It's an inevitable part of the process. There are camp cuts and players whose roles change. Sometimes it's because of their own doing and other times it's because some of the younger guys footsteps are approaching fast. Here's a look at some potential camp casualties and positional changes.
Fozzy Whittaker- Fozzy is the Panthers 3rd down pass catching back… who can’t block and only had 64 yards through the air to add to his 108 yards rushing last season. He simply was not good. He didn’t have any of the big moments he had the year before and sometimes was an active player for a game and saw zero action. Talk about wasting a spot that could have been put to better use!
Best Chance to Beat Him: Brandon Wegher- Wegher has become a household name among Panther fans even though he has yet to play any meaningful snaps. The undrafted player can run and catch the ball. You don’t have to do much to get higher stats then a guy like Fozzy and I know Wegher can take that role that Whitaker theoretically plays and do it better.
Chance of losing job 90% (cut)
Charles Johnson- Will he lose his roster spot? No, but would it be in the Panthers best interest to not have him wasting energy and getting banged up stopping running backs? Oh yes. I think this one is simple because he is a more effective pass rusher than he is a run stopper. He is older and will not be able to play 50 snaps a game. Reduce his role and increase in production!
Best Chance to Beat Him: Rakim Cox- Highly touted before a trip to IR last year, this bull like rusher was a star last preseason when he amassed three QB pressures, one hit, one sack, and a run stop in only one series. He is a little raw but he has a high motor and is very strong. He plays the run and Johnson plays the pass.
Change of Losing His Job: 50% (specialist role)
Joe Webb- This one really has nothing to do with who he is as a player. I’m not his biggest fan but it’s is good to know you have someone who is willing to play all areas of STs, including returning and gunning. He is a jack of all trades and a master of none.
Best Chance to Beat Him: Up in the Air- The only way Webb loses his spot is if the coaching staff sees it fit to keep an extra RB, WR, or even DE. I currently expect Carolina to keep five wideouts and four running backs and four defensive ends. A deeper pass-rush rotation to support an inexperienced secondary or fear of injury and inexperienced running backs may mean a chance Gettleman pads one of these roster spots.
Chances He Loses His Job: 40% (cut)
Ted Ginn, Jr.- Now there are two ways Ginn could lose his job, one being likely and the other unlikely, but a needed consideration. The most likely event, Ginn loses his starting job because of a healthy Kelvin Benjamin and an improving Devin Funchess. The longer-shot is that a combo of players makes Ginn expendable. Philly Brown is bigger, like 20 lbs bigger. He’s a better route guy with better hands for the slot. Damiere Byrd put on a couple of pounds but is still a small statured speedster, who is faster and more explosive than an aging Ginn. If he shows he can reel in the deep ball consistently, it has to throw some shade on the 50/50 Ted Ginn. Stephen Hill looks very good as a deep threat option. He may not be as fast as Ginn, but is much bigger, more physical, and can fly.
Best Chance to Get Him Cut: Byrd, Brown, and Hill- Brown is up to 200 pounds and has stated his desire to work out of the slot. He sees a shot at securing a role much like Jerricho Cotchery had for the last two years. Byrd is very, very fast and can get deep quick running the same simple route tree Ginn has. We could see a faster version of Ginn. Hill is big and fast, and if he can get his hands right, we could see him threaten to take snaps away. Let's also not forget Ginn gets in his own way. Yes, he got 10 TDs last year, but he also dropped 5 and 400 yards worth of passes. Add in that he caused about 3 turnovers last season, one of which was in the red zone during the Super Bowl. Last season, he wasn’t a great return man and the first thing we heard out of him this training camp was that he bobbled a deep ball that was picked off. He may need to go this year. If not cut, I see his role reduced significantly and then cut midseason.
Chance of Losing Job: (90%)
Chance of Being Cut (35%)
Ed Dickson- Good ole Ed Dickson… 2nd to last in blocking efficiency with a mere 120 yards receiving last season. He did have two of the Panthers more memorable plays; the fumble recovery touchdown from Tolbert and maybe the best touchdown pass I’ve ever seen Cam Newton throw. He is not the best, but he knows the system well.
Best Chance to Beat Him: Marcus Lucas/Eric Wallace- I’m not going to put Sandland here because I think we keep three tight ends and the last spot was up for grabs anyway. I am a big Marcus Lucas fan; he is a plus blocker who also adds a fair amount in the passing game. If they want to add purely to the blocking game, and they need to, then we can see newly signed TE Eric Wallace who played Aussie football and is huge! 6’6 260..if he somehow panned out as effective, I’m guessing we’d see some impressive blocking.
Chances of Losing Job: 85% (cut)
Mike Remmers- He was a good story coming off a practice squad and becoming a starter. In most seasons, Remmers would be a sure starter for us. He is coming off of a terrible Super Bowl performance. I know it’s unfair to write off a good season because of one bad performance, but you are only as good as your last performance and his was ugly!
Best Chance to Beat Him: Daryl Williams= The Panthers traded up to get him in 2015 and he impressed in training camp. Then he got hurt and the coaches saw he needed more time. Now he looks ready to go. He worked on his footwork in the offseason and he is amazingly strong. Williams can be a bookend RT for years! He will have to fight for the spot, but I think it will be his!
Chance of Losing Job: 75% (reduced role)
Mike Tolbert- The dancing bear is admittedly not one of my favorite players, but a lot of fans love him. He’s starting to show his age. He was a Pro Bowler last year, who only had only 250 rushing yards and 4 TDs. He did amass 26 first downs, showing that his ability to move the chains is his main job.
Best Chance to Beat Him: Devon Johnson- Johnson is 6’ tall and a lean cut up muscled 240 lbs. His size and style actually reminds me of a larger Doug Martin. He can catch and run. In his junior season at Marshall, he went for 1800 yards and 19 TDs from scrimmage. He missed his senior year with a nasty back injury. His back has aggravated some in camp already, but he has an explosive upside and he knows how to block. He spent his first two years in college as a blocking tight end.
Chance of Losing His Job (15% to start season/40% midway through season)- I do not think Tolbert loses his job at the end of camp. Johnson has too much to learn in a position that is surprisingly complex in the Panthers scheme. If he slows down or gets injured midseason, we could see Johnson take over. I do think Johnson makes the 53-roster and makes his name known by the end of the year!
By JP "the Pope" Tremarzo
Follow him on Twitter @JP_Tre18