediate contributors through the draft in the first round!!!!!1111



None of all that really relates to my main point at all.


Seriously?? Colbert was a factor? Cooper was a factor outside of special teams? Notice we didn't include Wesley this year yet he isn't signed because it is special teams. And rumbling bumbling Foster???? You obviously don't care about the truth just trying to win the argument at all costs.

Jenkins and Wahle were the only guys we missed from that squad and with the exception of Otah and Vincent already had their replacements on the squad. Fortunately we had two 1st round choices so we could move Gross to left tackle and replace Foster with Stewart.

Again how many guys have come in and started for us in their rookie year who weren't first rounders? Marshall who was a second rounder at nickel back and Godfrey in 2008 where he sucked balls most of the year. Martin played 3 games last year as well. Now how are going to use our five lousy draft picks to fill in all the holes since there are few decent free agency guys to fill in. Too bad many of the best guys in free agency were our castoffs.

You can spin this anyway you want but the reality is that the current squad without significant help will be the only Fox squad that fails to win 7 games. The only good news is that we still have time to get better and change things.

#41 SmootsDaddy89

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 12:26 PM

:|


If you still can't grasp that I am talking about filling holes and not the quality of players who left those holes, you should probably go take a nap or something.


And for the record, Witherspoon started 8 games in 2002 and was very good. Foster would have started every game for us if not for his injury.

#42 MadHatter

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 12:27 PM

We had a very good LB corps to limit the runs much past 5 yards. They sure as heck weren't getting much resistance from the front four except when that old @ss Hollis Thomas guy started playing for us.


If our DT's sucked so bad last season, why is everyone so torn up about them leaving?

#43 panthers55

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 12:32 PM

:|


If you still can't grasp that I am talking about filling holes and not the quality of players who left those holes, you should probably go take a nap or something.


And for the record, Witherspoon started 8 games in 2002 and was very good. Foster would have started every game for us if not for his injury.


Filling holes with anybody isn't the same as filling holes with guys who are as good or better than who they replaced. And if you can't see that why are you wasting everyone's time with all these longwinded grandiose posts?

And why are we talking 2002 and Witherspoon? And if you don't remember that williams took over in 2007 because his yards per carry were higher and Foster fumbled several times in critical situations, you should lay off the pot since it gives you memory loss and you seem already affected.

#44 SmootsDaddy89

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 12:38 PM

Filling holes with anybody isn't the same as filling holes with guys who are as good or better than who they replaced. And if you can't see that why are you wasting everyone's time with all these longwinded grandiose posts?


I agree with this. The problem is that you've elevated the old farts and role-players we let go of to such a high position that, in your mind, it's impossible for ANYONE to play as well as they did. And that's the fundamental difference between us. You think Na'il Diggs and Brad Hoover save babies from burning buildings in between stuffing running backs behind the line and flinging defensive tackles out of the stadium to clear a hole for Williams and Stewart. And I think they were average to above average, and very replaceable.



And why are we talking 2002 and Witherspoon? And if you don't remember that williams took over in 2007 because his yards per carry were higher and Foster fumbled several times in critical situations, you should lay off the pot since it gives you memory loss and you seem already affected.


Foster started every game and was given more carries in every game than Williams. Yes, it was clear Williams was the better back, but for whatever reason, Fox stuck with Foster for the entire season. If your old man brain chooses to remember differently, that is not my problem.

And I brought up Witherspoon because you seem to be of the opinion that we never get immediate impact players past the first round. How about Colbert's rookie season in 2004? Or we can talk about Mike Siedman getting several starts in 2003. Those are just off the top of my head.

#45 ncbobcat

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 12:48 PM

If our DT's sucked so bad last season, why is everyone so torn up about them leaving?


Becasue you could piecemeal a decent line with a combination of older and younger players instead of going with all unprovens.


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