Given that the 49ers own the Carolina Panthers 2010 first round pick, I've decided to introduce a new Sunday evening feature: Panthers Watch 2009. The Panthers are a team with some solid offensive talent, but as today showed, they have some other problems that could really help boost that 2010 draft pick. This will be a fairly simply story each week, just taking a quick look at how the Panthers played that week and who they're facing the following week. As we get further into the season, I'll include an update of where their draft pick sits. Also, I'm hoping to come up with a logo for this some time soon. A "Watch" certainly needs some kind of logo affixed to it. Although, this watch sounds strikely similar to Panda Watch from Anchorman.
Week 1 - versus Philadelphia Eagles
To say the Panthers crapped the bed against Eagles would not do this game justice. The folks at Cat Scratch Reader are probably still in shock after the Philadelphia Eagles dismantled their Panthers, to the tune of 38-10, dropping the Panthers to 0-1. Most notably, this game saw QB Jake Delhomme throw 4 interceptions and lose one fumble before being benched in the third quarter. Delhomme finished 6 for 17 with 73 yards, with a QB rating of 14.7. The benching led to the glorious return of Josh McCown, who was 1 of 6 for 2 yards before leaving the game with knee and foot injuries. This in turn led to 3rd string emergency QB Matt Moore, who hadn't thrown a pass since the last week of the 2007 season. He finished 6 of 11 with an interception of his own. The Eagles defense was absolutely dominant, getting the 5 interceptions, to go along with 5 sacks, all while shutting down the vaunted Panthers rushing game (which still surpassed the 49ers on this day).
While I'd certainly like to think this is your 2009 Panthers squad in a nutshell, I know that's not the case. First off, Jake Delhomme is a roller-coaster ride of a QB and will have great days to go along with his real stinkers. Of course, he's also getting up there in age and might be running out of gas. I'll give him a few more weeks before I make that judgment. Second, the Eagles are one of the best teams in the NFC. Maybe not 38-10 on the road at Carolina good, but they're good. The Panthers will have enough easier games down the road.
Week 2 - @ Atlanta
But probably not next week. Atlanta is coming off a solid defensive effort against the Dolphins. Since Delhomme took over the Panthers have always struck me as a Jekyll and Hyde type of team so they could bounce back with a win over Atlanta and it would not surprise me in the least. I think Atlanta can win this one, but again, nothing from the Panthers will surprise me. That could make it an interesting season to follow in our Panthers Watch 2009.