Friday, January 9, 2009

Panthers-Cards:T-Minus 48 hours

Notes on the Panthers-Cardinals game this Saturday night:

  • Cards WR Anquan Boldin hasn't practiced all week, and says he won't test his injured hamstring until Saturday before the game-the truest definition of "game-time decision." His absence would hinder Arizona's passing attack, but the birds had 3 WR's break the 1,000 yard plateau this season (Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston), so don't count on there being a big drop off.
  • Panthers LT Jordan Gross, and LB Jon Beason were named to the AP All-Pro team on Thursday. Nice honor, considering the team is made up of players from both conferences, not one AFC and one NFC roster. The AP identified them as being among the best players at their position in the NFL as a whole. Pretty impressive. Congrats to both of them.
  • Injuries not being much of an issue for the Panthers heading into the game. OL Jeff Hangartner was limited in practice on Thursday, but everyone else was at full speed. The healthiest this squad has been in quite a while. If Hangartner can't start (which could be likely at this stage of the week), look for Jeremy Bridges to start at RG for Carolina. Not a drop-off by any stretch--he's played that spot plenty.
  • Steve Keim is the Director of Player Personnel for the Cardinals. His name will sound familiar to ACC (and more specifically NC State) football fans. Keim was an offensive lineman for the Wolfpack in the mid 90's, playing alongside guys like Ian Rafferty and Seamus Murphy. Rafferty had a short stint in the NFL, while Murphy tried to catch on with several clubs (he did land in Pittsburgh briefly). Keim's stay in the NFL has gone from a scout with the Cards on up the ladder to his current post which he took in May of 2008. He's a great guy, and a smart football man. I hope to have him on Sports Night on Friday evening, if he can make some time for us.
  • The field at Bank of America Stadium will look different from it's regular season appearance. Due to the Meineke Car Care Bowl, the Panthers grounds crew has painted the endzones black, and stenciled in the "Carolina" and "Panthers" artwork in the endzones (like normal). January is a tough time to keep grass green, but the field staff has the turf looking absolutely smoking. It's awesome, and when you add in the backdrop of the Uptown skyline (with buildings keeping lights on, and the Ban of America building showing off it's blue top), Saturday night will be electric.
  • If it feels like this week is dragging in anticipation of the game, you are not alone. I know that we are into Friday, but it feels like it's been a month since the Panthers picked up the win against New Orleans.

Lots happening on Sports Night on Friday, so don't miss it!

Mike Solarte

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