Want To Tell Me How Wrong I am

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Carolina Panthers Offseason

Carolina Panthers – Panthers coach John Fox has been given the dreaded vote of confidence. I do actually believe he should keep his job. They have been plagued by injury and in turn the ineptitude of some of the players he was saddled with because of those injuries. However I think General Manager Marty Hurney’s seat is getting hot right about now. While some of his problems as well can be linked to injuries, he is the one bringing in the talent. First off that David Carr pickup was a huge whiff. Then when Delhomme gets injured and he resigns himself to Carr’s ineptitude you go out and get Vinny Testaverde. Seriously that is all he could come up with. I mean the reason a GM is valuable is because he can evaluate the talent and make a move the average guy doesn’t jump to. I would say that is the description of the Vinny grab. Simply for the fact he is bringing nothing “outside the box” you have to question his value.
Every cloud has a silver lining, or a silver and teal lining in this case. The cloud; the Panthers wide receiving core all either under performed (Steve Smith) or performed as poorly as expected (everyone else).
After the year Steve Smith had in 2006 it is not hard to understand defensive secondary shifting their focus to him. If you consider the fact that the players they were pulling the focus from were Kearny Colbert and Drew Carter, this seems like a good defensive strategy. Add to that the wheel o’ quarterback game show that Carolina hosted under center all season, and that 7-9 record becomes understandable if not acceptable.
With Colbert and Carter likely headed elsewhere through free agency. It would be a reasonable expectation for Fox and who ever is the GM by the time Draft day comes around to look to the Wide Receiver ranks. If they opt for this safe route it would likely be Malcolm Kelly (WR – Oklahoma).
The Second safe route is to look for a ball hawking safety to compliment Chris Harris who they stole from Chicago prior to this year. The clear number one at safety this year will be Kenny Phillips (S-Miami). He also should still be on the board when Carolina gets up to pick.
The Panthers also need a solid Defensive End to take some of the pressure and attention off of Julius Peppers. While Mike Rucker will likely retire the Panthers will be left with a lot of potential as far as pass rushers go. But that potential is as of yet unproven. Since I can’t really describe it as a need I would be surprised to Carolina to go this route because they would probably be drafting about 7 picks earlier than necessary, and that would be a hard leap to make for a team with so many areas of need.
The final option, which is neither safe nor likely, is that the Panthers go QB. With them getting in before the Bears it is likely that Andre Woodson will still be available to them. He definitely isn’t starter ready for the NFL but the Panthers aren’t done with Delhomme yet and they may give Carr another chance. The biggest obstacle to this pick actually going down will come in the form of how much say John Fox has in this pick. If his vote counts you can bet the coach who will clearly be working for his job next season, has no interest in 2-4 year project at quarterback with the number one pick.

Outside Shot
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