Wednesday, October 8, 2008

2003 vs 2008 -- the Pro Bowlers

OK, here’s my last comparison about the 2003 Panthers and the 2008 Panthers – the subject of my column in Tuesday’s Observer that you can see here. I meant to put this in the last blog but forgot.

Do you know how many Pro Bowlers the 2003 Super Bowl Panthers had? Not that many, actually. Four. Want to guess who they were?

Go ahead, I’ll wait….. (Imagine the theme from “Jeopardy” now playing in the background)….

OK. They were DE Mike Rucker (but not Julius Peppers, who was a second alternate); P Todd Sauerbrun; RB Stephen Davis and DT Kris Jenkins. None of those four Pro Bowlers remain with the team.

Now, in 2008, if you were projecting a “REALLY early, WAY too premature, JUST FOR FUN, no wagering, please” line on Pro Bowlers, I’d project it this way:

Even odds: Julius Peppers. He already has more sacks than he did in all of 2007, and he seems more disruptive at right defensive end than he was on the left.

2-1: Steve Smith (above). I would guess he would make it, and talent-wise he should, as long as the horrible mistake he made by punching Ken Lucas in training camp doesn’t bite him.

5-1: John Kasay. Hasn’t missed a field goal all season.

8-1: Jon Beason, Chris Harris, Chris Gamble OR Thomas Davis. Some other defensive player besides Peppers will make it if the Panthers continue to rank as a Top 5 defense. I would say ONE of these guys would make it – maybe 2 of them at most. If it were me, I'd vote for middle linebacker Beason out of this group at the moment (and again, we're not even a third of the way through).

12-1: Jake Delhomme. Having a nice season so far, but the field at QB is very strong.

15-1: Muhsin Muhammad: Not only having a great season so far for a 35-year-old receiver, but he is also a sentimental choice because of his respect throughout the league. Would be hurt, however, by not being the most dangerous WR on his own team.

20-1: The Field. Some random player – most likely defensive -- who comes up with a big season the rest of the way.

Bottom line: the 2008 Panthers team isn’t filled with all-stars (after all, this is a squad which couldn’t boast a SINGLE Pro Bowler following the 2007 season. Not one).

But if the Panthers win the NFC South, I’d guess they will parallel the 2003 Panthers in one more way, with 3-4 Pro Bowlers. Feel free to post your guesses here if you like.


Rich DeVita III said...

Smith, Beason, Delhomme, and Peppers should make it. No doubt.

T said...

I dont think Peppers will make it myself. People just assume he will because he has a popular name for himself. I dont think Peppers is playing nearly as well as say Jared Allen or John Abraham.
I think someone from the OL will make it instead of him.

ChicagoCarolinian said...

Scott, I can't say that I'm not really excited that WFU's senior star last year, Kenny Moore, was picked up by the Panthers. Any word on whether the Panthers will keep him around, either for returns or as another receiver, and how much they hope to use him?

Anonymous said...

I think Gross has a good shot as well. It's going to be tough for Jake to get in with all the solid QB's in the NFC this year.

Overall, I'd say:

Steve Smith AND/OR Muhsin Muhammad
Jordan Gross
Chris Harris AND/OR Chris Gamble
Julius Peppers
Jon Beason
John Kasay AND/OR Jason Baker

And don't the Pro Bowl coaches get to select a "need-based" player? Dare I say Rhys Lloyd could end up going in that role?

Scott Fowler said...

Re: comment on Kenny Moore by chicagocarolinian: I think this is a good move by Carolina and I foresee Moore sticking around for the Panthers for the foreseeable future. He could either beat out Mark Jones as the returner or possibly become the 4th receiver now that Hackett is hurt (you just knew that would happen, didn't you?) With Ryne Robinson on IR, this gives Moore at least a chance, although realistically at WR I think he'd need another injury to get any significant playing time (as Panthers hardly ever go to 4-wide formation). Best shot is probably as a returner for now.

dcars10 said...

Quit comparing the damn teams...

2003 was 2003

this is 2008... Different years, different teams

Joseph said...

allen and abraham are bad examples for your point...abraham is injury prone and allen is a highly overrated douchebag with a head-band. both of their names are trendy to mention.

1 one or two guys from the oline
2 beason
3 smith
4 harris
5 davis
6 stewart

man, i wish the panthers would try to pick up tj hoosh, he would turn the receiving corps from good to great! if they had him along with smith and moose, defenses would get dizzy.

either way, if it ain't this year it will be in the next few and the panthers are on the road to becoming stellar...the team needs more all-stars if they plan on being all stars--i know they have some incredible players, but their offense should be just as scary to play as the defense.

Julie Hines said...

Yes Joseph, Offense needs to step up even more. Not complaining about last week but Jake needs better protection. Kris Mangum was never in the spot light but he was one of the best blocking tightends in the league, never heard him get called for holding and defense just couldn't get past him.