Carolina Panthers 2009 Preview
With the 43rd pick of the 2009 NFL Draft the Carolina Panthers select Everette Brown?
Why would the Panthers trade next year's first round pick to take Everette Brown who probably would've fallen to them a few picks later. I didn't think it would be necessary to trade away next year's first rounder for Brown, whom many consider to be an undersized defensive end.
I'm not trying to bash Brown by any means I'm just saying it was hard enough to watch this year's draft with my favorite team not having a first round pick, knowing that they won't have one next year makes it even more devastating.
What the Panther's need to do is unload Julius Peppers for more cap room and a first round pick in next year's draft. I don't care if that is all that they get. It would be nice to know that we have gotten rid of Peppers who clearly doesn't want to be here anymore for a chance to get a top QB in next years draft.
Something else that the Panther's need to do during training camp is develop Josh McCown because he has some talent and he can move unlike Jake Delhomme.
I have no idea why they signed the inconsistent Jake to an extension. He was adequate at times last year but never great and when he was bad he was really BAD.
The Panther's also need to develop Dwayne Jarrett, because who knows how long Muhsin Muhammad is going to stick around.
Jarrett needs to get some more playing time to get his confidence up. He has potential but it is really devastating to a player's confidence when the only time they are getting to play is when their team is down 30 points in the 4th quarter.
Jarrett is going to have his ups and downs but the coaches need to stick with him to show him that they have confidence in him.
As far as the defense goes, the defensive line looks solid and continues to improve.
Throughout last season they started to wear down though and that needs to be addressed. Now I know when the Giants ran all over them that Kemo was out but they still looked terrible.
The line looked like swiss cheese that night and cost them the game. Charles Johnson is a steady player and should definitely improve this year.
I'm sure Peppers will end up signing his tenure once all of the hard training camp workouts are over with so he will help because he doesn't want to look bad for any of his potential suitors, who will be watching him and trying to decide whether they should pursue him or not.
The linebacking corps is solid and doesn't really have any holes as long as Beason and Davis are healthy. The secondary still remains questionable though.
Although Ken Lucas was a huge loss he did start to soften up towards the end of the season. Richard Marshall will develop throughout training camp and he should be fine.
He might not be as good of a run stopper as Lucas was but I'm sure he will be as good, if not better, in coverage. Charles Godfrey needs to continue to progress because he looked shaky at times last year. He is the future at safety and needs to work hard during training camp.
I don't expect the Panthers to have as good of a season as they had last year with their cakewalk schedule. This year's schedule is much more difficult.
They don't get to play the likes of the Lions, Raiders, and Chiefs this year. The Falcons will give them a tough battle in each game with the addition of All-Pro and future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez.
The Buccaneers are a young competitive team with fresh legs and Derrick Ward who, need I remind you, torched the Panthers last year.
Outside of the division the Panthers have to play the AFC and NFC East this year. With the addition of Terrell Owens, and the return of Tom Brady, the AFC East looks like it will be one of the tougher divisions again. The NFC East has improved dramatically as well.
The Panthers success depends on whether Jake Delhomme is playing good or not. When everything is clicking with Jake then the offense is unstoppable. Jake's arm opens up the run game which stops teams from putting eight in the box.
However, when Delhomme is struggling it is is evident to Panther's fans and they know it is going to be a long day. With all of this said, I project the Panther's to go 9-7 this year and barely miss the playoffs.
Hopefully they are able to prove me wrong though but I don't think that the Panthers will be able to hide the inconsistent play of Delhomme as easily this year as they did last.
-Jonathan Mayes (Charlotte, NC)
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