A Big Bowl of Sanity
From the looks of things on the Huddle as of late, I feel an intervention is needed. Today I actually read a theory that GM David Gettleman is actually purposefully sabotaging the team. It is official - the Huddle has lost its mind.
Let us take a step back from the conspiracy theories, conjecture, and embellishment.
There seems to be three main areas of concern, I will address them individually.
Myth #1 – The Panthers have no offensive line.
The Panthers currently have 4 of the 5 starting offensive lineman that the Panthers started training camp with last season. The retirement of Jordan Gross being the only change. Bell, Silotolu, Kalil, Williams, all remain on the roster. The sudden rash of retirements like Jeff Byers and Geoff Hangartner weren't a shock, in fact, they retired because they knew they would not be on the Panthers roster again. The loss of Jordan Gross is significant, but it isn't the end of the world. His play was no longer elite, but above average. Finding an above average left tackle is not an impossible task for David Gettleman considering it is only March. The bigger concern is the leadership on the line that will need filled. I believe Ryan Kalil is more than ready to step in.
Myth #2 – The Panthers have cut all of their wide receivers and are ignoring that need.
The 2013 Panthers wide receivers corps were less than stellar, to put it nicely. One good indication of such is TE Greg Olsen, who remains on the roster, was the leading receiver. Thats right, the Panthers leading receiver is still on the roster. Say that over and over again until you feel better.
Steve Smith's release, while heartbreaking and handled terribly, was necessary. Receivers decline quickly when in their mid 30s, and Steve had shown signs of such two years ago. Allowing his contract to continue another year would have made it more difficult to sign core young players all while not guaranteeing an adequate return on investment this season. Gettleman made a tough call, but it was the correct one.
Ted Ginn was exciting to watch, but fans forget the many drops he had that could have gone for long gains. Panthers fans are so thirsty for even average wide receiver play they forget what good receiver play looks like. I would be all in favor for keeping Ginn at a low price, but he is now being over paid in Arizona. You can't fault Gettleman for that.
Brandon Lafell? He may be back. The fact that no one else in the league is even interested tells you all you need to know. Vet minimum? Yep.
All in all, it won't be difficult for Gettleman to match the production of the 2013 wide receivers in 2014. Why? Because there isn't much production to match.
Myth #3 – The loss of Mike Mitchell and Captain Munnerlyn is devastating.
I like Mike Mitchell. I think he is a fine safety. I also think Pittsburgh is going to be very disappointed in the return they get for their high dollar investment in him. Without the Panthers stellar front seven, Mitchell will be an average safety for them making above average money.
The Panthers were please with Robert Lester last season and still have Charles Godfrey under contract. Panthers fans have yet to see how Godfrey performs when the Panthers have featured their current front 7. My guess is he will benefit as much as Mike Mitchell did, maybe even more. We could see Godfrey rise to a new level.
Captain Munnerlyn is an average corner at best, and maybe an above average nickel. He was a liability last season on many downs, most notably against San Francisco. Melvin White and Josh Thomas both will play at a higher level than Munnerlyn in 2014, and at a smaller price tag.
So sit back, take a deep breath, and relax.
Dave's got this.