CAROLINA PANTHERS WILL WIN SUPER BOWL XLVII
Like with any professional sports city this has set off a whole lot of talking in the local media and in some cases in the national media. ESPN.com already has the story up. Some fans love the move while others hate the move.
Let's face it. The Panthers defense and secondary last year were horrible. I believe the team ranked 28th overall in defense. The Panthers didn't do much in this year's draft to address the defense either. There is reason to believe the Panthers won't be one of the top 5 teams this season. Winning 6 games last year (4 games more than in 2010) it's really hard to figure out what to expect from the team.
Professional sports are all about hope however. Every team leading into training camp should have reasonable hope that their team can make the playoffs. Some teams that hope may be thin (Cleveland), but trying walk that fine line between being optimistic and delusional is tough.
As a Panthers fan I'm not sure I'm on the Kalil's bandwagon...yet. I believe the team has all the making of being a Super Bowl caliber team, but we're not there yet. Things are looking up for the team though. Carolina arguably has one of the best backfields in the game w/ DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and new addition Mike Tolbert. The team made a few moves (trades & via the draft) and acquired two more big, young WRs to add to veteran Steve Smith. And let's not forget the fact that we've got one of the most dangerous weapons in the league - QB Cam Newton.
That's not to say our offense will be lights out. Kicker Olindo Mare missed several game tying/winning field goals last year so he has to improve. Special Teams must also shore up their game. Rookie WR Joe Adams will be in the backfield returning kick offs and punts...a position that the Panthers have been awful for a very long time!
Of course the defense is the main question mark of this team...especially the secondary. The defensive line has a lot of question marks. Will Jon Beason bounce back from his injury? Will Thomas Davis ever be the same after 3 knee surgeries? Can the cornerbacks get up in the face of opposing WRs? What about the safety? Can they prevent those down the field passes or catch tackle the man in the open field to prevent a touchdown?
I believe IF the guys hurt last year can come back and play near their potential I'll feel better about our chances. Coach Ron Rivera is working w/ the defense this season. And let's keep in mind the team has had a good offseason w/ OTAs and mini-camp...something they didn't have the luxury of having last year due to the lock out.
I'm not going to make a statement like Ryan Kalil. The team still has several things to improve upon before I think we can win it all. I'm not ruling out a run to the Playoffs this year though...if things go right. I won't criticize the guy though for his move. He spent his own money on the ad which largely thanked the fans. I love his attitude and positive outlook. Shouldn't all fans want a player from their favorite team to have this zest and excitement about the upcoming season?
Below is the newspaper add published this morning, 07/25/12 in the Charlotte Observer.