Jaxon at Cat Scratch Reader, the SB Nation site that follows the Carolina Panthers, answered five questions I had about his team. The five questions he asked me and my answers are posted on his website.
- What's it like to have a starting quarterback who's actually older than Brett Favre?
Forget Brett Favre, I graduated college a year after Vinney did. I can't fathom taking a hit from Albert Haynesworth without screaming like a girl. One hit and forget the gurney, just bring a body bag. Seriously, it's been amazing watching him because the guy still has the ability to play. Granted he's no Brett Favre by any stretch but he can still play. That said I hope David Carr can start against the Packers, though I think in the end it really won't matter. If the Panthers are going to turn it around I think it has to come with David Carr at QB. Favre on the other hand has been fun to watch, even for us non-Packer fans. The guy has moxie and is never afraid to sling the rock. And he's always having fun. I love it.
- Does the offense really miss Jake Delhomme or would there be problems even if he hadn't gotten hurt?
The offense really misses Jake but what we are starting to realize is this team is still no better than 8-8 even if Jake was playing. With last weeks loss to the Falcons we're staring at 6-10 if something doesn't change. Strangely enough though Panthers fans appear willing to give John Fox and GM Marty Hurney another pass this year. Not me.
- The TV talking heads always mention Julius Peppers' low sack total when talking about the struggling Panther defense, but that seems like a cop out and Peppers might be a lighting rod for the defensive problems. What is the major difference between the Panthers' defense in 2007 compared to 2006?
It's hard to say for sure, but I think it's a combination of Mike Rucker no longer being a sack threat and the defensive scheme relying too much on the front four to put pressure on the QB. Kris Jenkins occasionally gets some pressure but otherwise it's up to Peppers. They aren't getting the job done but the Panther brass has been slow to adjust. Favre will probably eat up the Panther secondary and should be sipping pints of brew by the 4th quarter.
- The Packers really missed Mike Wahle in 2005 after he signed with Carolina before that season. He was hurt in 2006 and missed some time, but has now played in every game so far this season. How is he playing in 2007 and has he been a good signing for Carolina?
It's hard for me to evaluate individual linemen but I would say he has played well and is probably our best o-lineman. Outside of RG Jeremy Bridges two-game suspension to start the season the line has stayed intact the whole season yet it really hasn't been a strength. The running game started out strong but has withered as teams stack the box because they no longer fear the Panther passing attack. The offense scored 7 against the Titans and 6 against the Falcons. The Packers should post back-to-back shutouts.
- A lot of people discussed the possibility that the Packers could select Dwayne Jarrett in the 1st round last April, but obviously they passed and Carolina drafted him in the 2nd round. He has only three receptions so far this season. Is there some concern that he's a bust, or is he just slowly developing in his rookie season as many receivers do?
There's a lot of concern he's a bust in my view. He's been inactive for 7 of 9 games and has yet to play more a few plays in a game. First the word was he was too soft and didn't block well (one of Keyshawns strengths - go figure). His WR coach actually called him "tinkerbell" - ouch! Then we were told he hasn't grasped the playbook. He does have soft hands and leaping ability but if he can't break into the Panthers weak (outside of Smith) WR starting line up by the end of this season then the "bust" label has to be considered.