The Panthers' training camp kicks-off the season and makes me way less productive at work than I should be. I can’t wait to see what kind of TV or video game system our guys bring into their dorms. Will Big Money show up on a segway again? These are important questions.
Seems silly, but this is a time where you see a little bit of the human side of our on-the-field heroes. Will the O linemen have their own trailer to play cards in? Will a WR buy an ice cream cart for the day and treat his team mates as they come off the field? (That may happen in Baltimore this year). But I’ll also be checking my Twitter feed and places like www.charlottevibe.com to see who is standing out in camp and who is not participating. So below are a few camp topics that I’ll be checking my Twitter feed for updates on:
How does Cam look. Does he look like the $103M man that runs this team now? I don’t think his accuracy is as bad as folks say (59.3% doesn’t suck). But where I see that he needs to improve is his anticipation. I feel like he sits there and when a guy gets open he flinches into motion to throw the ball. To get to the next level, he has to anticipate where the WR will get open and lead them there. Make no mistake, this team goes as far as Cam takes us. Reports that he was working out with his WRs in Baltimore for the past few weeks if real encouraging.
I’ll be watching my Twitter feed to hear how Cam looks and if the chemistry with his WRs seems improved.
Offensive Line Starting Five and Depth:
One of the biggest catalysts to last year’s late season run was the suddenly-healthy and stable offensive line unit. Early in the year, we switched more line ups that the Patriots do inflated balls. We need a consistent starting-five if we are to get to the playoffs and beyond. And who are our best five at the moment? Has to be Oher, Norwell, Kalil, Turner and Remmers. However, I see Williams eventually earning that RT spot and wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen sooner rather than later. Our OT depth took a hit with the sudden retirement of Jonathan Martin yesterday. Did he really hurt his back? My tweet yesterday says what I think
And apparently some of the players see it more as he isn’t dedicated to the NFL life:
I like our top six linemen, but I will be looking for the Panthers to make a move between now and the start of the season to add a LT. Anthony Collins or Jake Long anyone?
Wide Receiver Battle:
The assumption is that the Panthers will keep six WRs. The locks are Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, Corey Brown, and Ted Ginn, Jr. Cotchery is probably locked in, but is vulnerable should others step up. Stephen Hill, Brenton Bersin (Clyde’s favorite), Jarrett Boykin, Demarius Byrd (my guy) and De’Andre Presley will be battling for that one or two spots.
Throughout the next few weeks, we will all be looking for reports of who dropped what and who looks promising. My prediction is Bersin captures that last spot, but I’m really pulling for Byrd.
The Panthers need to bring the heat this year if we want to be a top 5 Defense and take this team deep into the playoffs. With the Kraken in Dallas, it comes down to Big Money staying healthy and figuring out who mans the other side. Will it be filled by committee or will someone like Kony Ealy or Frank Alexander claim that spot? This is a key question yet to be answered and I’ll be watching.
I feel like this unit is a boom or bust candidate. Does Charles Tillman have something left in the tank? What about Old Man Harper? Is Boston ready to step up? Will Stiki Wiki stay healthy? Will Norman really be elite this year? All questions that I can’t wait to see answered.
So Panther fans, get your popcorn ready. The 2015 NFL Party is about to get started.