49ers vs. Panthers: Panthers Shuffle Offensive Line, Steve Smith Returns

Blaine SpenceSenior Writer IOctober 22, 2010

Steve Smith
Steve SmithStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

In an effort to improve the league’s worst offense, the Carolina Panthers will be unveiling a new-look offensive line for Sunday’s game against the 49ers.

Right guard Mackenzy Bernadeau will be benched and replaced by Geoff Schwartz, who slides over from the right tackle position.

Making the first start of his career is second-year man Garry Williams. Williams will be the starting right tackle.

The Panthers regular starting right tackle, Jeff Otah, remains sidelined while recovering from offseason surgery on his left knee.

The Panthers have given up 17 sacks this year, and changes or not, the 49ers pass rush should be licking their chops.

Matt Moore is hoping the changes work, as on Monday he was named the starting quarterback over rookie Jimmy Clausen.

Moore started the first two games for the winless Panthers, committing six turnovers.

In Clausen’s three games, he lost two of his seven fumbles and threw three interceptions.

Currently, Moore has a passer rating of 33.3 and Clausen is at 52.2.

In some good news for Moore, but bad news for the 49ers secondary, Carolina wide receiver Steve Smith is set to return to action in Sunday’s game.

Smith has been recovering from a high ankle sprain he received in the Panther’s game against New Orleans Saints three weeks ago.

Smith is the Panther’s best wide receiver and their biggest big play threat. He and Moore will most definitely be testing the 49ers secondary.

The 49ers and Panther have both managed to play really poorly this year, and if the 49ers had not beaten the Raiders last week, this would be a battle of winless teams.

But the similarities don’t stop there. Both coaches have been the targets of much criticism this year and I think it is interesting to see how Singletary,York, and the team are viewed from outside the 49ers circle.

I give you these observations courtesy of Darin Gantt
The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald Via The Charlotte Observer:


49ERS: 1-5, a mess.

PANTHERS: 0-5, a hot mess.

Why they are where they are

49ERS: Last in the league with -8 turnover margin. Only seven takeaways.

PANTHERS: Can't execute forward pass, last in league in points per game. 

Owner motivates winless team by...

49ERS: Texting national network when team's 0-5: "We're going to win the division."

PANTHERS: Saying same thing he's said for nearly two years: " ." 

When coach is frustrated

49ERS: Mike Singletary moons entire locker room at halftime (really, he did).

PANTHERS: John Fox chews gum harder, claps. 

What the coach is selling

49ERS: That intense face he used to make when he played for the Bears

PANTHERS: Son of a Navy Seal; tough and smart. Be the Same Guy.

When quarterback is frustrated

49ERS: Gets into weekly sideline shouting matches with coach, offensive line.

PANTHERS: Has to circle around backs of teammates to see who receivers are this week, introduce himself. 

Typical coach quote amid controversy

49ERS: "I don't want to deal with a rat. I don't want to spend my time trying to find out who said this, who did that. The article is not factual, No.1. No.2, I don't want to spend my time trying to find a rat. In time, the smell will come." - Mike Singletary, on reports of friction among the offensive coaching staff.

PANTHERS: "We are what we are and that is what I'm trying to change so we're not that." - John Fox, when the Panthers were 0-3 and fading fast.

Reason for dread

49ERS: Never play well in those 10 a.m. (their time) East Coast kickoffs.

PANTHERS: Rarely play well any time of day this season.

Did someone say the 49ers are the laughing stock of the NFL?

Looks like they have company.


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