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Carolina Panthers Competition at an All-Time High


In crafting his roster and molding it to his preferences, General Manager Dave Gettleman brought in players via free agency and the draft that are able to compete for playing time right now. In years past, under John Fox, training camp seemed to be a time where the usual suspects in the starting roles got into playing shape knowing their jobs were secured while the bottom half of the roster and depth guys tried to splash an earn a roster spot. These days are long gone.

Head Coach Ron Rivera has shown a tendency to make players earn their playing time. Unlike Fox whom often seemed loyal to certain players almost to a fault, Rivera has experimented with different lineups...particularly in the secondary. The days of struggling players getting the nod week in and week out are over and I believe this will be more noticeable this season as we have brought in experienced veterans at positions of need and greatly improved the bottom half our roster. Dave Gettleman, in one of his earliest press conferences with the Panthers, said this was one of his primary goals. I believe he has succeeded and am cautiously optimistic going forward. The free agents brought in coupled with the five players selected in the 2013 NFL Draft have greatly improved the roster overall even if a select few are starting week 1. Here is an inside look at some of the great camp battles that will be heating up in the following months and especially on the fields of Spartanburg:

The wide receiver position will likely be the biggest battle of camp. I suspect we place six guys on the active 53 man roster. Excluding the any UDFAs, there are currently ten receivers on the roster. I'd say only four of them are locks going forward.

Joe Adams

Lamont Bryant

Armanti Edwards

David Gettis

Ted Ginn

Domenik Hixon

Brandon LaFell

Kealoha Pilares

James Shaw

Steve Smith

Next up, the secondary. Between safety and cornerback excluding UDFAs, there are currently thirteen players on the roster. Corners are listed first. I could see another safety added in free agency, potentially.

James Dockery

Drayton Florence

Nick Hixson

DJ Moore

Captain Munnerlyn

Josh Norman

Josh Thomas

___________________

DJ Campbell

Charles Godfrey

Colin Jones

Mike Mitchell

Haruki Nakamura

Anderson Russell

In Spartanburg I will have my eye on possibly the most important camp-competition that is essential to this team's success: Guard. I suspect we may bring in another veteran with some of our remaining salary cap. A name to keep in mind is Brandon Moore.

Geoff Hangartner

Hayworth Hicks

Edmund Kugbila

Amini Silatolu

Justin Wells

Zack Williams

After our first two selections in this year's draft, the competition to get in on our defensive tackle will be worth a watch. We know several of these guys are locks to make the roster:

Nate Chandler

Colin Cole

Dwan Edwards

Sione Fua

Frank Kearse

Star Lotulelei

Kawann Short

It is no secret the linebacker position has several locks as well heading into the season. It is a strength of this roster but we cannot keep them all.

Jon Beason

Chase Blackburn

Thomas Davis

Doug Hogue

AJ Klein

Luke Kuechly

Jordan Senn

Jason Williams

Carolina surprised everyone by selecting Oregon running back Kenjon Barner in the sixth round of the draft. Running back has long been a strength on this roster and this year it will be no different. Mike Tolbert is a lock at fullback. I see us keeping four going into the season and we all know the locks to make the final roster:

Kenjon Barner

Tauren Poole

Armond Smith

Jonathan Stewart

DeAngelo Williams

Final Word/TLDR: Gettleman is looking to improve the depth and bottom half of this roster. I believe with the pieces in place he will be successful in just that. Camp competitions should be exciting and the best man will win out and earn a spot. All season long players will be battling in practices to take one another's job and that will improve this team on its own. I really believe our special teams will see great improvements this season if Adams makes the roster along with Barner, and they both are taken under the wing of Ginn. Senn will lead the special teams unit and I am anxious to see Klein out there with him laying the boom. When this team is trimmed down to the final roster of 53, I am confident the 53 will be much better at the top...and throughout the roster to the very bottom. This team can compete right now and competition at some key positions will bring out the best in the 2013 Carolina Panthers. We are due for a healthy, and winning season and if the coaching staff has grown and bettered themselves...we are destined to do some damage.


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Good posting! I agree, this team has gotten a lot better this offseason. Camp's gonna be very interesting, that's for sure.

I agree that the team will (or should) sign a FA guard before everything's said and done. I don't think it'll be Moore though, he'll be asking for a Levitre-esque contract.

