No Jake Delhomme. No Mushin Muhammand. No Julius Peppers. No Chris Harris. Some people think that since the Panthers are "rebuilding" they don't have a chance at even being competitive this season. I tend to think different. I'd be lying if I said the offense didn't concern me going into the season since they didn't score not even one offensive touchdown in the pre-season. Steve Smith (the real Steve Smith, not that scrub that plays for the Giants!) didn't play one snap. Jonathan Stewart (the other half of "Double Trouble" didn't play either. Jeff Davidson was trying several different things with the offensive since the O line looks a little different and we've got a new QB leading the team. The offense may not look all that pretty this year I'm not giving up hope. We've got too many weapons. Smith will lead the receiving team as always. Question is who will be the #2 receiver that will step it up when Smith gets the inevitable double team? Will Jarrett finally step up to the plate or will one of the many WR rookies like Brandon LaFell step into the spotlight? DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart make a great one-two punch, but let's not forget about Mike Goodson. He's a different type of RB and he showed a lot of promise last year (I thought) and was the one bright spot on special teams in the pre-season.
Defense looks to be very solid. Everette Brown is starting to make people in Carolina say "Julius who?" Ron Meeks has crafted a very good defense so far and I can't wait to see how they perform as a unit in the regular season. The defense is young, but very talented and will only get better when veteran LB Thomas Davis returns to true form.
Yes, the Panthers may not make it into the playoffs or to the Superbowl (can I say that or do I have to say the "big game"?), but this is one fan that is glad to see the team return to the field. In my excitement of the looming NFL season I hit up eBay looking for some Panther goodness and was surprised to find so many good deals on some nice autographs. Here are a few that I've recently picked up. As the season progresses I'm sure I'll be back with more.
2010 Panini Adrenalyn XL
Jon Beason Extra #E5
Jonathan Stewart Special #S9
2009 Bowman Chrome Mike Goodson #151
2009 Score Red Zone #373 (22/30)
2009 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection #198 (277/375)
2009 Topps National Chicle #NBA-MG
2010 Donruss Elite David Gettis #106 (241/499)
2007 Upper Deck Artifacts Thomas Davis #NF-TD
2005 Upper Deck SP Authentic #SS-TD
2010 Panini Classics Steve Smith (250/299)
2010 Panini Classics Jonathan Stewart (034/299)