Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The cycle never ends

Film study. Preparation. Practice. Rest.


And that's what I do. Imagine what the Panthers feel like.

Carolina has to compress all of their normal game prep into just 2 real days this week, as they host the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night. While that seems bad for the Panthers, it's actually worse on the 'Phins. They have to travel in this shortened week (not all that far, but still, it's a road trip).

The Panthers are getting banged up in a big way, with LT Jordan Gross joining LB Thomas Davis and DT Maake Kemoeatu on IR. Gross getting knocked out for the year with a broken leg. The Panthers do have the depth to absorb losing Gross, sliding Travelle Wharton to the tackle spot,. and plugging in Mackenzy Bernadeau at the left guard spot. On a short week, there isn't much time to develop continuity, so they'll have to be a work in progress, but it looked OK Sunday against Atlanta.

The Dolphins announced Tuesday that RB Ronnie Brown is out for Thursday night's game. That could be a big time bonus for the Panthers, however, Ricky Williams has been a Panther problem in the past (think back to his New Orleans days). Carolina's defense will have to find a way to contain Williams, and also stop whatever "wildcat" formation Miami dreams up wit3h QB Pat White running the show. My guess is that it is unlikely Williams will offer much in that offensive set--with Brown, there was the added problem of him being able to actually throw it.

Offensively, the Panthers are improving, and they need to have a solid game Thursday if they are to get to .500 on the season. That means establish the run, protect the ball, and churn out long, time-consuming drives that keep the Dolphins offense on the sidelines. This one will be on the offense to carry the burden for the defense.

Shifting gears to other topics...

Michelle Wie won her first LPGA event last weekend, winning the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. Initially, I was looking forward to ripping the win, saying she beat a bunch of hacks, but that wasn't the case. Ochoa was in that field, along with Catriona Matthew, and others--names that are recognizable to golf fans, not just LPGA fans. If it seems like it has taken forever for this to happen, it's because it did take forever. Wie has been one of golf's most over-hyped players, that the mere mention of her would bring people to think, "ugh, her again?" I had a laugh when the opening paragraph about her win read, "fulfilling the promise of a decade." Glad she won, but now she has to continue that. The LPGA certainly could use a player that is achieving results, and can be a good marketing angle for a tour that needs all the buzz it can generate.

I'll chime in on the Bobcats once they return home from their 3-day road trip. Needless to say, the trade between the Bobcats and Golden State had some folks shaking their heads when it went down on Monday--we'll look into it a bit closer later on.

Mike Solarte

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