I must be missing something regarding the histrionics concerning the Carolina Panthers' August so far.
Yes, they are 0-2 in preseason games entering Saturday's home exhibition vs. Baltimore (because, in part, the Carolina third-stringers can't hold a lead. Shame on them!).
Yes, they lost DT Maake Kemoeatu to a season-ending injury. Yes, both LBs Jon Beason and Thomas Davis are sidelined by sprained knee ligaments (MCLs, in both cases). Yes, safety Charles Godfrey has a broken hand. Yes, backup RB Jonathan Stewart has injury problems again.
But my gosh, is it this serious? Judging from what I hear in person and on talk radio and read via the Internet fan comments and the headline in my very own Charlotte Observer on Tuesday (3 injuries rip heart out of defense), we've reached the crisis point. And we're not even at Fake Game No.3 yet.
OK. Look. Let's all calm down here. The heart of the defense has not actually been ripped out. Nor has the heart of this team.
Now if Beason is hurt seriously, that one will sting badly. The "Beast" is a total stud and the team's most versatile linebacker. But other than that, c'mon. I've never heard so many people talk like the fallen Kemoeatu was the team MVP or something. Yet fans mostly ripped Kemoeatu while he was the starting DT or else paid him little attention at all, because he didn't make the big plays that Kris Jenkins did when he was here in all his eccentric glory.
I'm not arguing that Kemo is not valuable; he is. But he's also not irreplaceable, like (you can insert sound of knocking on wood here) a season-ending injury to Steve Smith, DeAngelo Williams or Jake Delhomme would be. Beason falls into that "irreplaceable" category too -- Dan Connor is serviceable but no Beason -- but there's no reason to believe right now that Beason's injury is incredibly serious.
In other words, nothing THAT bad has actually happened yet to the Panthers in August, Carolina fans. It's OK. Really.
I've covered this team since its inception in 1995, and I can remember a lot worse moments for the Panthers in previous Augusts. Here are 3: Kerry Collins getting his jaw broken by Bill Romanowski in 1997, Steve Smith punching Ken Lucas in 2008, Sam Mills being initially diagnosed with cancer in 2003.
So let's put all this in perspective a little, shall we?
(Incidentally, if you want to follow me on Twitter and get my thoughts on the Panthers in real time (more or less), go to twitter.com/scott_fowler and follow me).
*** On an unrelated note... I wrote a long story on David Chadwick Jr., the former Charlotte Latin basketball star, for today's paper detailing the ups and downs of his strange recruiting process. You can find it here.
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