The 53 man roster has been set in Carolina. This was a tough job for Fox and Hurney as many of their players were young with lots of potential. Unfortunately, it was time to look past the potential and see who is ready for the NFL NOW.
One must not forget, the roster is not set with these 53 as other teams have had to cut players. The Carolina Panthers will be watching the waiver-wire with a keen eye.
Here are the unfortunates to have been cut, but there is a reason for all of them as well.
QB Hunter Cantwell: He had been with the team long enough to learn the playbook and own it. Cantwell just could not hack it on the big stage as he struggled against the second and third stringers. Also, what Tony Pike could be in a few years was too much to let go. He has the size, arm strength and football IQ to be a starter in a few years while Cantwell will struggle for a back-up job.
RB Dantrell Savage and RB Josh Vaughan: These two were not bad during the preseason, especially Vaughan who showed he can be something in this league. These two may make the team somewhere, but there was a mountain in front of them to try and make the Panthers. Between Double Trouble, the explosive Mike Goodson, and the “Do-All” Tyrell Sutton this was all about auditioning for other teams.
FB Rashawn Jackson: There was little chance Jackson would make the team. Fimmetta showed he’s ready for the starting job and Sutton is our jack-of-all-trades guy. This is no longer a league where there is a fullback on every team so his career in the NFL may be as a special teams player or he may have to look towards other football leagues for work.
WR Kenneth Moore and WR Trent Guy: Both of these guys had every chance to impress. Moore was even in the running for the No.2 receiver position. Guy was constantly injured which ruined his shot. Moore was one of the tougher decisions and will most likely be signed somewhere else. Moore had always been great during training camp, but he ran out of chances to prove himself.
TE Jamie Petrowski: Sorry to say it, but the Panthers had no intention of keeping this guy. Unless he showed he was a monster on special teams he was gone. He didn’t so he is.
OL Rob Petitti, OL Ray Hisatake, and OL Andrew Crummey: Crummey and Hisatake are not surprises, but Petitti had a chance to make the team. He just had a bad preseason. He was constantly called for penalties and being beaten by ends. He was a late-season pick up last year and just never panned out.
OL C.J. Davis and OL Duke Robinson: The most shocking news coming from the roster cuts was the news that Davis and Robinson were both placed on the IR. This is a huge blow to the Panthers line depth as both were supposed to be key back-ups this season. The Panthers are now down to seven linemen that have even been seen during the preseason and with Otah still out that leaves six offensive linemen. Two words: NOT GOOD.
DL Eric Moore, DL Tank Tyler, and DL Corvey Irvin: All three of these guys were tough to cut, but for different reasons. Irvin just never lived up to his third round grade. He was constantly injured and a bust since day 1. Tyler came into camp as the starter at defensive tackle. He just showed that it wasn’t just the Chiefs’ 3-4 system that didn’t work, it’s him. Moore was tough to cut because he had been so good during the preseason. He was tied for the lead in sacks and had good size, but he is also 4-5 years older than most of the other ends and that was what did him in. I expect him to be playing in the NFL somewhere, just not here.
LB Sean Ware, LB Mortty Ivy, and LB Quinton Culberson: The linebacker position was hurting after Davis went down, but now it is back to being the rock of the defense. All three needed to be good linebackers and excellent special teamers. Ware was neither, Ivy tried to arm tackle too many times on special teams, and Culberson never panned out as a linebacker. Senn and Harris both showed they could do both which is why they made it while these three didn’t.
DB R.J. Stanford, DB C.J. Wilson, DB Brian Witherspoon and DB Aaron Francisco: This group was expanded due to the Panthers choosing to only keep four corners. Stanford had injury issues. Wilson had been a good special teams player, but he showed he had trouble with coverage. Witherspoon had a good preseason, but was the victim of the Panthers keeping only four corners. Francisco is on the IR so he may still teach some of the younger players on how to be great special teamers. I would not be surprised if Witherspoon and maybe Stanford were brought back later this season if injuries occur.
The Panthers had competition at almost every position during Training Camp. Most the players cut earned it, whether they were the correct decisions or not will be revealed later. For the most part, the Panthers have a very talented team and as long as the injury bug decides to pass Carolina they should be able to compete.
Let’s get this season started.
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