Monday, May 11, 2009

Sorry, Peter: Panthers in Top 10

My friend Peter King of Sports Illustrated has the Carolina Panthers ranked 18th in his current power rankings for 2009.

That, of course, is too low. As currently constructed, the Panthers have 21 of 22 starters back from a team that went 12-5 last season. Now you can take that one of two ways. The Panthers haven't lost anybody (even No.90, despite all the offseason gnashing of teeth) but they also haven't gained anybody outside of the draft (which is why Everette Brown needs to help immediately on the pass rush this season).

If you're looking for ammo against Peter and/or Sports Illustrated, there's plenty. Peter picked New England to beat Dallas in Sept. 2008 in the 2009 Super Bowl -- ouch. SI has in past seasons gone as far as to pick the Panthers to win the Super Bowl in seasons where Carolina hasn't even made the playoffs and to err just about as far on the other side as well.

But to dismiss Peter's opinion as misguided is too simplistic. He's one of the most insightful writers in the business. He has great sources. If he picks the Panthers at No.18, that to some extent reflects the conventional wisdom around the NFL.

Where would I put the Panthers right now? My Top 10 is below, and I've put the Panthers at No.10. (And of course, I've missed the Panthers' outcome big-time in some past seasons, too).

My first 3 for 2009 would be Pittsburgh, New England and Indianapolis, in that order, followed by the N.Y. Giants.

I'd put Atlanta slightly ahead of Carolina right now if I were to guess who is going to win the NFC South, because the Falcons have really done a nice job filling their needs in the offseason. But I definitely wouldn't drop the Panthers all the way to No.18.

Here's my 2009 top 10 as of right now:

1. Pittsburgh
2. New England
3. Indy
4. N.Y. Giants
5. Tennessee
6. Baltimore
7. Atlanta
8. Philadelphia
9. San Diego
10. Carolina

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Scott,
King did have valid points however. As in the amount of points allowed in the last 7 games, 45, 31, 23, 10, 34, 31, 33. They also stuggled against mediocre teams such as Detroit & Oakland. I'm a Panther fan but the defense does need to be adressed. I agree the performance of Delhomme left us all dumbfounded but that shouldn't be used to predict the upcoming season. Knowing Jake that is probably just fuel to his fire. Go Panthers!!

Anonymous said...

Peter King your friend - he is a barely competent writer who meanders about drivel. He hasn't done a single thing noteworthy in years beyond writing about the Paul Zimmerman benefit. He is a hack writer who can't report about anything beyond teams he favors (Patriots, Steelers, Giants) (and don't forget his Red Sox)....worthless predictions. He should be reduced to submitting entries for that other overrated individual of PFT.

Anonymous said...

I look at Atlanta's back 7 on defense and I'm not scared. Maybe Smith is just getting his guys in there, but it seems like they still have some needs there, especially in the defensive backfield.

But thank you for not overrating Dallas, as I'm sure the rest of the NFL press world will.

Anonymous said...

I'm Peter King:

Pats, Pats, Pats, Favre, Favre, My daughter's softball team, Red Sox.

Things I think I thought before I forgot them -

1. The Pats are just too good. I think Roger Goodell should cancel the season and hand them the trophy right now.

2. I wonder what Brett Favre is thinking right now? I hope it's about me.

3. I wish my daughter was still in high school so I could talk about her softball team. She was great!

4. Did I mention the Pats?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:52

Very funny!

Lance said...

King isn't that far off the mark, in my opinion. Scott has them at 10, I'd likely put them at least below Atlanta. The Panthers' defensive output ending the season wasn't pretty at all, and the only real change we made was Lucas, leaving us with an unproven commodity at the nickelback slot.

King's questions are valid ones. Jake has to show he can recover from that abysmal outing and we have one of the worst potential schedules in the NFL. Add to that questionable depth on both lines and 18th might be low, but not by much.

Right now I'm predicting 10-6 at best due to schedule brutality, but 9-7 or 8-8 isn't out of possibility given the Panther's track record.

I really hope I'm wrong and we go 12-4 or better and get another 1 or 2 seed. We'll see.

