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December 17, 2006

Observations after Panthers' loss to Steelers

Wonder if we saw Mike Rucker play his last game for the Panthers? The knee injury looks serious, he wasn’t having a great year, he’s not getting any younger, he might be facing a lengthy rehab and he’s got a big salary-cap figure for next season.

FOX’s Terry Bradshaw speculated Jake Delhomme has played his last game (EVER) for the Panthers. Can’t quite buy that and wonder if Bradshaw’s source was only telling him Delhomme might be done for this season because of a thumb injury. Sure, Delhomme hasn’t had a great season, but the Panthers have significant money tied up in him. Seriously doubt the Panthers have already made a decision to part ways with Delhomme, because they don’t think about such matters until after the season. Besides, I’m not convinced it will come to that.

They might bring in a free agent to push Delhomme. But Bradshaw suggested the Panthers will draft a quarterback. That’s where the story loses credibility. Coach John Fox has long said he doesn’t believe in drafting quarterbacks early because it takes too long to develop players at that position.

Interesting locker-room scene: Fullback Brad Hoover, the ultimate company man, actually questioned the pride of some of his teammates. He had a very good point.

Question John Fox’s decision to go for a field goal instead of a touchdown at the end of the first half if you want. Like it really mattered in the grand scheme.

First thing the Panthers should do in the offseason: Blow up the offensive line. Move Jordan Gross back to right tackle, sign or draft a stud left tackle, hope Mike Wahle and Justin Hartwig can get healthy and sign one or two other linemen that can play in this league.

Defensive tackle Kris Jenkins might be the exception to an old NFL rule. Most players gradually lose weight as the season goes on. Jenkins seems to expand each week. It’s sometimes tough for defensive tackles to shine, but when’s the last time Jenkins or Maake Kemoeatu made a play that actually mattered?

Posted by Observer Sports on December 17, 2006 at 11:37 PM | Permalink


The decision to kick the FG at the end of the first is just indicative of how conservative and moronic our coaching staff can be.Sometimes they need to show some kahunas,and that was one of those times.

Posted by: Murphy | Dec 18, 2006 3:05:01 AM

I didn't see that last drive in the first half, but I understand that we had only 7 seconds left. If we had tried a pass play where Weinke had scrambled a little, time may have run out and we would have had 0 points. I'm glad we went ahead and put 3 on the board. The error I heard about was in time management before getting to the 7 second mark. We were left with a time out, so it seems this was the real problem. I blame the coaches for a LOT of the problems this year, in particular Henning, but also Fox for enabling this idiocy.

Posted by: Embarassed | Dec 18, 2006 12:07:08 PM

The Panthers have problems in almost every area right now. But probably the #1 priority in the offseason is to cleanout anyone involed in coaching special teams. How can we expect our defense and offense to succeed when our offense starts at the 15 every time and the defense starts at their own 40! A new special teams coach is the first move, blocking schemes are punt and kick returns are not even there... we have DeAngelo Williams and Steve Smith and we couldn't run back a single kickoff the entire year? The #2 priority has got to be the secondary, Lucas and Gamble have been atrocious

Posted by: Justin | Dec 18, 2006 1:30:58 PM

It seems like everybody on this coaching staff can point a finger at somebody else. Henning can always say, "looking at our offensive line" I know our offensive line looked even in training camp, but regardless they had little time to gel. Travelle Wharton got hurt right away and Jordan moved to his spot where he wasn't comfortable. Then Justin Hartwig gets hurt too! I'm sorry but you can't protect the QB and have a running game with a banged up offensive line. Stephen Davis was great here because we had guys like Kevin Donnalley, Jeff Mitchell, and Todd Steussie made a difference! We don't have guys like that now. It's a mess.

And no protect, no run, means the offense isn't on the field for a long time and our defense is. They are worn out.

And when you got washed up talent on the defense like Mike Minter and a bruised Ken Lucas, you aren't going to win a lot of games.

The only area that without a doubt there should be no excuses is Special Teams. All year the blocking has been poor. It is just poorly organized.

And don't get me wrong. Excuses or no excuses, our coaching has been pathetic. I mean, that drive at the end of the first half when the team was just dragging a** to get to the line of scrimmage. At some point, you have to blame Fox for that. This team has shown little heart and fire all season and yes, in many ways, Fox and company is too blame.

