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State of the Panthers - Training Camp Preview
David Dorey
July 20, 2009
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This series of analysis on the 32 NFL teams takes a look at where teams have been over the last three years for each position - where they have ranked in the most notable categories and the hard statistics produced. This is to give a view of each team heading into training camp and what they most likely need to improve on this season and where their strengths lie that likely won't need any changes. Ending each team review is a brief summation of what to watch in training camp in August to uncover those developing situations that you can take advantage. Combining where teams have come from and what they have done in free agency and the NFL draft gives you the very same thing that NFL coaches are looking at as they attempt to improve their team for 2009.
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Training Camp Opens: August 2
Head Coach: John Fox (8th year)
Stadium: Bank of America Stadium  Surface: Grass
2009 Schedule   2009 Roster   2008 Statistics   2008 Record:12-4

QB Carries Rush YD Rush TD Pass Comp Comp % Pass YD YPP Pass TD Int Rank YD Rank TD
2006 23 30 0 538 325 60% 3486 10.7 19 16 14 17
2007 35 112 0 505 285 56% 2941 10.3 19 17 28 18
2008 24 18 2 414 246 59% 3288 13.4 15 12 21 24

Quarterback - Jake Delhomme comes off his worst year ever in terms of stats but the rushing success had a great deal to do with it.. He's declined in every year since 2004 statistically though he missed three games in 2006 and 13 games in 2007. He just signed a $42.5 million extension for five more years so easy enough to say the Panthers are very happy with him.

RB Carries Rush YD YPC Rush TD Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD Rcv TD Rank YD Rank TY Rank TD
2006 389 1546 4 5 129 96 74% 707 2 22 18 29
2007 406 1635 4.0 7 90 61 68% 429 2 15 22 24
2008 475 2379 5 28 61 39 64% 208 2 2 7 1

Running Backs - Wow - the Panthers went from being 22nd in rush yards to 7th last year and from 24th in rushing touchdowns to #1 in the entire NFL in 2008. That's a symbol that everything went right, everyone remained healthy and the schedule makers smiled on the team last year. The addition of Jonathan Stewart (184-836, 10 TDs) was successful but nothing like what DeAngelo Williams did (273-1515, 20 TDs). The loss of DeShaun Foster was a great thing actually and going into this year the Panthers have one of the most formidable rushing duos in the league. The question is whether Stewart will further degrade Williams' stats as is expected by most. The schedule is far more daunting this year and will have a big impact as well. Not much to prove in training camp in terms of new people.

WR Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2006 342 191 56% 2457 12.9 15 12 11
2007 318 169 53% 1967 11.6 11 26 22
2008 287 168 59% 2676 15.9 11 8 18

Wide Receivers - Overall the Panthers had a decent year with their wideouts and Steve Smith (78-1421, 6 TDs) had a decent enough year though he missed two games and tended to get his yardage in chunks since the rushing attack took over in many games. And he only had six scores - even Muhsin Muhammad (65-923) had five touchdowns. The addition of D.J. Hackett added nothing last year and he's been released. This could be the season that Dwayne Jarrett finally shows up but after two seasons and only a total of 16 catches it would be a huge surprise to see a break out year. Heck, it would be surprise enough to see him actually score a touchdown for the first time in his NFL career. The wideouts could come into play much more this season since the schedule will be rougher but the running backs showed they could act like receivers as well last year. More than anything, it would be nice to see Jarrett make some progress since Muhammad is 36 years old and not likely to be around much longer.

TE Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2006 59 37 63% 317 8.6 2 31 29
2007 93 57 61% 553 9.7 6 18 14
2008 65 39 60% 404 10.4 2 27 26

Tight Ends
- The Panthers have never used this position for much more than blocking since the heyday of Wesley Walls about eight years ago. WIth the explosion in the rushing game, the tight ends are blocking even more. No fantasy interest in this position.

Training Camp Fantasy Angle - 2008 was a successful season for the Panthers led by the breakout year of DeAngelo Williams. The addition of Jonathan Stewart seemed like an afterthought only because Williams was so successful. Stewart still had more carries than Derrick Ward, Willis McGahee, Joseph Addai or Julius Jones last year. And will the Panthers have the luxury of 457 rushing attempts to split between Stewart and Williams? If Stewart shows up in training camp looking even better, it will naturally drop Williams' draft stock that has already fallen a lot considering he was the #1 running back in some leagues last year.

The other angle to watch for those in dynasty league is what happens with the receivers. Muhammad has to be replaced as early as next year and it would always be preferable to promote from within. But Dwayne Jarrett has yet to make use of his size to make any difference. Steve Smith will always be the primary here but there is enough left over for the #2 to create fantasy value. Plus Smith has been injured before and Muhammad went nuts that year.

Related Articles

Team-by-Team Offensive Line Review and Ratings
Head Coaching Changes and Their Fantasy Impact
Ease of Schedule for Quarterbacks
Ease of Schedule for Running Backs
Ease of Schedule for Receivers
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