Here's a little preview of my Sunday column, with my Panthers prediction at the bottom:
We will start today's column with a quiz. When Panther cornerback Captain Munnerlyn was being interviewed this week, he uttered what has to be one of my favorite quotes of this Carolina season thus far.
Quoth the Captain: "He's a big guy to be so small."
So who do you think Munnerlyn -- who at 5-foot-8, is the shortest player on the Panthers' roster -- was talking about? Was it:
B) Steve Smith
C) Olindo Mare
D) Maurice Jones-Drew.
If you guessed "D," you are correct.
Jones-Drew -- at 5-foot-7 and 208 pounds -- is the little big man the Panthers' defense must stop Sunday. He's compact, strong and the Jaguars' biggest offensive weapon, having gained 185 yards on the ground in the first two games. That's more rushing yardage than the entire Carolina team.
If Carolina is going to make Blaine Gabbert look like a rookie quarterback making his first start, which he is, the simplest way would be to slow down Jones-Drew. Then Gabbert has to face more third-and-long situations and Munnerlyn's wish may come true.
"Hopefully we can confuse him, mess with his head a little and get our hands on some balls," Munnerlyn said of Gabbert.
Given that two of Carolina's biggest defensive weapons -- Thomas Davis and Jon Beason -- are on injured reserve for the season, however, that will be easier said than done.
-- I'm 14-3 over the last 17 games picking the Panthers' win-loss outcome. My prediction for Sunday:
Carolina 19, Jacksonville 16.
10 months ago