Carolina Panthers 2010-2011 Season Preview

A Look Back – Yet another .500 season has really pushed the Carolina Panthers organization to the brink of a slew of changes. There is clearly a philosophy problem with the Panthers that just hasn’t changed from the Super Bowl run several years ago. Is this a product of HC John Fox refusing to change his style to adapt to what he has to work with or a case of the pieces just not being in place? We may find out in 2010.

Key Addition – Subtracting QB Jake Delhomme – Sometimes you have to have addition by subtraction, and that’s exactly what Carolina did when it finally cut ties with Delhomme. The former Ragin’ Cajun threw picks in all but three of his starts last year and had five multi-INT games in his 11 overall starts. He completed 50.0 percent or less of his passes in four starts as well. Simply put, that isn’t going to cut it at the NFL level. The Panthers have to be better without him than they were with him.

Carolina Panthers NFL Cheerleaders

Key Loss – DE Julius Peppers – In the case of Peppers though, this is clearly subtraction by subtraction. Without a doubt, Peppers is one of the best defensive linemen in the entire league, and even though he had fallen out of favor with the front office of the black and blue, he still had a tremendous 2009 season, picking up 10.5 sacks. Peppers is donning Chicago Bears colors now, and unless DE Everett Brown plans on picking up the slack, there is going to be a huge void on the defensive front in Carolina.

2010 Will Be a Success if… – Someone can prove to be a competent quarterback for this team. The Panthers don’t need a superstar considering the fact that both RBs Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams are capable of going off for 100+ yards each in every game they partake in. Both had 1,100+ yards last year and should, at bare minimum, eke their ways towards the 1,000-yard barrier again in ’10. Still, someone is going to need to be able to at least complete 15-20 passes per game and put some fear into opposing defenses. Whether that man is Matt Moore or rookie QB Jimmy Clausen is still to be determined.

The Crucial Game – Though we are remotely intrigued about the prospects of Delhomme facing off with his former mates in Cleveland, we don’t think that the ex-Panther will have his job still by the end of November. Instead, welcoming back Peppers to Carolina is a far more interesting proposition. If Carolina is making the playoffs, this is going to be one of those games that could make a huge difference by year’s end. Don’t think for one second that Peppers doesn’t already have this one circled as a three sack game, though.

Predictions – The season could fall apart in a hurry for Carolina if it doesn’t get off to a good start. We aren’t much for Fox as a coach right now, and we are fairly certain that he is leaving Carolina one way or the other after the season, as he doesn’t have a contract in place beyond 2010. If Fox becomes a lame duck head coach, the team could react and end up falling flat on its face. Their struggles are reflected in their odds as the Panthers odds to win the NFC are +2300 and their odds to win the Super Bowl are +4500.

2010 Carolina Panthers Regular Season Schedule

9/12 @ NYG
9/19 vs. TB
9/26 vs. CIN
10/3 @ NO
10/10 vs. CHI
Bye
10/24 vs. SF
10/31 @ STL
11/7 vs. NO
11/14 @ TB
11/21 vs. BAL
11/28 @ CLE
12/5 @ SEA
12/12 vs. ATL
12/19 vs. ARI
12/23 @ PIT
1/2 @ ATL

 

Where will Julius Peppers end up?

Julius Peppers

Julius Peppers

One more day until we find out whether Julius Peppers goes for the money or he goes for the chance to win a championship.

He already has a boatload of money from his time with the Carolina Panthers, so he doesn’t need to pursue the highest-value contract. But, you can never have enough mansions.

If he wants to go for a Super Bowl, he’s going to have to accept less money since none of the teams that play in the sort of situation that he’s looking for can afford to spend what Peppers is asking for.

If rumors are to be believed, there are four likely destinations for Julius Peppers: the Chicago Bears, the Washington Redskins, the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots.

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears may not be able to afford Peppers, but they’d dearly like to have him in the line-up.

It’s rumored that some of the Bears staff met with Carl Carey who happens to be Peppers representative at the NFL Scouting Combine. Peppers is Carey’s only client, so unless they were talking about the weather…

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles won’t be able to compete with some of the top-dollar teams, but if Peppers decides a championship is more important than money then the Eagles should be in the mix.

Peppers would help the Eagles short-term, but he doesn’t make a lot of sense. The Eagles don’t normally spend a lot on free-agents, and they don’t normally sign older players like Peppers to long expensive deals. They’d be more likely to sign some of the cheaper free agents out there.

Washington Redskins

Under Shanahan, the Redskins are switching to a 3-4 defense which means Peppers would have to switch to outside linebacker. But Peppers has already made it known that he’d like to see how he fits in a 3-4 defense.

The Redskins can afford send the Brinks truck to Peppers, but they’re probably not going to be a championship contender for a little while so Peppers would have to give up on his dream of winning a Super Bowl.

New England Patriots

The Patriots are the perfect 3-4 team for Peppers, but they can’t afford to pay him anywhere near what he’ll get from some other teams.

The Pats with Peppers become instant Super Bowl contenders. He could do that for any number of teams, but the Pats can afford to pay him more (at his discounted price) than he’s likely to get from teams like the Eagles.

 

 

 
 
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