For the most part, even with a pending lockout/strike the 32 NFL teams are operating business as usual. That is until we get to the Carolina Panthers. Their owner seems to be unsettled by the labor strife in this sport, and has really gone out of his way to cut costs and prepare for 2011 when there may not be any NFL football. That is not a slam, just what seems to be going on with this team. They have gotten a lot younger, and significant roles will now be filled by their own draft picks. Every expendable veteran on this team was cut in the off season.
Matt Moore will lead the offense, and although young he did fairly well late in 2009. His biggest asset is his backfield were DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart will be the work horses for this team. They have Steve Smith in the WR corps and they drafted Brandon Lafell to accompany him, but the second WR position has yet to be settled. The offensive line is a pretty good one with at least two pro bowl caliber players.
The defense is a different story. For many years now the identity of this unit was in its D line, but now three of the four starters are gone, and we don’t have a really good read on what they are capable of. This team will run a base 4-3 scheme, and the strength of it may lay with the LB crops. MLB Jon Beason will have to step into a leadership role. Their secondary feels more average than great, but they should be able to help get the job done.
On special teams John Kasay will be the kicker, with Jason Barker handling the punting duties. They would like Armanti Edwards to return kicks, but he must win a position battle to do so. Captain Munnerlyn will return punts.