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January 24, 2011

Panthers like looks of Super Bowl plan

    Neither Jerry Richardson nor Marty Hurney are the kind to be swayed easily. 

    But if the Carolina Panthers owner and general manager ever had any reservations about their vision for the future of their team (which would be reasonable after a 2-14 season), they woke up this morning emboldened.

    The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers won their way to the Super Bowl the hard way.

    They built winners slowly, methodically, and according to a strictly implemented plan.

    Going into the opener, 36 of the players on Green Bay's 53-man roster were drafted. Pittsburgh had 35. So did the Panthers, coincidentally. Those were the top three such numbers in the NFL.

    Green Bay's historically waded carefully into free agency, with cornerback Charles Woodson in 2006 their last big splash.

    Who's the biggest free agent Pittsburgh went out and bought? Ryan Clark?

    The Packers have been able to withstand injuries (15 on IR), but made their way here with guys they found, not purchased.

    The Steelers ran their way to the Super Bowl with an offensive line that featured five starters who weren't in the same spots last December. 

    Folks, this is the blueprint, this is what the Panthers want to do.

    The Panthers see last season as the depth-builder that will pay dividends for the future. They watch Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger making game-deciding passes to sixth-round rookie Antonio Brown and they see David Gettis. 

    Once there's a CBA, the Panthers aren't going to spend their hard-saved dollars on one or two guys. They're going to reinvest in their own. They're then going to fill in the blanks with role players, the way they've always done.

    That's good news for guys such as Thomas Davis and Ryan Kalil and Charles Johnson.

    That's bad news for fans who look at lists of free agents and daydream about this guy or that guy and the difference he could make.

    Honestly, their own past has pointed them in this direction. Look back at their history, and they've gotten far more out of fringe signings such as Jake Delhomme, Stephen Davis, Ricky Proehl and Mark Fields than headline-grabbers such as Ken Lucas and Keyshawn Johnson.

    The thing the Packers and Steelers have that the Panthers do not is a quarterback, and that's the biggest hurdle this team faces. Until or unless Jimmy Clausen grows into something he has not shown himself to be, they're going to struggle. And they're likely going to have to find a stop-gap veteran to allow Clausen the chance to learn.

    But otherwise, what the Panthers saw Sunday afternoon and night is what they want to be.

    They want to be home-grown. They want to be stable. They want to be about the structure rather than the style.

    The plan's in place, and as Sunday showed, the plan is valid. Now the Panthers just have to be patient, trust their plan, and fill in the bricks and mortar as well as their role models have.


-- Darin Gantt

Posted by Observer Sports on January 24, 2011 at 08:40 AM | Permalink

Comments

Sounds reasonable at first blush but the fact is that a stud QB is the most difficult piece of the puzzle to find. It is pretty clear that Jimmy Boy is not the guy so the Panthers will have to find one somewhere if we are ever going to be elite again.

Posted by: James Reed | Jan 24, 2011 8:53:05 AM

I kinda liked chicagos third stringer yesterday. Talk about something to build on. Just give me the number. He's legal this morning!!!!!

Posted by: stork302 | Jan 24, 2011 8:59:32 AM

HANIE!!!!!!!! Does anyone know the deal on his contract, if any? Hmmmmm, I wonder if Shula could work with this kid? Ya think

Posted by: stork302 | Jan 24, 2011 9:05:13 AM

The Steeler/Packer model is a solid one. The key to its success is spot-on talent evaluation, something the Panthers brass does not demonstrate...there have been too many big time misses in draft picks and they have not shown the ability to find bargin free agents. Trading a second round pick for A. Edwards is the most recent example of terrible decision personnel decisions, that have long term negative impact. I'm afraid the organization has the patience but not the skill to execute the plan.

Posted by: Scott | Jan 24, 2011 9:08:29 AM

I don't recall the Steelers and Packers ever trading away high draft picks for project players such as AE. Hurney needs to stop trading them away period, they sure will miss the 33rd overall pick in the 2nd round.

But I do love the hirings on the coaching staff though. Just hope they have the patience to wait until the season is over to get Kevin G as LB from the Packers. Who will the WR, DLine, and Rb coach will be as well?

Posted by: oh wow | Jan 24, 2011 9:10:48 AM

"The key to its success is spot-on talent evaluation, something the Panthers brass does not demonstrate...there have been too many big time misses in draft picks and they have not shown the ability to find bargin free agents".

Makes you question if they have by far the worst scouting evaluators or Hurney has become Matt Millen JR will dumb moves over the past 2-3 years. By the way which bargin FA wanted to come to Carolina without overpaiding them?

Hurney track record with FA sure isn't one of the best throughout his years here.

Posted by: oh wow | Jan 24, 2011 9:17:05 AM

Does anybody else think it is interesting that all four of the QBs in yesterday's games can pick up yards and TDs by running the ball as well as by passing it?

There are still plenty of tall trees stuck in the pocket in the NFL, but none of them were in the NFL final Four. There should be a lesson there for the Panther's GM and new coaching staff.

Posted by: Caliban | Jan 24, 2011 9:21:44 AM

Carson Palmer is reportedly demanding a trade out of Cincy. Here's our opportunity to get a real certified starting NFL QB on our roster.

Posted by: Authority | Jan 24, 2011 9:29:52 AM

"Here's our opportunity to get a real certified starting NFL QB on our roster".

Oh really? When was the last time Carson P has been a good QB, not since 2005? He has been injury prones since then.

Have you seen our OLine play the past 2 years? He would get hurt even more.

