Home > Game Recaps, Preseason > Beyond the box score – Panthers @ Dolphins

Beyond the box score – Panthers @ Dolphins

Well, the Panthers are now 0-2 in the preseason. Not that it really matters what the preseason record is, as we all know the most important part of the preseason games is the progression of the back-up players and the performance of the starters.

It is also important to avoid any major injuries during the preseason, something the Panthers have unfortunately been unable to do this season. In the Dolphins game Jon Beason was sidelined with a knee injury, and it has been discovered that he has a sprained MCL that will keep him out of action for the remainder of the preseason, and possible out of the first two regular season games.

Beason remains confident that he will be ready to go when the Eagles come to Charlotte to start the regular season, and we can only hope that he is right, because while Dan Connor has been a good addition to the defense so far, he doesn’t have the leadership skills or the energy that Beason has on the field.

The Panthers are also without the services of safety Charles Godfrey for a few weeks, who had surgery to repair a broken hand suffered in the Dolphins game. The Panthers have signed former Saints and Bengals safety Kevin Kaesviharn to give some depth to the position after the loss of Godfrey, and WR Jason Carter has been released to make room on the roster for Kaesviharn.

One of the positives that can be taken from the Dolphins game is the fact that the first team offense looked really solid. DeAngelo Williams looks like he is in midseason form already, and had a nice touchdown run in the second offensive possession. Delhomme looked better than he did against the Giants, but he is still not 100% ready for the start of the season (which I’m confident he will be).

The special teams unit didn’t play very well overall. The only bright spot in the return game was the nice punt return by Captain Munnerlyn that he almost took all he way, but he stepped out of bounds before he could make it to the end zone. Of course, he followed that brilliant return with a muffed punt later in the game (although he did recover it by stripping the ball under the pile).

The rest of the return game was pretty atrocious, and Ryne Robinson may have lost his roster spot by muffing the punt that ended up giving the Dolphins the game-deciding score in the 4th quarter.

With the emergence of Munnerlyn, Larry Beavers, and Mike Goodson in the return game and Kenny Watson as a potential #4 wide receiver, Robinson’s roster spot may be in jeopardy if he doesn’t improve significantly in the next two weeks.

The defense is still adjusting to the new scheme of coordinator Ron Meeks, so I didn’t expect a lot of noise from them. I do expect them to make tackles, though.

Tackling is one of the key components to defensive play, and that is something that needs to be done regardless of the defensive scheme that is being used. The guys shouldn’t have forgotten how to tackle, but it seems that they are having a hard time figuring that out based on the first two games.

I’m still going to hold on to the theory that the defense is saving all the hard core tackles for the regular season to avoid injury (partly because I’m hopeful that it’s not something worse – like the defense becoming effeminate during the offseason).

The “important” preseason game is coming up against the Ravens – and the Panthers need to show a little more progression if they are going to be successful this season. Hopefully the new defense will finally kick in, and the Panthers will start kicking ass and taking names this weekend.

Or, we could just be witnesses to another dose of vanilla gameplay.

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Categories: Game Recaps, Preseason
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