What might be a welcome sight Opening Day for Carolina

There has been a lot of conjecture over the way Carolina Panthers Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula will handle the influx of new talent on his side of the ball especially at the skills positions. The offense will likely fly or flop depending on how successful Shula is in making changes to his old pound-the-rock, throw long-developing pass plays approach.

He has shown pretty much the same philosophy so far in the preseason, save for some "everybody in the world knows" pass-plays to rookie Christian McCaffrey so far, but Shula may be pulling this, and on purpose, to set up the regular season.

It's a given that most teams are pretty vanilla in the preseason. After all, wins and losses don't matter but rather seeing who can and can't make plays does. Doing the same or similar things in preseason games as he did in the normal offense last year is, hopefully, a clever ruse.

Here's the idea: LET the league think "Oh, it's the same-old sophisticated running attack but high school level passing game." Week One, when he comes out with an entirely different look, it could spell trouble for opposing defenses as they would have little reference to make adjustments until about week three or four.

If he's smart, he'll work in new wrinkles into the same formations he used early and do it gradually over the course of the season (and the playoffs) to keep the opposition guessing.

So, fellow Panthers fans, don't read into what you see in the preseason, but rather reserve judgement until you see the success (or lack thereof, depending) of the new-look offense. The keys in preseason are to remain healthy and to name your 53-man roster. The rest should take care of itself.

Ken Dye