Posted by: oh wow | Jan 24, 2011 9:35:29 AM

"Does anybody else think it is interesting that all four of the QBs in yesterday's games can pick up yards and TDs by running the ball as well as by passing it?"

From reading this you want Cam Newton to be the 1st overall pick to the Panthers lls?

Posted by: oh wow | Jan 24, 2011 9:36:11 AM

"Here's our opportunity to get a real certified starting NFL QB on our roster".

I have to ask when was the last time Carson P has been a real certified starting NFL QB? Since 2005?

He has been just like Jake D over the past couple of seasons. Staring down receivers, not mobile enough to escape pressure, not very good pocket presence etc etc. Accuracy hasn't been the same since the tommy john injury.

Posted by: mark smith | Jan 24, 2011 9:39:33 AM

What a stretch!! The Packers and the Steelers have been the class of the league for decades. We have been nothing more than the worst team in the league recently. Our ownership/management is the worst in the league. Our model is not broken, there is not one to break. Our model is simple. Spend as little money as possible, all the while gouging the fans and putting a sub-par product on the field. F Richardson.

Posted by: Richardson Blows | Jan 24, 2011 9:42:17 AM

In response to "oh wow"--I don't have a specific name in mind, just a specific skill set.

My sense is that the complexity of today's defenses and the athleticism and size of the defenders are going to require athletic and inventive QBs who can win in multiple ways.

I'll leave it to the professionals to decide if Newton is one of those.

Posted by: Caliban | Jan 24, 2011 9:45:53 AM

"We have been nothing more than the worst team in the league recently. Our ownership/management is the worst in the league".

At least they have competition with the Broncos( Josh M trading away franchise players).

Cardinals- letting go Dansby, Rolle, trading Boldin etc etc

Bills- always been cheap when signing free agents. Been putting a sub-par product on the field for the past years etc etc.

Dolphins- can't sell out home games, an owner who has made dumb decision after another. Drafting has been suspect even when they had the great Bill Parcell.

Posted by: oh wow | Jan 24, 2011 9:47:22 AM

So all we need to do is find a GM that is as good as Ted Thompson

Posted by: Dave | Jan 24, 2011 10:05:45 AM

I hear Palmer wants out of Cincy. Reports say he prefers the west coast, but I think he would look great in a Panthers uniform. He could spend the rest of his career here and groom Clausen to be his replacement.

Posted by: GK | Jan 24, 2011 10:06:22 AM

They also know how to draft offensive players unlike the panthers

Posted by: Fauscett | Jan 24, 2011 10:20:28 AM

Another observation about the final four-all play a three-four defense. I have a feeling Rivera will institute the 3-4 here over time. If we draft Fairley, I wonder if he can be a stud nose tackle in the 3-4?

While I agree with the Free Agent comments in general, we have to get a veteran QB for 2011 and Palmer is not the answer. He was a great talent but due to injuries/age or whatever, he is now no better than Jake. I am anxious to see what QB vets will be available in FA or via trade.

Posted by: SC Ken | Jan 24, 2011 10:31:42 AM

What woul the Panthers have done with Big Ben's social issues if he was their qback. They don't appear willing to resocialize

Posted by: Ed Tracy | Jan 24, 2011 10:36:01 AM

Dumb article Darin. Sure the Steelers and Packers didn't make big free agent moves, but last year's Super Bowl champ sure did with their best offensive and defensive players coming through free agency.

And doesn't having the 2-14 Panthers having just as many players on their roster through the draft along with the two Super Bowl teams negate your entire point anyway?

Posted by: Jonathan | Jan 24, 2011 10:38:58 AM

Yeah and like others have said DG, can you ever envision the Steelers or Packers trading a 2nd round pick for an Armanti Edwards? Let's get real here, their front offices are in different stratospheres from Marty Hurney.

Posted by: Jonathan | Jan 24, 2011 10:40:34 AM

Just because the Panthers bring thier talent into thier team through the Draft and Not Free-Agency does not put them on same stage as the Steelers or Packers. The Panthers have nobody that scares another team on offense or defense ! The panthers franchise does not draft as well or develope players as well. I love the panthers but this organization is lightyears behind Pitts and G-Bay

Posted by: granatab | Jan 24, 2011 10:47:26 AM

In a lot of ways Clausen reminds me of Rogers, because they were both passed up in the draft and picked way beyond where many experts felt they would be! Rogers had the advantage of sitting on the bench for a awhile and studying the game. The Panthers made a huge mistake by tossing Clausen in so early! I'm not saying Clausen is going to be another Rogers, but you can easily blame Clausen's performance on the team's decisions, as much as you can on him!

As far as a team needing to draft well to win... SURE! BUT you also need to know how to draft! The Panthers are not a great drafting team. Pittsburg is. New England is. Green Bay is. We aren't.

Saying you need to draft well to win, is easier said than done.

Posted by: Clay | Jan 24, 2011 10:49:42 AM

The Panthers cant even make playoffs in back to back seasons ! Quit being such a panthers homer Darin Gantt. This team actually needs to break the poor performance of the front office and sign 3 free-agents ! Draft Fairly from Auburn, sign the D-line we have, add 1 DT or DE Free-agent , Sign a Free-agent QB, and sign a TE free agent. Do the rest through the draft.... We cannot just work through the draft as team has missed on some of thier picks these past 3 yrs !

Posted by: granatab | Jan 24, 2011 10:52:18 AM

Good point Clay.Clausen ha the arm and the talent.He just needs better coaching.His last yr numbers at ND rival any college QBs.He may not have one a lot but I think if you throw 28 TDs in a season you've done your job...
Shula will get him right!

Posted by: bryant80 | Jan 24, 2011 11:11:57 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

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