Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, September 19, 2007 6:10 am

Swinging a dead cat

Filed under: Panthers — Lex @ 6:10 am

When the Panthers announced during the free-agency period that they wouldn’t be making any big moves because they were confident they could do well with the players they had, I was pretty sure that was just making a virtue out of necessity: With two exceptions, they had the lowest room under the salary cap of any team in the league at that point.

Turns out they were serious … and, based on the Houston game, dead wrong. The only place they improved was at backup quarterback.

I predicted before the season started that they’d be weak in 2007; right now, I’m specifically predicting 8-8. The NFC continues to look weak, so that still looks likely, but they’re a Steve Smith groin pull away from 4-12 or worse.

With all due respect to Houston’s Andre Johnson, one of the league’s top receivers, the secondary got torn apart. The front seven, so respected in recent years, clearly has lost a step — Julius Peppers and Dan Morgan looked ordinary on Sunday and positively horrible against the run, and for all the noise about former All-Pro Kris Jenkins showing up to camp in shape and ready to play, his number didn’t get called much either.

On the offensive side, the team has managed to start yet another season without a No. 2 receiver capable of forcing opponents to put single coverage on Steve Smith. Keary Colbert and Drew Carter had, by my count, four drops; Carter’s drop was on a bomb that could have led to a score and kept the Panthers in the game.

The offensive line couldn’t move Houston’s front off the ball, and Deshaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams couldn’t move the pile to make up the difference. As I’ve said before, as many years as the O-line has been a problem for this club, you’d think they’d learn.  But no.

For the record, lest anyone start calling for David Carr to start, Delhomme shares no blame for this mess. He has done his job.

The irony is that Houston is the team that Carolina, under John Fox, wants to be and has tried to be throughout Fox’s tenure. The Panthers, on the other hand, are just bad. The only question is whether they’ll have a mediocre season or another 2001 death march.

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