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Thread: Interesting Training Camp Battles - Offense

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    Interesting Training Camp Battles - Offense

    It's going to be a very interesting Pre-Season for the Panthers this year. Gone are the days of predicting what's going to happen based on Fox's propensity to stick with the Vets...because well, there almost are no vets! It's a young team, but one brimming with talent and athleticism, and a team that I feel will bring out some of Fox's best coaching.

    Here is a look at what I personally view as the major position battles for this upcoming season. (This post was getting kinda long so I split it up into Offense and Defense)

    QB
    This one is pretty obvious and is probably the most talked about Panther's position nationally. As the starter it comes down to Matt Moore or Jimmy Clausen. The most likely scenario is that Moore starts unless he completely implodes during the Pre-Season. He earned the right to start at the end of last year and I don't foresee Fox giving the starting nod to Jimmy Swagger unless Moore does horribly or the team is out of contention. As far as backup don't sleep on Hunter Cantwell or Tony Pike as the team holds both players in high regard and I doubt either would make it through Waivers to the Practice Squad.

    Prediction:
    Winner: Matt Moore
    Backups: Jimmy Clausen and Hunter Cantwell
    Practice Squad: Tony Pike (while he has a lot of upside he is a project and most likely to make it through Waivers although I doubt he would)

    WR2
    Steve Smith is the obvious and unchallenged WR1. WR2, however, is much more interesting. It will most likely come down to the perennially underachieving Dwayne Jarrett and two 3rd Round rookies in Brandon LaFell and Armanti Edwards. Jarrett will be given every opportunity to succeed and the hope is that he will seize the day and live up to the potential he has flashed now that Muhammad is gone. Another wrinkle is that he does have a new position coach this year and the hope is that a new direction might be just what he needs. Though if he should falter, Brandon LaFell is the most likely replacement. He has the size and athleticism to replace Muhammad's production and is willing and very capable to do downfield blocking for the RBs, which is huge in the Panther's offense. The dark horse is Edwards who has tons of athletic ability, but he is still learning the WR position as he played QB in college. While the upside for Edwards is huge and fans would love to see the second coming of Steve Smith, the likelihood is that Edwards makes his impact this year as a Slot Receiver, Punt Returner, and - potentially - as a Wildcat QB. There are a few other notable WRs on the roster including David Gettis, Kenneth Moore, and Wallace Wright, but I don't see any of them cracking the starting lineup unless a spot is opened via injury.

    Prediction:
    Winner: Brandon LaFell
    Backup: Dwayne Jarrett (although if he doesn't win the starting job, my hope is that they'd trade him for depth elsewhere)
    Slot: Armanti Edwards

    RG
    There will be a new starter at RG this year with last year's starter, Keydrick Vincent, not being resigned. This position comes down to three people: Mackenzy Bernadeau, Duke Robinson, and Geoff Schwartz. Bernadeau has the edge early as he filled in very capably last year at LG after Jordan Gross' injury caused a lot of line shuffling. However, Robinson and Schwartz will both be given a chance to earn the starting nod. Robinson was a mini-project draft pick a few years ago. He has the physical tools to be dominant but some character and motivation concerns dropped his stock, but if he were to put it all together he could be one of the dominant RGs in the game. Schwartz is a massive Offensive Tackle who played surprisingly well at RT at the end of last season as a sub for the injured Jeff Otah. Any of the three could win this spot and be very effective, but I can't help but salivate at the prospects of the 330lb Robinson or the 330lb Schwartz opening up running lanes beside the 330lb Otah. I can make reasons for all 3, but in the end I think Bernadeau wins out because of the trust he earned last year. However, my personal hope is that Robinson lives up to his potential and starts at RG, Bernadeau is the primary G and C backup, while Schwartz remains as the primary T backup.

    Prediction:
    Winner: Mackenzy Bernadeau

  2. Wow well it looks like the Panthers can only win at QB they have by far the best rookie QB in the league and Matt Moore is probably the 2nd best QB in the NFC South. If their receivers can learn to play as rookies the Panthers will have the best offense in the league they already have the best 2 rbs. They are the new Saints. They should steal the division this year yes?

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    Well, I can't say that I really follow the Panthers too closely, but have to admit that Clausen looked pretty good last night. Much more poised (gawd, I hate that word) and decisive than I would have thought. But still, it's gotta be Saints and Falcons as one, two, (or maybe two, one if you believe in hangovers) don't ya think?

  4. Eh I saw the Saints last night they looked decent against the Pats, but if the Pats defense is really as bad as all the supposed experts are saying then it could be a very disappointing season in New Orleans. The Falcons are ok but the Panthers already have a great ground game a pretty good o-line and 2 very promising QBs what they don't have is experience at WR other than the Steve Smith. Plus on defense they have Gamble and Beason although that is pretty much it. So yeah maybe they aren't there yet but they are certainly going to put up some very entertaining games with that explosive offense. Those two games against the Saints could be barn-burners.

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    The thing is, people are completely counting out the Panthers because we are "rebuilding," but I'd venture to say there are a lot of teams that would love to be in the rebuilding phase with the following pieces: Steve Smith, Jon Beason, DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Jordan Gross, Ryan Kalil, Jeff Otah, Thomas Davis (assuming he comes back from injury).

    The big question marks are WR2 (when hasn't that been a question mark since 2003), the DLine (surprisingly good showing against Baltimore, but will need to see it a few more times before I'm a believer), the Safeties (amazing speed and coverage ability but young and prone to mistakes).

    And - of course - is Matt Moore the next Brady or the next Derek Anderson or somewhere in between? If he can be somewhere in between and protect the ball I think the Panthers have a shot at the postseason. You're looking at an 11-12 win team last year if Delhomme hadn't thrown the season away early.

    What it boils down to is that I'm cautiously optimistic about this team and the showing against Baltimore confirmed that for me, but i'll need to see it more during the Pre-Season and into the regular season. I expect some bumps in the road early because of our youth, but Fox did his best coaching back in 2003 when no one in the world believed in the team. The Panthers have always been better as underdogs under Fox.

    We'll see how it all plays out, but I think the Panthers are in a better position that most national media thinks. We might not make the Playoffs this year (but it's not THAT long of a long shot), but I think we'll be a force over the next 3-5 seasons.

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