Thursday, August 28, 2008


Thanks for checking us out as we watch the Panthers and Steelers. Posts will come every few minutes (or unless I have to edit some tape and walk away for a bit).

Feel free to drop a comment, and I'll share with the class!

Here we go!

7:08 - Tough decision for the coaches--who goes in order to keep Rhys Lloyd.

7:09 - Big Ben's center will get a talking to for that early snap. First look at Samie Parker as a punt returner. He's never done that before. And Matt Moore get's the start. Jake got a nice trip to Pittsburgh to dress in a uniform, and watch the game. I like it.

7:11 - Strange that the Panthers started their 2nd teamers, and virtually none of their starters. I see the point, though. Final exams for the guys trying to earn jobs.

7:14 - Credit Dwayne Jarrett for turning his situation around. In this pre-season, he has looked like a reliable receiver, unafraid to go across the middle, and has shown nice hands. Short drive results in 3 from John Kasay. 3-0 Panthers, 9:43 to play.

7:20 - Well, this game won't be worth watching if you want to see the 2008 Carolina Panthers. If you want to watch the back-ups, then this one is for you.

7:22 - Didn't like the pursuit on Parker on the big run. Landon Johnson needs to get to the edge a bit quicker, although Willie Parker isn't exactly "slow."

7:23 - Nice effort by Richard Marshall to try and disguise his pass interference, but holding the receivers wrist is still a no-no.

7:25 - Steelers benefit from the long P-I penalty, and finish the drive with the TD run from Davis. So, Carolina's 2nd team defense has a hard time with the Steelers 1st team offense. File that away in the "information that will be useless in about 48 hours." 7-3 Pitt.

7:32 - Matt Moore continues to look quite poised--as he did last season. Jarrett and Dante Rosario making 2 nice grabs on this drive.

7:33 - From the "things I just don't get" file...the long hair on football players. Not long like to the shoulder, like long like down their back. Oh, Moore just got intercepted. Ack. Bad throw by Moore.

7:38 - Byron Leftwich is the Steelers back-up QB. Mike Tomlin has to like that security blanket. If Ben goes down, he has a former starter to fall back on. Jeff Reed, a Charlottean, just made it 10-3 with :57 left in the 1st qtr. Good to see Reed as a solid contributor in the NFL. Nice young man.

7:42 - Nice bounce back throw from Moore to Jarrett. Way to shake off the bad toss on the pick. End of 1st qtr. Steelers up 10-3. Back after this....wait, I'm just blogging, not broadcasting.

7:47 - Uh oh...local appliance store offering the "money back on your 32-inch-or-bigger TV if the Panthers win the Super Bowl (although they say "big game" in the ad). I'm not ready to annoint the Panthers as champs just yet, but hey, you'd get a sweet size HD TV out of the deal.

7:50 - There is some sloppy tackling by the Panthers defense right now. Gotta get there, and gotta wrap up. Terrence Holt looked like a matador on Mewelde Moore. Not good.

7:53 - Leftwich has way too much time in the pocket, and the secondary is doing a poor job of tackling. Nate Salley missed that one.

7:58 - Steelers tack on 3 more, after the close call on the touchdown pass. Good replay look, and call by officials. 13-3 Pitt. Panther offense needs to find a way to score. They need it, not for the game outcome, but to show they deserve roster spots. As the saying goes, any 2nd team player is one play away from being the starter.

8:02 - By the way, a game that actually counts just started--NC State at South Carolina.

8:05 - Nice hospital pass from Moore to Travis Taylor. Taylor walked away from the wreckage.

8:08 - Gary Gibson causes the fumble by Rashard Mendenhall. Gibson has been pretty nice in camp, and Mendenhall continues to put the ball on the ground. Apparently, the Steelers are trying to get him out of that nasty habit, and have taken a page from the movie "The Program." If someone strips a ball from Mendenhall in practice, they get $100, and they get a $500 bonus if they bring that ball to the running backs meeting room that week. Wonder if the Panthers are allowed to collect. Offense is still stagnant with Moore at the helm. Brett Basanez might be drooling on the sidelines right now.

