Monday, August 15, 2011

Panthers - Giants, a review

A quick hit before heading to bed.

The Panthers showed lots of promise in their preseason opener with New York on Saturday night, but there are still things to be worked through. First the positives.


For a unit that went in without guys like Charles Johnson, Jon Beason, Thomas Davis, Chris Gamble and Captain Munnerlyn, the defense did well, allowing just 3 points to the Giants offense. They were active, the secondary did a nice job in coverage, and didn't allow Eli Manning a lot of time to throw the ball where he wanted to. It is the preseason, so teams aren't going to show a lot of their playbook, but on the surface, this was a solid outing. There are still questions about the depth at defensive tackle and in the secondary (locking down the right mix of cover corners), but overall, this unit performed well.


Throw out the ugly pick-six thrown by Jimmy Clausen (a mistake he owned up to in post-game), and this group was good. Clausen bounced back leading Carolina to their first offensive preseason touchdown in 2 years, and the running game didn't get as much work as some would have hoped, but again, this is the preseason. Have no fear that DeAngelo WIlliams, Jonathan Stewart and comp;any will get plenty of touches once the regular season rolls around. This unit was also without some star power, as Steve Smith did not play, along with Geoff Schwartz on offensive line. This group can be good, and as Ryan Kalil told me after the game, there are a lot of pages in the playbook yet to go in.

Cam Newton is slowly winning me over. I'm not ready to anoint him as the next great QB in the league, but he is showing he is able to pick up a much different offense than what he was used to at Auburn. I would venture a guess that he will start against Miami on Friday night, and play most of the first half (if not all of it). Clausen should see plenty of time in the 2nd half. Derek Anderson doesn't need a ton of work, but if he gets in a good number of reps to stay sharp, he will be ready to go. Anderson, so far, has been a solid mentor to the young guys. Certainly better than I anticipated he would be, and being wrong never felt so good to me. How long this can last is a mystery, because he wants to play, but so far seems like a good match for this group.


Not much to say with this group. Jason Baker did his job well, Olindo Mare boomed kickoffs, and didn't miss a field goal or extra point attempt. J.J. Jansen was rock solid on his delivery of the ball to Baker in kicking situations too. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Hat tip to Armanti Edwards. No doubt he was put in a tough spot last year, and he responded in the offseason with his work as a receiver and punt returner. He looks to be the guy in line for the PR detail, and he showed some flashes on Saturday. Of course, he's still a work in progress. Mike Goodson's kickoff return skills were on display as well, and he's a hard, downhill runner with the rock in that spot as well as his running back details. Spoke to him after the game, and he was a little don about committing a fumble, but he knows he can improve there. Not to worry.

We'll see if they can maintain this momentum against Miami, who knocked off Atlanta in their preseason opener. Thing is, though, their first team was getting thumped by Atlanta, and the 2nd and 3rd teamers won them the game. Speaking of Miami, don't be shocked if Matt Moore wins the starters job in Miami. He looked good against the Falcons, and if he gets reps with the first team, it will be hard for Tony Sporano (I am so tempted to write "Soprano" when typing his name), to keep Moore off the field.

Mike Solarte

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