Observations on the Carolina Panthers

Since the big story was the competition for the starting quarterback job between Cam Newton and Jimmy Clausen, and we’ve already covered that, we’re going to do just a few other observations on the Carolina Panthers.

The Miami Dolphins won the game 20-10 and there weren’t many bright spots for the Panthers. Here are the observations:

  • I thought Carolina’s defense was going to be a lot better. Now, I’m not so sure. Reggie Bush, who never was able to run between the tackles when he was with New Orleans, ran right through Carolina’s defensive line. With some of that cap space the Panthers freed up by signing franchise player Ryan Kalil to a long-term contract Friday night, I think the Panthers need to go out and sign the best defensive tackle they can find. I thought they solved that problem when they signed Ron Edwards at the start of free agency. But Edwards got hurt. The Panthers need to go out and find somebody to replace him. Oh, and the rest of the defense helped Chad Henne look like Dan Marino.

  • Nice to see linebacker Thomas Davis playing for the first time in 21 months. He had two major knee injuries and missed some camp time with a foot injury. I didn’t notice him a lot, but I did see him doing a nice job in coverage on two different plays.

  • I was watching the broadcast from a Miami station. One of the announcers was former Miami quarterback Bob Griese. He obviously has strong ties to the Shula family because he played for legendary coach Don Shula. His son Mike is now Carolina’s quarterbacks coach. Griese said he met with Mike Shula before the game and said he’s been impressed by Newton’s progress. Griese also pointed out that Newton never had to call a play or go into a huddle at Auburn. In college, the plays were signaled in from the sidelines and Newton just lined up in the shotgun and the center snapped the ball on a silent count. Shula told Griese Newton’s done a good job adjusting to all his new duties.