Instead of breaking down the "X's" and "O's" right before a very tough home game for the Carolina Panthers this Sunday, I looked at some present needs the team has. Plus, I looked back at some of the successes and shortcomings the team has had over the past 15 years and came up with a list of 10 things I think many Panthers fans would have agreed on or things they wished would have happened or not happened.
The idea came from a few Panthers fans' e-mails I have seen in the past, things talked about at the home games, or things that came up in conversations about the Panthers and football in general.
Some of you will agree on a few, some will not agree at all, there will be some things you may not have known were ever even on the "table" for discussion or wishes that players had about wanting to play in Carolina.
Here are the top 10 things Panthers fans may agree on or feel strongly about:
10. In the beginning of the franchise, there were many new fans who could not wait until the Panthers' home stadium was built. Playing at Clemson, for many fans, was only like having a football team a little closer than the Atlanta Falcons. The first year Panthers fans could not wait for a new stadium!
9. I have heard this one more than once. Many fans and football insiders thought Sam Mills would have progressed on to become a great head coach. The sad fact is, the Panthers lost a great man and an inspiration to many, way too soon.
8. Many fans and those inside Panther-land wished the Panthers would have stepped up and not let the Chicago Bears simply outpay them for Muhsin Muhammad's services during the prime of his career. The Panthers missed Moose badly for those years he was in Chicago and could not replace him.
7. There are still many out there who believe the whole Julius Peppers fiasco was simply the Panthers trying to make a point and winding up losing what may just have been the single best player the Panthers ever had for what was really just a small amount of money over what the team originally offered Peppers.
The Panthers refused to match the Bears' top offer and Peppers was gone. The sad thing about it all is that Peppers was not even franchised, meaning the team could not even trade him and get back something in return.
As things are becoming clearer now, the Panthers have no pass rush at all, unless Greg Hardy finally gets to play a few more downs. But even he cannot play both right and left end positions at the same time.
Peppers had to play all those years with no real talent at the opposite end's slot after Mike Rucker retired. He still had all of those sacks despite having no real help or talent opposite himself.
Peppers did slip once back in 2007 and he turned up with a poor, 2.5 sack total and was ready to be sent out of town on a rail for his mistakes that year, but Peppers came back the next year and got 14.5 sacks in 2008.
6. Many Panthers fans wished Jake Delhomme would have never had surgery. Delhomme, who started out the 2007 season's first three games with one of the top five quarterback rankings in the league, played excellent football until his elbow was a nagging pain in the third game and he was then advised to "hang it up" for the 2007 season.
Delhomme had to undergo "Tommy John" surgery so he could be ready for the 2008 season. As it turns out, Delhomme was never the same and the Cardiac Cats would never return.
5. This past offseason, all Panthers fans wished their team would have signed any wide receiver with a pulse to simply avoid this debacle that is now occurring (Anquan, T.J., Mark Clayton, T.O., Laveranues Coles), or anyone with experience, who can catch and has at least two touchdowns on their resume. It would be better than all of the wide receivers added together who are not named Steve Smith!
4. Many Panthers fans were perhaps unaware that Brett Favre, said through his agent, Bus Cook, that the one team he would like to return to the league and play for would be the Carolina Panthers. This was before he ever did any kind of formal dealings with the Jets and again, it was was an inquiry by Favre.
Another player did the same thing last season, at a much lower rate of compensation than Favre costs the Jets, but Michael Vick said he thought Carolina would have been the perfect fit for him. But Vick was never even publicly addressed by the team and needless to say, Vick looked better last week in the pocket than he ever did in Atlanta This may be the one that bites the Panthers back someday.
3. Lots of Panthers fans like Everette Brown, but are still totally confused why Hurney felt he should give up this past year's first-round pick just to have such a mediocre player. Brown cannot even begin to fill Peppers' socks (and you can forget about filling his shoes as that is not happening). As a matter of fact, if Brown does not improve his game dramatically, he could lose his starting position to Greg Hardy.
2. All Panthers fans wished John Kasay would have never kicked that ball out of bounds in the Super Bowl!
1. Many Panthers fans do not even know they wish this, but they probably wish their team's owner was letting someone else, from another team, go out there and be the poster child, or better yet, hatchet guy for the owners group in "The Owners vs. The Players" war that will begin at the end of the season. Jerry Richardson is the de facto leader of the NFL's owners group in this very contentious labor confrontation that is on the horizon.
This is the real reason Richardson would not allow any really good free agents to be brought in this season and it is why he got rid of the teams veterans like Brad Hoover and Muhammad (Muhammad did not retire until he was NOT re-signed by the Panthers, if he would have be re-signed, Moose would be playing today and providing a decent target for Jimmy Clausen in his first start).