Posted by: Brian | Dec 18, 2006 2:29:07 PM

The number one priority for the offseason or sooner is to clear out Henning. It has been clear for most of the season this team has underutilized its offensive weapons, and his gameplans just make no sense. We approach every game trying to pound the ball when we have 2 running backs who are not pile movers. Alternately we have Keyshawn, Carter and Mangum standing around downfield waiting for a throw while we run draw plays on third and long.
There is no excuse for the predictable and gutless playcalling when we have all this talent being wasted on the sidelines. Henning remains the #1 problem on this team.

Posted by: Ben | Dec 18, 2006 3:23:00 PM

Fox has made a bad mistake in keeping older role-players like Hankton and Goings, etc around to play special teams. We haven't kept young talent around to develop as a result and thereby have no depth at key positions. A big house-cleaning is needed to get rid of the non-productive folks on the roster.

Posted by: Jay | Dec 18, 2006 9:20:32 PM

We need... We need... We need...

Yea, there's a lot of positions we need to fill with guys who can play in the NFL. A couple studs on the OL is just for starters. The big problem is that we are going to be in salary cap he11. I believe the Panthers are 30th in the NFL in projected room under the cap next year, and that's before they sign a single draft pick.

Posted by: Yak | Dec 18, 2006 10:47:47 PM

I think that the 3 we went for was a good play and i hate the conservative thing we do. O well, the secondary HAS been abyssmal but not due to lucas' play, its because of his inability to stay on the field. He's coming off a probowl type year and he's only 26 so i wont say he's washed up. Gamble on the other hand is washed up, never been in the ocean, whatever you wanna call it. He's never been a good corner, he was masked by all the big plays OTHER guys made last year like lucas and mcree and spoon. Trade that guy. The coordinator needs to take heat too, we have big physical corners who seem they could play good man to man coverage, and do a good job when they do, except for gamble, but we seem to like to run cover 2 zone more this year and everytime we get burned.

Posted by: royboy | Dec 19, 2006 8:11:21 AM

It all starts up front on both sides of the ball. Our O-line can't pass protect or create holes for our RB's to run through. Imagine either one of our Rb's running behind the chief's, Chargers', or any great offensive line. And second, our D-line outside of Peppers is hugely over-rated. Without pressure opposing teams have 3-5 seconds to throw the ball. Too long to ask any defensive player to cover a WR or TE. We need a complete offensive line the D line to earn their salaries.

Posted by: Matt | Dec 19, 2006 10:14:42 AM

i agree with basically all the comments dealing with some major changes. henning, minter, along w/ special teams coach are among many that "hopefully" will not return to the 2007 team. in addition to these players, i question chris gamble's ability to...well, do anything. he's horrible as a cornerback and even worse as a punt returner, granted he didn't have much time, he still needs to go! i also have a problem w/ foster and his tippy-toe act. where is the running back who was breaking tackles and running over defenders in the playoffs just 2 years ago. i wonder if all of his injuries has got him a little scared? we also need to address our linebacker situation. you can't count on dan morgan to stay healthy for more than...lets say 2 games. i like thomas davis but we need 2 more solid linebackers.

on the other hand, we have some players that need a chance to shine and with all the injuries, maybe they will get a chance. TE, jeff king is a great pass catching tight end. hell, michael gaines isn't bad but we don't give these guys chances to make plays. QB, basanez will be also be a valuable player and i really like d'angelo.

with healthy cornerbacks, lucas and marshall (what a great young player), i think we can shut down some receivers. either way you look at it, we can accurately be described as underachievers.

Posted by: Brandon | Dec 19, 2006 8:45:40 PM

Everyone has good points, however if you believe Peppers isn't overrated then you're a fool. He had the reputation coming out of UNC of taking plays off, now he's extended it to games off. Our DLine gets incredible publicity given their productivity. Hell, Jenkins even made the ProBowl. Its about time we get a Coordinator in there to motivate that apathetic, lazy defense.

As for the offense, if we can't run the ball then we're all gonna see more of the same results. With Foxy in charge, we've got to run and Foster isn't the answer.

I agree with replacing the old guys, Minter and Rucker first. I'm also praying Foxy plays DWilliams and Shelton these final 2 games and even Bazanez at QB, we all know what little Weinke and Foster can do, its evaluation time!

Posted by: Red | Dec 20, 2006 12:18:53 AM

Jake has the chicken curse. No not USC but the Bojangles curse. Starting with Rex Chapman of the Hornets to speak for Bo has been a career ending move. Curse the chicken.

Posted by: Jerry | Dec 20, 2006 11:25:25 AM

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