Scott, you got Indy WAY too high. They have just as many ??? as the Panthers at this point.

Anonymous said...

top 10 would mean they'd have a winning record.

Panthers aren't big on back to back winning seasons.

Anonymous said...

Panthers fans might have the thinnest skin out of any fan base out there, not to mention they might also be one of the most delusional. Carolina had a weak schedule and took advantage of it, plain and simple. That being said, don't be idiots. Peter King is an excellent writer with very credible resources. This article was just about some fun speculation and filling in some time until the camps and preseason begin. If I were a Panthers fan, I would be more concerned about your head coach. He doesn't adjust and make changes, even when other catches catch on to his game plan. Say what you want about Belicheck, Coughlin, Tomlin, but the make the neccessary adjustments to win games when it matters. Your boy, John Fox, is too stubborn to make the change. By the way, you guys do know Jake Delhommme can't play forever, right?

*This post does not reflect the views or opinions of my employer from where I submit this post*

Anonymous said...

Peter has picked up several times to do well and we've done nothing. So, none of this means anything. I am dissapointed because one of the most respected writers in pro football doesn't think much of us. Having Scott say, "well, I do" doesn't really help because Scott works for the Observer, so who did you think he'd pull for? haha

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but I agree with Peter King. I pick the Vanilla Panthers to finish 3rd in the NFC South and probably about 20th overall. They have no QB and failed to even get a decent young one in the draft (Nate Davis fell to the 5th round - outrageous given the Panthers' desperate need for a QB). They also failed to work with Peppers' agent and trade him to a team where he wanted to go. Even a 2nd round pick is better than wasting 16 million and tying up the cap room on a disgruntled overrated DE. They could have used that pick to pick up the future QB. Instead, they wasted an opportunity.

John Fox is a decent coach but he is way too conservative. Conservative means Not For Long in the NFL. Until he is gone the Panthers will never be a top level team.

Anonymous said...

Wow, so sports writers just levy opinions without merit or substantiation. You sighted ONE factor in the panthers remaining one of the NFL's top 10 teams. 1) we lost a LOT of depth at O-line (2) we aren't sure if we're getting back one of the best pass rushers in the league (3) we know Delhomme can't be trusted even against weak opponents (I.e. Raiders, Detroit last season) (4) we have the NUMBER 2 toughest schedule ... get that through your heads people, NFL.com ranked #2 toughest (5) oh and we're starting a new defensive scheme, new coach to call D plays etc... oh yeah the transition should be seamless... we'll be lucky to be 8-8. Now, can you guys please stop the favoritism and hire a writer with talent and courage!

Anonymous said...

cited ... for you spell check Nazis

Rented Mule said...

Yes, 21 of 22 coming back, but the depth chart took a huge hit and defense was nothing to brag about last year.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Scott. Peter King is dead on about your Panthers, and you're too much of a homer to be objective about this. No depth, no depth, and lastly, no depth. Division got better and Panthers got worse.

Anonymous said...

Peter King is like any other national writer in that he has ZERO clue about any team other than the Patriots, Giants, Cowboys and a few others.

This is the same Peter King who blew off a report from the Charlotte Observer saying Bucs QB Chris Simms was getting his spleen removed in the hospital after a game. He went out of his way to discredit the report and deny it while on the NBC Sunday Night pregame show.

Never apologized or corrected himself once it was confirmed later by NBC, ESPN and his own momma.

Anonymous said...

The D was gouged at the end of the regular season due to injuries at DT and Lucas having lost a step. Corvey Irvin could provide better depth at DT, and Marshall and Sherrod Martin could be better than Lucas and Marshall. The LBs are very good and it looks like Peppers will play. If Brown can win the starting LDE, the D actually has a good chance to become a better unit than last year.

And then there's the Jake issue. Yeah, Jake had a bad year and a stunningly bad playoff game. Mark Schlereth recently said that he expected Jake to be improved due to the 2-year expected healing time for Tommy John surgery. What if he's right? If Jake can play just slightly better, the offense improves also.

