I am more excited and intrigued about Training Camp this year than ever before. There is so much yet to play out and every day is going to be like watching an epic game of Jenga. So many pieces impact the entire team and there are so many possibilities. Super Bowl 52 Champions is one of those possibilities and the road starts this week. Here are the five key things that I’m monitoring my twitter feed for:
Cam had surgery on his throwing shoulder on March 30th. He has recently started throwing, but is he ready? Let’s face it, we really only go as far Cam takes us. There is a difference in throwing while wearing a red jersey and being exposed to live bullets. I, for one, would like to see Cam not play in any preseason games. I want to see him throwing with the red jersey on in Spartanburg, but that is where it would end for me. San Francisco in week one should be his first live contest. Keep the shoulder strong and don’t take the chance of him taking a silly hit in a meaningless pre season game.
Luke is the best player on the Panthers in my opinion and his health is the difference in our defense being good and being great. I feel like without Cam, our offense is below average; however, I believe our defense is still above average without Luke. But with Luke, my-oh-my are we something special. I would play Luke very sparingly in pre season, but he needs to feel some opposing pops to get ready. After all, he has not played since last October.
I’ll say it again, this team goes as far as Cam Newton takes us. (Yes, I said us). Last year, our season ended when Michael Oher collapsed in Week 3 vs. a bull rush by the Minnesota Vikings. With Mike Remmers at left tackle, there really was no chance for Cam to stay healthy. To me, that was the unforgivable sin by Gettleman. He did not have a plan for such a situation and he had $30M in the bank that should have been used on offensive line depth as well as on Josh Norman.
Kudos; however, to Gettleman for picking up Matt Kalil. Many are skeptical of him, yet I anticipate great things. If he sucks, it will be a long season, so we better hope he comes through. I’ll be asking folks like @charlottevibe on a daily basis how Kalil looks.
So the all-time leading sack leader for the Panthers returns home. Early reports say he looks the same as he did when he left. Should that be the case, our defense as a whole will be so much better. Can you imagine playing Meg Ryan and it is 3rd and 12 in the fourth quarter and we line up Super Mario Addison on one end, a healthy Charles Johnson on the other and Peppers lined up inside next to KK Short? I’m getting lathered up thinking about that November 5th game.
This past week has been described as the most active week in Panthers’ history. I don’t know about that, but it has been crazy. It will be franchise-altering. Marty Hurney 2.0 gets to decide whether it is for the better or the worse. I recently took back a job that I had eight years ago. I can tell you that my approach is a bit different. I’m in much more command than I was back then. I know the mistakes that I made and I’m enjoying knowing what not to do. I have a feeling Marty 2.0 will be similar, and I look for him to do a great job. I heard today that he has already received 196 applications for his job. Time will tell if he should recommend someone or if the Big Cat should keep him around. I’m pulling for him and hope he stays.
I hope he extends both Thomas Davis and Greg Olsen to deals that protect the team from them being shells of them former selves. Could we offer them incentive-laden contracts with some upfront signing money to make everyone happy? I’m also interested to see if we can lock up Andrew Norwell and Star Loutoulellei. Added depth to the offensive line and secondary would be nice too. And oh yeah, if Hurney brings back Barnidge, I’ll be dancing in my PSL seat baby!
There are plenty other of things to watch during training camp. List yours below and tweet them out. Let’s be a strong voice this year Panther Nation! Join me and the C3 crew every Tuesday night at 9:00 to talk about everything Panthers. This week we will have sPanthers.com star, Max Henson. Give us your questions for him and we’ll be sure to ask. Keep Pounding Panthers, let’s bring the Lombardi Trophy to the Bank!