Bubble Watch for Carolina Panthers Training Camp
The NFL only allows 53 players to be on a team's final roster. Out of those players, only 48 are allowed to dress for games. The Panthers will have 90 players going into camp, and while some of them are guaranteed a roster spot, there are those who will have to compete in order to stay on the team.
Those who qualify for being on the bubble have not provided reason enough to stay with the team or could be outplayed by the competition in training camp. Interestingly enough, all the players listed here are on the offensive side of the ball.
Jimmy Clausen, QB
Career Stats: 157-of-299, 1,558 yards, three touchdowns, nine interceptions (1-9 QB record)
Jimmy Clausen is the ultimate bubble watch player as he is entering the final year of his rookie contract and hasn't seen legitimate action on the field since 2010. Ever since Carolina drafted Cam Newton with the first overall pick in 2011 and signed Derek Anderson as his backup, Clausen has spent much of his career on the inactive roster.
He showed some flashes as a rookie, but overall, he has never looked comfortable in the offense and has had his career defined by a series of poor or ill-advised throws.
The Panthers have brought in another quarterback this year who could replace Clausen as the team's third quarterback. Colby Cameron is an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana Tech who could very well unseat Clausen and end his time with the Panthers sooner than expected.
It's still early to tell what his fate will be, but Clausen will need to have an excellent camp if he is to retain his job and finish out his contract with the Panthers.
Tauren Poole, RB
Career Stats: N/A
2012 Preseason Stats: Two preseason games, 11 attempts, 56 rushing yards and one touchdown. Four receptions for 37 yards.
In the last bubble watch article, it was mentioned that both Tauren Poole and Armond Smith could be on the bubble. Given the recent update about Jonathan Stewart, the Carolina Panthers may need to maintain a strong stable of running backs.
If Stewart is unavailable, DeAngelo Williams could get the bulk of the carries. However, rookie Kenjon Barner could see a lot time on the field spelling Williams until Stewart returns. That leaves Smith and Poole as the last two running backs for Carolina.
Smith could have a slight edge as he can return kicks and spent a little time on the active roster during the Panthers' last few games. Poole will have to play hard if he wants to have a shot at the final roster.
Poole showed some promise during last year's preseason, but he did not appear in any regular-season games since he was placed on the injured reserve list last September due to bruised ribs. He could still establish himself as a player on the rise, but if he is able to bounce back from last year's injury, he may have a future in Carolina.
David Gettis, WR
Career Stats: (2010) 37 receptions, 508 yards, three touchdowns
David Gettis could still be a fine receiver in the NFL. Assuming he can bounce back from injuries and establish a rapport with Cam Newton, he could have a successful career in Carolina. However, injuries haven't been kind to the former Baylor receiver.
He spent all of 2011 on the injured reserve and then spent the majority of last year on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. After being activated from it last November, he only appeared in two games and did not make a contribution to the offense.
The Panthers could really use some help at receiver, and Gettis could be the aid they need. However, Carolina signed veteran free agents Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon this past offseason, which will make the competition a bit harder for Gettis in camp.
It's easy to write him off, but considering the numbers he put up with the anemic Carolina offense of 2010, one has to wonder what he can do with Newton under center and an all-around improved offensive unit in 2013. The key to finding out that answer is Gettis staying healthy.
Armanti Edwards, WR/Return Specialist
Career Stats: Kick Returns: 15 returns, 295 yards; Punt Returns: 36 returns, 253 yards; Receiving: Five receptions, 121 yards
Armanti Edwards will enter camp as the biggest wild card on the team. On one hand, he has yet to do anything of significance since being drafted by Carolina in Round 3 of the 2010 NFL draft. On the other, he was praised by his coaches for making a lot of progress during OTAs.
However, it will be what he does during training camp and live game situations during the preseason that will ultimately determine Edwards' fate.
Much like teammate Gettis, Edwards will have battle new arrivals in Ginn Jr. and Hixon for a place on the roster. Unlike Gettis, Edwards' window to establish himself is getting smaller and smaller.
With Edwards having played his college ball at nearby Appalachian State, there are a good number of fans who want to see him do well with the Panthers. However, there are others who think that he was a wasted draft pick and needs to be released.
Edwards is the only one who can make his own destiny, and he will have to provide his coaches with enough reason to keep him on the roster for the 2013 season.
Bruce Campbell, OT
Career Stats: 19 games (five with Carolina)
Bruce Campbell was brought in last year to help shore up the Carolina Panthers offensive line. He only appeared in five games and has yet to start one in his career. It would seem strange to have Campbell on this list, but he should enter camp as a backup player, and the competition could be tougher this year.
That competition could be in the form of Edmund Kugbila. The big Valdosta State lineman is listed as a guard by OurLads.com, but he does have experience playing offensive tackle. If he performs well, he could be the favored backup to starters Jordan Gross and Byron Bell.
If Campbell had a few more games under his belt, he may not be on the bubble. Unfortunately, when a player only appears in 40 percent of the games during his professional career, it can say a lot about him.
Campbell should be pushed this season, and if he plays well, he may have a fighting chance. However, the rookie Kugbila should perform at a high level and will give the four-year veteran everything he can handle.