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August 27, 2006

Thoughts on the depth chart and other issues

Although linebacker Na’il Diggs is temporarily out with a sprained MCL, there’s still no guarantee reserve Keith Adams will be on the opening-day roster.

Diggs’ injury isn’t believed to be serious. He’s hoping to be ready for the opening game and, even if he does miss some time, it probably will be only a game or two. If that happens, look for the Panthers to slide veteran Chris Draft into the starting lineup on a temporary basis.

Draft can play all three linebacker positions, and the opener is against Atlanta, a team he shined against last year. The Panthers likely will keep Adam Seward and rookie James Anderson as their other two backups, leaving Adams on the bubble.

The coaches weren’t very impressed as Adams struggled to learn the defense in training camp. He’s also small. His best bet of making the roster is as a special teams player.

RISING STAR

Had a nice visit with Bob LaMonte, the agent for coach John Fox, as he visited Sunday’s practice. LaMonte might be the most powerful man in the NFC South, and he’s become a power broker throughout the league. LaMonte represents seven head coaches, including Tampa Bay’s Jon Gruden and Atlanta’s Jim Mora.

LaMonte makes it a point to make the rounds to see each of his clients in the preseason and he chatted with Fox and general manager Marty Hurney on Sunday. But there was one other subtle point to LaMonte’s visit.

He also represents quarterbacks coach Mike McCoy and views him as a rising star. LaMonte is very good at marketing his clients. Don’t be surprised if McCoy starts drawing interest for offensive coordinator jobs next season.

JUST A HUNCH

This isn’t a theory, and it sure isn’t a prediction. But I had a thought while watching the game against Miami on Thursday night about how the Panthers backfield might shape up.

The common belief is that the Panthers will keep five or six running backs (fullbacks included) and that Eric Shelton, Alex Haynes or Jamal Robertson will fill the final spot.

But there’s one scenario where none of those three makes the roster, and it’s at least a possibility.

Let’s say the Panthers keep tailbacks DeAngelo Williams and DeShaun Foster and fullback Brad Hoover. No surprises there. Here’s the twist: Make Nick Goings the third tailback and keep Casey Cramer as the backup fullback. Goings has been used as the backup fullback in past years, but doesn’t have great size. Hoover has taken a pounding in recent years and Cramer would provide a bigger backup. He’s also a favorite of coordinator Dan Henning.

Goings would provide a dependable third back with special teams abilities. The Panthers probably could stash Haynes on the practice squad and activate him if there are any injuries.

Posted by Observer Sports on August 27, 2006 at 06:01 PM | Permalink

Comments

Actually, this thought had crossed my mind while watching the Dolphins game as well. Based on what I've seen, Goings is probably the best short-yardage back we've got. It's too bad Shelton doesn't seem to be working out. I think Panthers fans had become so enamored of Stephen Davis that we all hoped Shelton would be his reincarnation.

Posted by: Joey | Aug 27, 2006 8:14:12 PM

I know it is too late to try and bring someone into the offense now, but I would really like to see the Panthers get a true blocking fullback. The one and only they have ever had was Howard Griffith. He made Anthony Johnson look all world. Imagine our current stable of backs running behind a blue collar blocker such as Griffith.

Posted by: Pantherfanz | Aug 28, 2006 6:07:30 AM

I think Goings is our #2 back right now and will see more carries than Williams for the first part of the season. I'm with you in keeping Cramer also.

Posted by: Kevin | Aug 28, 2006 7:37:34 AM

i though Haynes was supposed to be making Shelton look unneccessary. no matter what who they keep it will most likely be the best 5 or 6

Posted by: master1shake | Aug 28, 2006 8:04:24 AM

If Haynes is placed on the PS SOMEONE will take him off the Panthers' hands.

Posted by: Brian Lawrence | Aug 28, 2006 8:44:34 AM

If the Panthers keep just 5 RBs on the 53 man roster after seeing the decimation of the position over the past 2 seasons, well... then they will deserve whatever may come.

I think they are smart enough to keep 6 potentially allowing both Cramer and Goings to have spots along with one of the three on the bubble.

Just look at 04 when Davis, Foster, Smart, and Robertson ended the season on IR. Hoover played hurt before Goings finally solidified the position to some degree. Then last year when Robertson had to play the NFC Championship game. Need I say more?

Posted by: David | Aug 28, 2006 10:20:45 AM

Just as long as we keep Nick G, I'm happy. The guy deserves every shot he gets at running the ball.

Posted by: Ron | Aug 29, 2006 12:11:35 PM

Actually Shelton looked good in the Pittsburgh game but of course he was running against 2cd and 3rd teamers, but behind 2cd and 3rd as well though....

Posted by: Stan | Sep 1, 2006 2:46:35 PM

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