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Taking Inventory Following the 2013 Draft


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#1 Stroupe-a-loop

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 06:30 AM

The Good:

1. Improvements at defensive tackle: We now have 2 great, young, complementary guys to develop at defensive tackle. And the bar has been so low there that anything approaching average would be a colossal improvement.

2. Overall D-line: now that we aren't fielding scrubs at DT, the play of the whole d-line should be improved. We have a chance to develop what is the most feared defensive force in football: a front 4 that is versatile and gets consistent pressure on the passer.

3. Injuries. We get pro bowl team captains back from injury this season with guys like Jon Beason and Ryan Kalil. Leadership is fun to talk about and important, but we need those guys on the field a lot this year. There respective units can't afford to lose them.

4. The young roster trending up. We have a lot of youth that has the potential to play well or has already played well. If just a few guys make an improvement, we could legitimately be a good team in this league.

The Bad:

1. Expectations at defensive tackle: We spent our top two picks on what are top prospects at defensive tackle. That said, the bust rate at DT is astonishing and they rarely excel as rookies. I know it sucks to say, but a healthy Ron Edwards (yeah, right) might have given us more this year than either rookie will. It takes time to add strength and technique, and it just might not come together this year.

2. Injuries: We will get good players back, but we will suffer injuries again. It just depends on where we get them. A couple blows to running back, Defensive tackle, or Defensive end? Survivable? Offensive line, Wide Receiver, or QB? Devastating. This is a factor for every team every year, and it will continue to be for us while we try to build depth in the coming years.

3. Old players trending down: Guys like Smitty and Gross have played at a high level into their mid-30's. Which is incredible. But Father Time is undefeated. We just have to hope that this year isn't THE year for them, and if it is, we are going to be in the weeds.

4. No young buck for Cam: You have to surround a young quarterback with talent, and I feel like we have, but a lot of that talent will be done by the time he's entering his prime. Lafell and Olsen are really the only receivers that will probably be with him in a few seasons. And while I think Olsen is rock solid, Lafell has flashed, good and bad, for his first three years. We need him to step up, but regardless of whether he does or not, we need more young talented guys. I feel like this is the last year we could afford to whistle through the graveyard while we set down bedrock at other positions. It has to be addressed next year, and if injuries set in with our pass catchers, we are sunk for the season.

The Ugly

The secondary: If this was any other team, I would openly mock this unit constantly, but because it belongs to us, I don't think it's that funny. The lack of proven talent and high level prospects is laughably bad. If they are not getting beaten quick or deep constantly, it will be because our D-line has turned into the 91 Eagles line or we got lucky and a couple guys became players. I don't even mention injuries because I'm not sure it matters. This could easily unravel our season.

Overview:
We have a chance, better than any in the Cam Newton era to make the playoffs. But we are going to need luck. We have some major holes on defense and major depth issues on offense. Let's hope that we stay healthy during training camp and preseason and do something surprising like adding some veteran DBs before the season. A lot to like and a lot to cringe at, but that's the truth for most NFL teams. We just need to catch a break. . . For once.

#2 Jackofalltrades

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 06:46 AM

I am fine with our secondary.

Also, I don't see any "major" holes. I'm pretty content with the roster.

#3 Stroupe-a-loop

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 07:40 AM

I am fine with our secondary.

Also, I don't see any "major" holes. I'm pretty content with the roster.


Care to go into any sort of detail with that?

#4 L-TownCat

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 08:03 AM

I'm with Joat on this one. I'm fairly certain that this mash unit of a secondary will be adequate to average. They won't have a pick 6 every week or any week for that matter. But this front 7 should get the job done and mask a lot of their short comings. A return to the power run game will eliminate a lot of young Cams mistakes and reduce the burden he has been saddled with his first 2 years. The weapons on offense are there. The line should greatly improve with a second year Amini, and a returning Kalil. We will have a fierce camp this year and noone will feel safe. This is a good team and it will finally show in the wins and losses column.

#5 carolina-chuck

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 10:31 AM

I think we're better at secondary than what most people think. And, lets hope that the injuries doesnt impact our players. The teams that stays healthy are the one with the chances of making it all the way.

#6 top dawg

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 11:07 AM

3. Old players trending down: Guys like Smitty and Gross have played at a high level into their mid-30's. Which is incredible. But Father Time is undefeated. We just have to hope that this year isn't THE year for them, and if it is, we are going to be in the weeds.


If this is "THE year for them", we aren't going to "be in the weeds". we will be smoking weed.

#7 Jackofalltrades

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 11:18 AM

Care to go into any sort of detail with that?


Sure.

I'm going with the guys we had from last season, ignoring the new guys- mainly Florence.

Thomas- reminds me of what Captain could be if he wasn't a midget. They have very similar cocky attitudes that help them, especially at the LOS. I bring this up for a reason. He's good on the press, has good size, speed, hip fluidity and ball skills. He's aggressive, but not overly so that it keeps him in trouble.

Norman- he's like Velcro when he's engaged to a receiver. He has avg speed, but exceptional ball skills and a very good awareness about him. His biggest- by far- issue is confidence. The Bears game is a perfect example. Against Brandon Marshall he ALWAYS gave a 7-10 yard cushion at the line. However, against Hester who's less of a WR but a much better athlete he pressed him. If he can restore his confidence and challenge the top WR's at the LOS I think he will be very, very good.

Godfrey- he's a CB convert who started at FS, moved to SS and is now back at FS. I think his natural fit is at FS and I expect him to be better there now that he has a lot of reps as a NFL S.

Campbell- I really liked how he stepped in and immediately provided a spark. He's still raw and adjusting to the NFL but last years reps can only help him. He's a thumper who's not afraid to move into the box and offer run support. He is solid in coverage, but his coverage ability will probably limit him to SS. I think he'll do we'll enough against most match ups but he'll struggle with the upper echelon receivers.

Lastly- Naka isn't a starter. That alone provides a big improvement.

#8 panthers55

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 11:42 AM

Don't see the concern. The guys like Star coming in don't have to be studs just large guys who plug up the middle. Short may not even start this year with D Edwards already there. He was drafted for the future not now. As for injuries, who can say what will happen. Any team will be hurting if they lose a number of crucial playmakers. As for guys like Smith, can we at least wait until he gets less than 1000 yards before we keep crying about his demise. I know he has been in the league for forever but he is still only 34 years old and has shown no sign of slowing down. I figure next year will be soon enough to find his replacement give that there will twice as many guys in free agency compared to this year including a number of wide receivers. We needed to fix the defensive line and we did. I just don't understand all the chicken little attitudes and it isn't even May.

#9 thennek

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 12:30 PM

The secondary just improved this week with the addition of Star and Short along with Johson, Dwan, and Hardy. This defensive line will get after the QB, stop the run, and dominate the game. In 2003, the Panthers front 4 was one of the best in the league, and coupled with a solid LB core, the Panthers defense was outstanding. And the CB's in 2003 were: Reggie Howard, and Terry Cousins who were far from being pro-bowlers. If the Panthers front 7 is as good as I think it will be this year, we will not need an all-pro secondary to have a very solid defense.

It's been so long since the Panthers have had a dominating front 7, I think most have forgotten what one looks like and how it can win games. I miss the days of Peppers, Rucker, Jenkins, and Buckner, and I look forward to the new days of Star, Short, Johnson and Hardy.


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