Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas
On the eve of the season, it’s time for an installment of team-by-team mailbags. I’ll bang that out as I watch the Penn State/Syracuse game.
We’ll start with the Carolina Panthers.
Zach in Georgia writes: Hey Pat, thanks for the follow up information about Shaun Smith. That is unfortunate news. Do you think the Panthers did enough to fill in at DT? Seems to me that is Nick Hayden is starting we must not have good depth at all. Any chance they go after someone via a trade before the deadline if they get off to a poor start in their first 5 games?
Pat Yasinskas: Yes, the reports are that Shaun Smith is suspended for the first four games, so that limited the pool of defensive tackles for the Panthers. Let’s be real honest, they’ve got Damione Lewis, who isn’t truly an every-down tackle, and second-year pro Nick Hayden as their starters at the moment. They’re backed up by a couple of guys who have joined the team only in the last two weeks. I suspect this is going to be an ongoing issue and I think the Panthers will continue to monitor defensive tackles that get released or might be available for trade.
Zac in Charlotte writes: Sauerbrun's return a gift to media everywhereThat is one of the best stories I have ever read on the Panthers. Great article. I can actually picture Coach Fox asking you that. I love it!
Pat Yasinskas: Thanks. Todd Sauerbrun truly was one of the most entertaining players I’ve ever covered. Not an unpleasant guy at all, but he clearly made some questionable choices throughout his time in the NFL and that’s why he’s landed in the United Football League. Hopefully, he’s learned from his past and can play his way back into the NFL. The guy’s an enormous talent -- and a fantastic quote.
Jesse in Charlotte writes: Pat, with the very streaky play coming from all of Carolina's Quarterbacks this preseason do you see any way that the Panthers could bring the newly unemployed Jeff Garcia into the picture?
Pat Yasinskas: Not going to happen. For better or worse, John Fox is very stubborn and very committed to Jake Delhomme and, to a lesser degree, to Matt Moore and Josh McCown. Besides that, Garcia doesn’t fit Carolina’s offensive style. He needs to be in a West Coast system. One other thing on Garcia, I think the guy is a good quarterback and can help some teams. But he’s made it clear that he isn’t content to be a backup and any team that adds him should consider the locker-room implications of such a move. Garcia's been a disruptive force when he's been a backup in the past.