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Som of the Guards Available are:

Brandon Moore, Jets, Age 33

Tyronne Green, Chargers, Age 27

Kory Lichtensteiger, Redskins, Age 28

Stephen Peterman, Lions, Age 31

Cooper Carlisle, Raiders, Age 36

Deuce Lutui, TItans, Age 30

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Great post. I agree with you on it all and specially this part which has me the most concerned

if the coaching staff has grown and bettered themselves

It will be interesting to see if Rivera has grown at all in his decision making, how Shula does (and if he is an upgrade on Chud) , and if the other RR, Richard Rodgers can finally whip the putrid special teams into a viable unit.

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Its great that the players know this as well. Expect them to come in the best shape they have been in their careers.

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Our best seasons have been when we have rosters that promote competition.

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Would read again.

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Pretty work Maine.

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Your tldr was too long.

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The backfill that Gettleman has brought in has been very smart from my perspective.

good post

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This is what builds championship teams. You take BPA regardless of need in draft, you add solid signings to promote competition and you become a more well-rounded, deeper team with flexibility to remove players from the team with high cap hits, while you have other players with talent waiting to start.

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Good post with actual information :)

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One of the best and most informative posts in some time.

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This is why I'm not that worried about safety spots. Mike Mitchell is a guy with physical talent that never quite peaked. Campbell and Naka are hard working guys and they are going to bring their best into TC. Sherrod Martin may have a say as well. Lester looks like a guy to take seriously as well. We will end up with a safety with a chip on his shoulder and ready to ball. We may not end up with a pro bowler but I'm totally expecting a decent safety coming out of that group that won't be a liability. Competition brings out the best in people. Same goes with CB.

Would like to see if Nelson Rosario is in the mix as well at TE.

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Martin is not on the team anymore.

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I kept waiting to see QB competition listed and it never came. I am disappoint...

Pickles gonna make his mark this year.

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Good posting! I agree, this team has gotten a lot better this offseason. Camp's gonna be very interesting, that's for sure.

I agree that the team will (or should) sign a FA guard before everything's said and done. I don't think it'll be Moore though, he'll be asking for a Levitre-esque contract.

I was wrong. Moore can probably be signed with a cheap 1 year contract, for a bit over a million.

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I was wrong. Moore can probably be signed with a cheap 1 year contract, for a bit over a million.

Yup he is older and the market is drying up on a lot of these guys. I really think we can upgrade some key positions with 1 year deals via free agency for cheap.

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Sad how one of the better posts of the past several weeks hardly gets a glance, but the multitude of pointless and attention ***** posts get dozens of replies.

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Great post!

I like G-Man and plus he has no favorites, with the exception of the guys coming out of this draft.

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Great post OP

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Good post. I do feel that the bottom half of the roster has drastically improved. I feel like Gettles has put us in position to have fresh talent in our various sub packages which will allow us to compete better in the fourth quarter of games and late in the season. I think they know it would be unwise for them to try to completely fill out the roster via the one year deal before the draft. Now we know where we're stronger, and what positions we need to invest in now that the draft has taken shape. . .

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I was wrong. Moore can probably be signed with a cheap 1 year contract, for a bit over a million.

this.

We just drafted a young G that needs some time to develop. Bring in a vet for a 1 (maybe 2yr) contract and let the young fella learn adn season behind him.

Hangartner was supposed to fill that role when we brought him back, but he is just not getting it done.

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Joe Adams is a lock for a roster spot, 5 locks not 4. . . . and that last spot belongs to #12. He's gonna show you why in TC.

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Joe Adams is a lock for a roster spot, 5 locks not 4. . . . and that last spot belongs to #12. He's gonna show you why in TC.

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Adams does have  shot. It is up to him to prove he is the player we want him to be. IMO,  If he wants to be a Panther, he has to show out and kill Barner, and everyone else.. He had better be BPA throughout the offseason, right up to last cuts. Because if he can't be trusted to return punts, he has no value.

 

All Adams has to do is beat out Ginn and Barner to win a job.

 

Same with Gettis. He had better show up if he wants a second chance. If he ain't pushin for playing time, he has no value.

 

In my short time with Gettlemen, I don't see him as the type to hang on to those no value guys too long.

 

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This is why I'm not that worried about safety spots. Mike Mitchell is a guy with physical talent that never quite peaked. Campbell and Naka are hard working guys and they are going to bring their best into TC. Sherrod Martin may have a say as well. Lester looks like a guy to take seriously as well. We will end up with a safety with a chip on his shoulder and ready to ball. We may not end up with a pro bowler but I'm totally expecting a decent safety coming out of that group that won't be a liability. Competition brings out the best in people. Same goes with CB.

Would like to see if Nelson Rosario is in the mix as well at TE.

 

I hope you are right about better safety play because our green coaching isn't capable of developing a game plan to mitigate this weakness.

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