Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Bye Week

Normally, I don't like the week 6 bye week, but for the Carolina Panthers, it comes at a good time. The Panthers are a lost bunch, no offensive direction, a defense that is wearing down faster than it should, and a fan base that is perilously close to folding the tents and going on its way.

The 23-6 loss to Chicago in week 5 was a bad loss, no doubt. Offensively, Carolina isn't even able to be one-dimensional. Their vaunted run game barely gets a shot to get out of neutral, because the opposition puts points on the board, taking a lead, forcing the Panthers into a passing mode.

For all of the work the Panthers put in on just the passing game in pre-season (and in training camp, as well as OTA's before that), the results just aren't there. True, five games is a somewhat small sample size, but still, the results in those five games has been consistent, and that hasn't been good. That also begs the question, was it really all Jake Delhomme last season?

What is the fix? At this point, that's anybody's guess. The reality is that Carolina has 11 games in which to try and salvage the season. The playoffs are a dream right now, as it will take Carolina going, at worst, 9-2 over their final 11 to have a chance, and even then, that may not be enough.

Hats off to the defense. They have had to play more snaps than any unit I can remember watching, and they do it well. The tank runs empty when you constantly hit the gas, and that is no different for the defense. I joked with LB James Anderson on Monday night saying the defense could sue the offense for lack of support, to which he simply smiled. He won't throw his teammates under the bus, and to me, that's a good sign. These guys are still in this thing together, no finger-pointing, no splinters in the locker room. How long it stays that way is something to watch.

Elsewhere, we saw the end of the Bobby Cox era with the Atlanta Braves Monday night. Atlanta was knocked out of the playoffs by San Francisco, and after the game, the old skipper took his bows at Turner Field. He came out of the dugout, saluting the fans, tipping his cap and waving. Tremendous moment by the Giants on the field, as they stopped their celebrating to turn to the Braves side of the field, and applaud Cox. You don't have to be a genius to recognize Cox will go down as one of baseball's all-time great managers, and it was nice that the players on both sides too a moment to recognize it as well.

NASCAR Hall of Fame selections coming on Wednesday, Be shocked if David Pearson is left off of this 2nd class of inductees. He should have gone in with the 2009 Class, but if he is left out of this one, you may have to call the Hall into question on their selection process. I won't begin to take a stab at the other 4 potential inductees, but considering 20 of the 25 names on this ballot were listed on last year's ballot, it is safe to say that this class will be just as deserving as the first.

Mike Solarte

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