8:15 - If there is a positive, it is that the 2 minute warning hit at 8:15 p.m.

8:19 - An ugly first half for the Panther offense. If you had to evaluate Matt Moore tonight, it wouldn't be a high grade. He had some good throws, but overall, he's been lukewarm.

8:23 - Just as I start bad mouthing Moore, he leads a drive into the red zone. Another nice grab by Jarrett. Nice.

8:27 - No dice on the TD pass, as their was possession and control issues, plus the right foot being on the chalk. The Panthers get 3, and trail 13-6. Nice drive to end the half, but it might be time in the 3rd qtr. for Brett Basanez. Since we are evaluating quarterbacks, Steve Beuerlein gets an "F" for not knowing that Lester Ricard was released before the first round of cuts on Monday. Wow.

8:32 - Limas Sweed will be a free agent after Saturday.

8:34 - And we have reached halftime, Pittsburgh up 13-6. I'm going to step away from the blog for a bit to take care of some housekeeping issues, but I'll be back in the 3rd quarter. Fire your questions or comments my way, and we'll chat about it during the 2nd half.

9:06 - Still getting things done for the show....Russell Wilson, NC State QB, has just been carted off the field in South Carolina, after suffering an apparent neck injury. We'll have an update on him during Sports Night--the show is on at 11 tonight, as we bring you coverage of the Democratic National Convention. Be back shortly.

9:12 - Ugh, an ugly throw from Moore for another pick. He's having a rough night.

9:42 - Moore's rough night got a little better, considering he has a "lower left leg contusion," according to the team. He left late in the 3rd quarter, early 4th with an injury. The collective sigh coming from Pittsburgh was the Panther offensive staff.

9:58 - Tie game! Nice throw from Brett Basanez to Chris Hannon for a touchdown. Capped off a nice drive for the Panthers (7 plays, 67 yards in 2:28). 16-16 under 2 minutes to play. Why not go for the 2 pt. conversion and go home?

10:03 - Anything inside the 40 is within the range of Jeff Reed. Steelers may win this in regulation with a kick, but a game effort by the Panthers back-ups, they played the whole way, and managed a tie in the late stages of the ballgame.

10:04 - Ball on the Carolina 25. :04 remaining. Reed will try for the win.

10:06 - And that's that. Reed knocks it through from 43 yards, Steelers win 19-16. But not before a John Fox timeout to ice the kicker. I can see simulating a regular season game, but c'mon. End it, get on the plane, and get ready for San Diego on September 7th.

10:24 - Wrapping things up, this will be an interesting 48 hours for the Panthers, more specifically the staff. Evaluating this game tape may or may not be the easiest thing to do, but I'll go out on a limb, and pick off the 2 names that will be looking for a practice squad gig, or a new team to play for, come Sunday morning. My list (speculative of course), of the cuts coming on Saturday:
1-16-William Buchanon
2-19-Travis Taylor
3-26-Decori Birmingham
4-29-Quinton Teal
5-32 Troy Fleming
6-33-Labrandon Toefield
7-36-Darren Toney
8-38-Joe Fields
9-46-Shawn Smith
10-50-James Anderson
11-55-Donte Curry
12-62-Pat Ross
13-65-Mackenzy Bernadeau
14-66-Hilee Taylor
15-71-Evan Mathis
16-72-Reuben Riley
17-74-Geoff Schwartz
18-77-Toniu Fonoti
19-81-Dominique Thompson
20-85-Chad Upshaw
21-98-Stephen Williams

#12 Samie Parker & #15 Chris Hannon may have a job for a couple weeks while Steve Smith sits the first 2 games of the season on suspension, but that's my best guess at this hour. We'll know for sure on Saturday.

Chat again here on Friday!

Mike Solarte

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