Certainly, it's just preseason, and all of this will be washed away as if a summer thunderstorm swept through pretty soon.
Nevertheless, as I wrote in today's column, I think the Panthers' offense is in trouble and that their defense is spectacular.
A few numbers from the Panthers' 2010 preseason -- Carolina is 1-2 entering Thursday night's preseason finale at Pittsburgh -- bear this out with some starkness:
-- The Panthers' defense ranks No.1 in the entire NFL in yards allowed per game (184.7 per game), which is 51 yards better than next-best Minnesota.
-- The Panthers are also No.1 in the NFL in sacks (18, or an average of 6 per exhibition) and in passing defense. They are No.2 in rushing defense and points allowed per game (11, trailing only Baltimore). If Carolina keeps that torrid pace up throughout the regular season, too, defensive coordinator Ron Meeks is going to be a very hot commodity in 2011 for a possible head-coaching job.
-- The Panthers are No.32 of 32 in points per game (10). Their two TDs have been scored on a fumble return and a kickoff.
-- The Panthers' offense is on an 0-for-42 preseason streak in scoring touchdowns when starting a possession. I get into this some in my column today as well.
This shouldn't surprise us too much. Steve Smith and Jonathan Stewart have missed the whole preseason, after all. And Carolina's offense in the 2009 preseason was also very poor -- Hunter Cantwell had the only touchdown pass. That offensive offense then hurt Carolina considerably in its 0-3 start, which the Panthers never quite recovered from in 2009.
But that defense.... man. As I wrote today, I've never seen a faster-looking D in 16 years of watching the Panthers put teams on the field (and Thomas Davis, one of the team's speediest players, isn't even out there).