Small improvements in the offense and defense may not be enough to grab a playoff spot given the schedule, but they're much better than 18th.

Anonymous said...

"Until he is gone the Panthers will never be a top level team."

7 years, 2 NFC Championship Games, 1 Super Bowl Appearance, and the third best record in the NFL last year.

I am so sick of the anti-Fox tirades. For the last 2 years, everyone blamed Trgo for the defensive woes, but as soon as he left the team the theories started surfacing that Fox was really the one calling the plays and Trgo was just an innocent bystander. If that is how Fox runs things, why was Del Rio's defense so aggressive and successful when he was here?

True, I was just as dumbfounded by the gameplan for the Arizona game as everyone else, but one game does not a career make. He is the most underappreciated coach in the league considering what he has done for his franchise, and I for one am glad he is here and hope he stays for a while.

Christopher and Tamara said...

Panthers top 10 with a garbage quarterback?? The ONLY reason the Panthers did as well as they did was the running game last year. It sure wasn't the defense, or Jake's throwing ability.. They should actually be ranked lower, around 20....

Anonymous said...

I say we go 10 - 6 and win one playoff game. Our running game is too good and even with Jake at QB, Steve Smith is good for a few wins. On Defense, we'll be able to do it with mirrors to cover our sore spots.

The same team that took had the Giants on the ropes is now 20th in the league...sorry I don't buy it.

Anonymous said...

Peter King is about as insightful to football as I am to nuclear fission.

Anonymous said...

Peter King is a hack, no doubt about it. That said, Panthers in the top 10 is a stretch, especially with their schedule next year. Top 15 maybe. I just don't think we're going anywhere with Jake as the QB. Steve Smith, Moose and the running game (when it worked) have bailed him out for years. He can't win a game by himself, and he's at best a good backup. And we're not developing a young QB, unless they feel strongly about Matt.

Beer Man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The Panthers will never go anywhere with Jake at QB, John Fox as the coach and Marty Hurney as the GM. They all need to go bye-bye. Bring in an offensive minded coach (Mike Holmgren or Mike Shanahan), get a decent GM, and draft a QB in 2 years when they have another 1st round pick (since the one for next year has already been wasted by the dynamic duo).

This is one boring mediocre team.

Beer Man said...

It all comes down to this - SCHEDULE!!!

It's the reason why there is a different division champion each year, and why it seems that a team that did horribly the year before has a better record (give or take a few exceptions).

Also, the Panthers hardly did anything to improve - unlike the Falcons who picked up a solid TE which will help them seperate from the pack (although their playbook will get bigger + sophmore slump = more mistakes for Matt Ryan)

The division will shake down like this:

Atlanta 12-4
New Orleans 10-6
Carolina 9-7
Tampa Bay 5-11

As for the top in the league:

AFC:
Pittsburgh
New England
Indy
Baltimore
San Diego
Houston
Miami

NFC:
NYG
Atlanta
Philly
Arizona
Chicago
Dallas
New Orleans
Minnesota

Godwin said...

I apologize for being completely off topic, but this is the newest post by far that I thought a comment would get noticed in...

From Michael Wilbon's Chat House yesterday:

Michael Wilbon: I'm totally with you on that. Dirk isn't a No. 1 player anymore. He's a co-No. 1 or a No. 2. But they'd have to get another studly player from somewhere, maybe another guy with a ton to prove...And don't tell me A.I. because that ship has sailed (to Charlotte, to be exact)...Rip Hamilton maybe?

AI to the Bobcats? Does he know something we don't or is this more speculation? Scott, any way you could see what Rick thinks? Again sorry for crashing the comments.

Anonymous said...

Carolina fans, get real. They will finish well below Atlanta.

Anonymous said...

Big deal. Who cares what peter piper thinks. Why do fans take this banal rhetoric so serious. Champions are made on the field no matter the schedule or any other trivial facts. Did'nt the patriots go 18-1 not long ago and did not win the SB. All bunk and hype to be ignored I say.

Christopher and Tamara said...

The Panthers aren't the Patriots....