2010 NFL Preview: Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers were regarded as a bust. Jake Delhomme's miserable playoff game in the NFC Divisional Playoffs carried over into the first game of the season, and the team never really recovered.
Steve Smith had one of his worst seasons in a long time with virtually no help, and Carolina was done after a loss to Buffalo. But after a broken finger benched Delhomme for the rest of the season, The 4-7 Panthers gave the ball to Matt Moore, who won four of his final five games. With a team getting younger, and John Fox's last year in his contract, can he pull off a winning season? We go inside the 2010 Carolina Panthers.
- 2009 record: 8-8 (3rd, NFC South. Missed playoffs)
- Key Additions: none
- Key Departures: QB Jake Delhomme (Cleveland Browns), FB Brad Hoover (free agency), WR Muhsin Muhammad (retirement), RG, Keydrick Vincent (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), DE Julius Peppers (Chicago Bears), DT Damione Lewis (New England Patriots), DT Maake Kemoeatu (Washington Redskins), DT Hollis Thomas (free agency), LB Na'il Diggs (St. Louis Rams), LB Landon Johnson (Detroit Lions), CB Dante Wesley (Detroit Lions), S Chris Harris (Chicago Bears)
Overview: Matt Moore is the clear starter heading into training camp, and into the regular season. It will be interesting to see how well he performs as a starter for a full 16 games, as the Panthers went 4-1 in the final five games of the regular season to break even at 8-8. Although the Panthers drafted two quarterbacks in the draft (Jimmy Clausen and Tony Pike), the battle will be for the #2 spot, as Hunter Cantwell is currently projected to be the back-up. Clausen has not signed, and Pike has already been with the team during OTAs. Moore already has developed a good chemistry with Steve Smith, and it should resume once Smith recovers from his broken arm.
The strongest part of the Panthers' offense is their running game, and with that being the bulk of John Fox's offense, and two dynamic running backs in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, who became the first running back tandem to run for over 1,100 yards individually in NFL history. Despite not getting any kind of contract extension, Williams is going into camp handling business. If Double Trouble can remain healthy, along with their offensive line and coupled with a reliable passing game from Moore, the Panthers offense will be a tough one to solve.Continued on the next page