Monday, August 29, 2011

After Cincinnati, before Pittsburgh

Quick musings between games, as the Panthers get back after it on Thursday night.

I don't want to rail too much on this team, considering the body of work to this point has been done with a lot of guys in starting roles that are basically the 2's on the two-deep. Jon Beason, Jeff Otah, Geoff Schwartz and others have yet to play a down in the preseason. Beason just had a procedure on his achilles in the hopes he can be ready for the season opener on September 11 at Arizona. No guarantees on that, however. Otah has been back on the field for three straight days, which is a good sign. Looks like he may have to play through some knee pain this season (unless it's subsiding to where he doesn't notice it at all).

Are there mistakes? Yes, but they can be fixed. Some of them might disappear by plugging in the normal starter at the position in question. However, this team is running out of time to find a rhythm, especially on offense.

The defensive side of the ball has been tough to watch, and while some of it can be attributed to missing personnel, a lot of it comes down to fundamental errors. Again, mistakes that are correctable, but still being made. From my seat, I would agree with many of my colleagues that the Panthers will be looking for some veteran help at both DT and CB once teams begin cutting players (rosters down to 75 by Tuesday night, 53 by Saturday night).

Rivera said Monday he has yet to determine how long the starters will play on Thursday against the Steelers. My guess is one quarter max, but given the need for some continuity, they might go longer. In any event, the Panthers still have a long way to go, but a short time to get there.

Mike Solarte

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