Friday, September 22, 2006

Carolina Panthers

I had so much juice to do a preview on the Carolina Panthers. I spent a whole morning on my masterful Cincinnati Bengals jaunt, and closed with this teaser line setting up the Panthers feature:

"The Bengals will win the Superbowl because the same "Danger Jake" Delhomme who stunk up last year's NFC Championship will throw three critical interceptions in
the second half. John Kasay will have a chance to tie the game at the end of
regulation, but pull a hammy during the second half kickoff and then miss the
critical late field goal attempt short and wide left. More on Danger Jake in my
Panthers take to come."

"Danger Jake" is a nickname I picked up from Eugene Robinson, the Panthers radio color-man. He created the nom de guerre at the start of one game last season as he pondered which Jake would show up that day. "Safety Jake," is calm and steely-eyed. Safety Jake doesn't try and force plays. He is relaxed in the pocket and takes what is available down field. Danger Jake is jittery on the sidelines, jittery in the huddle and even more jittery whenever he has the ball. It's been all Danger Jake for your Carolina Panthers thus far. Didn't have to wait until the NFC Championship (like last year) or my projected Super Bowl meltdown. Danger Jake it dancing in the pocket, taking sacks, holding the ball too long and flinging passes into mass gatherings of opposing defenders like never before.

The offensive line are a bunch of 300 pound matadors. God bless Julius Peppers. He's got the heart of a lion, and he's about the only bright spot on a pretty dismal and undsciplined (see Chris Gamble) squad. Were you surprised that it took Dan Morgan as long as it did to suffer his first concussion? Who misses Will Witherspoon?

John Fox teams are usually disciplined and resilient. Not sure how they pick up from the debacle of the first two weeks of the season. Will the O-line suddenly figure it all out? Will the linebacking corps re-discover steriods?

How long will it be before Keyshawn Johnson lights up Jake in a very public manner? I say about one more Sunday debacle.

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