Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The first blog hit of 2009

First and foremost, a belated Happy New Year to all of you in Blogville. Most sincere wishes to you for health, happiness and prosperity in 2009.

My goal was to enjoy the Panthers bye week, watch some games, and then return to do some preview hits leading into Saturday night. My plan was sailing right along until I was asked by a loyal reader of this corner of the internet if my keyboard was actually non-functional. OK, boss. I get it.


3rd meeting between these teams since Oct. 14, 2007. Think back to that game, and Vinny Testaverde made his Panther debut, and did something David Carr couldn't. Get the ball to Steve Smith. OK, Vinny did A LOT of things Carr couldn't do, and as a result, the Panthers were able to limp to the finish line with that 7-9 record--which should have been far worse.

In week 8 of 2008, the Panthers came from behind to beat the Cards 27-23. To say the Cardinals feel like they are competitive in this recent history would be an understatement. The Panthers won the 2007 game 25-10, and they trailed 10-9 after 3 quarters. Basically, the Panthers haven't raced out to big leads against Arizona (they led 24-23 after 3 quarters back in week 8).

Starting Fast

It's a tired saying, but in football, it's so appropriate. Putting up points early and often is the kind of thing that sucks the life out of the opposition. Let an inferior team hang around, and find themselves within 3 points, one touchdown, or even have a lead, you see that inferior team start to play with confidence, and they then become much tougher to beat. Forget about the nuts and bolts of the actual score--it's the attitude that team develops that is much tougher to overcome. A team that thinks they are unbeatable IS unbeatable. Carolina has to have that feeling walking onto the field Saturday night.

Carolina can not allow Arizona to feel they have any shot at winning this game. The Panthers have shown they struggle at putting teams away to turn tight games into walks--see the season finale in New Orleans as Exhibit A. The normal football-isms: step on their necks, go for the throat...all of them are applicable. The Panthers must be the aggressors and take the game to the Cards. If they don't, Arizona will likely have the confidence they can hang with the Panthers.

Injury Front

The Panthers had all hands on deck, except for OL Geoff Hangartner (ankle). DT Maake Kemoeatu (ankle), DT Damione Lewis (shoulder), and RT Jeff Otah (toe) all were at full speed on Wednesday. I would anticipate all 3 playing, and Jeremy Bridges filling Hangartner's spot if he can't go Saturday night.

For the Cardinals, WR Anquan Boldin (hamstring), and TE Ben Patrick (knee) did not practice, DE Travis LeBoy (ankle) was limited, and TE Leonard Pope (knee) was at full speed. The Boldin injury is one we'll keep watching, as his absence could truly (pardon the pun) hamstring the Cards offense.

Much more on this match-up, along with injury updates as they warrant, leading into Saturday night's rumble at the big ATM in Uptown Charlotte.

A milestone of sorts--this is the 100th post on the Sports Night Blog. Cool, huh? Ok, maybe not.

Mike Solarte


Tar Heel Fly Fishing said...

Yeah, if Boldins out it will with out a doubt hinder the AZ offense.
You heard how many times Anquan's name was said Saturday night against ATL....

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