Thursday, January 15, 2009

Off the ledge

Panthers should be safely back indoors, and off the ledge, after the Cats were shown the door by the Arizona Cardinals last Saturday night. It's been almost 5 days now. The emotions should be back to normal (or at least close to it). Truth be told, I couldn't blame Panther fans for not wanting to watch the games this weekend, knowing that had they beaten Arizona, the Cats would be hosting the Eagles in the NFC title game. Still, as I said in the last blog post, props to Ken Whisenhunt and his team. Great game plan, great execution. They won that game just as much as the Panthers lost it.

The thing folks were talking about after the game was how Jake Delhomme cost the Panthers the win. There is plenty of truth in that. Six turnovers (1 fumble, 5 int's) will play a huge role. Jake stunk. Period. He knows it. Everyone knows it. Delhomme was not the only contributor in the defeat.

In an effort to stop the madness, let me say this: Jake Delhomme is the Panthers starting quarterback in 2009, barring something bizarre. By bizarre, I mean something like, he loses his legs in a horrible farming accident. THAT kind of bizarre. Delhomme's value to this team goes far beyond one stinker of a game at the worst possible time.

2007. Delhomme threw 8 TD's and 1 INT before being lost for the season with the elbow injury. Carolina went 7-9, with David Carr, Vinny Testaverde, and Matt Moore taking turns at the QB spot. Jake's loss was felt especially hard when Carr was in the lineup, and a little less with Vinny and Moore. The void did exist--don't try and deny it.

2008. Carolina goes 12-4 in the regular season, with Delhomme engineering 2nd half comebacks against: San Diego, Chicago, Arizona, Green Bay, and New Orleans. No Jake, Carolina is 7-9 in 2008, and there is no heartbreak in the playoffs. I ask, which would you have: a 7-9, no playoff season or 12-4 and a first round exit? Give me 12-4 and a chance in the post-season. Having a chance in the playoffs is something only 12 teams get every year. That means 20 teams pack up their belongings after week 17, and don't get back together until mini-camp after the April draft.

Carolina has decisions to make regarding the roster, and we'll keep our eyes on that as it develops in the off-season.


The Charlotte Bobcats are back in action Saturday taking on Portland, a former joke in the Western Conference. The Blazers are actually pretty good these day, but the Bobcats are showing signs of improvement. Since dealing Jason Richardson to Phoenix for Boris Diaw, Raja Bell and Sean Singletary, the Bobcats are 8-8. That's 500, kids, for a franchise that, in its existence is still on the south end of the break-even mark. Take the improvements where you can find them. The win over Detroit on Tuesday (80-78) was a big one for the confidence department. Normally, it's the Bobcat opponent hanging a 9--0 run on them to close out the game. The Cats did that to the Pistons, and did it in their house. Solid work.

The trade rumors also swirl around Raymond Felton (being dealt to the Dallas Mavericks). While I recognize Felton is not the prototypical point guard in the NBA, the guy is a competitor. He plays hard, plays hurt, and leaves nothing in the tank. He's played that way his entire career, going back to his UNC days. If Felton must be dealt (at it looks that way, with his contract coming up at the end of the season--he could be an unrestricted free agent), then get something in return. Getting DeSagana Diop in return for Felton (and whatever else has to be traded between the teams to make it a fair trade under salary cap rules) would be utterly ridiculous. The Bobcats would get more in return if they sent Felton for a dozen new basketballs, and new Gatorade bucket from the Mavs. Diop is a stiff. Felton has value. If you must move him, get the value.

Congrats to Charlotte Checkers forward Matthew Ford for being the team's representative in next week's ECHL All Star game in Reading, PA. The California native is having a nice season to date, but the Checkers need some time off to get some players healthy. Visited with Derek Wilkinson on Thursday for a bit--you can hear from him as the Checkers gear up for Mississippi on Friday and then Florida on Sunday afternoon to close out the pre-All Star portion of their schedule.

Fear not, hoops fans, I will dive into the ACC hoops world in future posts--still too early to call, but nice work done by Duke and Wake Forest so far, and not so much from UNC and NC State. Again, still too early, but so far, I like what the Devils and Deacs have done.

Also, hope you have had a chance to see the sports updates we've been putting up on Then again, I know all of you loyal readers are loyal Sports Night viewers too!

Mike Solarte

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would like to request that jake stay away from farming equipment.