The Panthers will face-off against the Browns in Cleveland this Sunday at 1:00pm on FOX Network.
The big news heading into this game, other than the fact that poppa bear Jake Delhomme will be playing against is former team, is that Jimmy Clausen is expected to start. He seems to be over his concussion which kept him on the sidelines for last weeks game against the Ravens. “I feel pretty good, ready to get out and get a win,” Clausen was quoted saying on the official website of the Carolina Panthers: www.panthers.com.
Let’s hope he isn’t being modest here, and trying to come back too quickley. The last thing the Panther’s need is for the future face of the franchise to go down swinging, only to recieve a worse injury than the one he has been recovering from. Some might argue that Fox is making a huge mistake here, but I beg to differ.
Let’s face it, the Panthers aren’t going to partake in the offseason this year (except from their couches like the rest of us). Their main focus should be on next season, and the overall future of the franchise. Having their star rookie QB go out there and toss the ball around is just a natural decision that any coach should make. This “let’s see what the kid can do” mentality will not only test his natural athletic talent, but will also test his mental abilities to press through the hard times. If the doctors give Fox the go ahead: I say, risk the injury, and see what this kid is worth to your franchise.
In my opinion, Fox and Co. should be throwing every player out on the field (at one point or another) to see what type of game-time capabilities they may hold. A player like Steve Smith has shown his worth to the team; and, much to his dismay, should be seeing as little field time as possible. The season is lost, what more do you have to lose?
This week, against the Browns, the Panthers may have their hands full. The Browns are one of those underrated teams that will come around to bite you if you aren’t careful enough.
Players to be careful of:
RB Peyton Hillis: His running style won’t keep him healthy for more than a few years; but in the meantime he has been bulldozing through just about every defense in the NFL. Don’t expect the Panthers to be the exception here.
QB Jake Delhomme: He really isn’t what you would call a great quarterback by any stretch of the imagination. But he knows John Fox pretty well, and that goes for his system too. We might see him put up some Super Bowl year numbers out there this Sunday.
WR/KR Josh Cribbs: We can say without hesitation that #16 is an obvious paymaker who can return the ball against any team. When the Browns wise up, they will start to utilize him more as a reciever. He’s got the abilities to be the best, he just needs the opportunity. Why wouldn’t Mangini decide to test out his ability against Carolina? I can’t think of a good reason either…
Players to root for:
RB Mike Goodson: He has been putting up good numbers lately, and with trade rumors spreading around about DeAngelo Williams, the Panthers are possibly going to need another play-maker at this position. Plus it never hurts to have some extra talent on the depth chart.
DE Everette Brown: He’s had a sack in each of the last two games, and has been playing a better all around game than we have seen in the past. The Panthers have been looking for someon to fill the hole of the dynamic Julius Peppers, and Brown may have what it takes.
WR David Clowney: This newly acquired speedster came from the Jets, who have an obvious abundance of talent at this position. When he was drafted, Clowney put up the best 40 time in the draft. He didn’t have the best numbers over in New York; but maybe a new start, with a new team, in a new city, is all he needs to get ahead.
Carolina Panthers: 17
Cleveland Browns: 27
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Written by Billy Madison