Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Musings

I am going to resist the temptation of writing out my Panthers 53 man roster for now. I made up my mock roster over the weekend, and came up with what I feel are 48 locks, leaving 5 spots open. My guess is the roster breakdown will include 4 specialists (Kasay, Baker, Carter, Jansen), 25 on offense, 24 on defense. Again, it's just a guess, but there are plenty of decisions to be made when it comes to filling out the team. Glad it's not my job to make those choices. Some could be unpopular.

As for the Panthers 15-7 win over Tennessee on Saturday night, two-thirds of their team is playing pretty well. Special teams improved from week 2, to week 3, and the defense has been quite good. Offensively, the Panthers are still trying to find their way. Problem with that is, the first team offense will see VERY limited work on Thursday night against Pittsburgh. I don't know that they will put up an offensive touchdown in the pre-season (they are 0-42 possessions in the exhibitions without a touchdown). I did see signs of promise in the 2-minute offense against Tennessee. Matt Moore and company ran a solid drive down the field, but a red zone fumble by Wallace Wright ended the threat, and subsequently, the half. They came up empty, but a touchdown there would have done wonders for their confidence. They just have to get that feeling back. Remember what it's like to get back into the end zone.

They are shorthanded. No Steve Smith. No Jonathan Stewart. Key guys. No Jeff Otah, either. Problematic when 3 key guys are not playing yet. As you would expect, Head Coach John Fox isn't tipping his hand about when those three will return to the lineup, but how much of a difference will they make upon return? For Stewart, he can change things--he's a punishing runner. For Otah, he can change things as well, providing that earth-moving ability to open holes for the run game.

Smith can be a difference maker as well, but his role relies on a quarterback to get him the football. If you think opposing defenses will load up against Carolina to stop the run, well, you would be correct. They will do that, and make the Panther passing attack beat them. If Moore and his receivers can be effective in the air, then the Panthers offense could be something to be reckoned with. So far, however, signs of lethality have been missing.

An NFL note to ponder, the league shifting the umpire to a new spot on the field is causing a bit of a stir. The Indianapolis Colts were flagged for false start penalties, because they were snapping the ball before the umpire had gotten into (his new) position. This is being worked out by the league, but I think it needs to be scrapped. It punishes teams that utilize the no-huddle offense, and in turn, aids the defenses that have to try and stop it.

I realize the league is trying to keep its officials safe--a tough job considering the 22-man mosh pit that is an NFL play. There are plenty of collisions that take place between players and officials. Still, there has to be a better way. Here's hoping the NFL comes up with it to keep its officials out of harms way (as much as they can), and to keep competitive balance on the field.

Looks like the PGA Championship is heading to Quail Hollow in 2017. An official announcement is believed to be coming Tuesday morning, with dignitaries such as Governor Bev Perdue, and Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx on hand. A major would be awesome for Charlotte, but I worry about the future of the (now) Wells Fargo Championship. Personally, I love that tournament. I love covering it. I played competitive golf through college, so being inside the ropes for that event every year is amazing. My concern is what happens to that event once the PGA comes in?

More later this week, as the Panthers make their cuts, face the Steelers, and I'll let you rate my fantasy football roster!

Mike Solarte

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