August 24 2008
Well, I’m pondering what I just saw in the House the PSL and Uncle Jerry built- You all saw it, you may have been wild with ecstasy like me, at least at first. The stats we’re all familiar with by now, the voices on WFNZ will no doubt go over them ad nauseum, at least until our even more meaningless tilt with the PissBurgh Squealers this Thursday. To really appreciate what happened last night; let’s take a quick look back at what we’ve ENDURED from the team thus far.
Must we, Crazy Joe?
Oh, we must, we must.
We’ve seen a largely uninspired performance from an overrated team for the past two years now, endured the brief disaster that was Dinky Carr and the heroic but futile effort from Vinnie Testosterone. Steve Smith and little else. An over heralded and over the hill defense that stops NOONE.
A maddening inability to get off the field on third down, and a wretchedly disappointing failure to get one yard when we needed it. An absolute home field DISadvantage when the visiting fans had control of the stadium. All of which drove me to protest with my spirit and lack of passion, as all of you remember from last year, when I just couldn’t take it anymore. If you remember my past rants toward the end of the season, I had given up all hope. But Matt Moore, the offseason purge, and the draft really started to give me a little confidence. Then it grew. And I gave the bold prediction four months ago –
The Carolina Panthers would not suck in ’08.
Boy, when I’m right, I’m right.
Yes, last night was PRESEASON and does not count, and I really shouldn’t belabor that point with you, the readers, because you’re intelligent enuff to recognize that. But the WAY we won that game, the MOST IMPORTANT GAME of the preseason, is the beginning of what is hopefully the wondrous detergent that begins to wash the stink of the past two seasons off of our merry Cedar Street lot, the most precious of tailgating real estate in PantherLand, in my opinion. If the first half of each of the three preseason games is an indication of what’s to come for the season, this is what’s for certain, and you don’t need the Cedar Street Seer to show it to you- But I’ll take the space on The Blogosphere to do it, just cause I’m that kinda guy.
The Panthers defense will DOMINATE. The rehaul of the defensive line and the switching of Peppers will give offensive coordinators a few sleepless nights planning to play Apocalypse Meow. Backing the line rotation is a fortuitously DEEP and talented linebacking corps- and a very solid secondary. I’m particularly pleased with the consistent hustle from Richard Marshall, who by the way, makes special teams a little less UNspecial this year. Look at what the mighty first string offenses of Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and Warshington did against the defense- UhUh. Not much. Although Donovan McSnabb flung the biscuit against us in that slopfest two weeks ago, he couldn’t punch it in.
The running game will be the weapon of choice for Jeff Davidson. Between the yawner in Philly and the track meet at home last night, is the reality of the running game for us this year, which will be FoxBall at its most basic, lots of fundamental with little flash. This new beefy O Line is the real deal, and is the ideal situation for Williams and Stewart. Question is, Remainder of the NFL-
How do you want to get beat by us? By bludgeon, as Jonathan Stewart busts the tackles, or by stiletto, as DeAngelo Willams slices and dices the secondary as the line opens gaping holes? And if you’re an opponent playing to stop the run, which I’m sure SOME teams are going to have temporary success doing, there’s this little dude wearing the 89 jersey who will be ITCHING to play come Week 3, and his big buddy number 87. The improvement of Dewayne Jarrett is exponential. Jason Carter is CERTAINLY a step up from DREW Carter (who by the way has torn up his knee with the Raiders-season over for him). The tight ends are solid too- I really like the tandem of Rosario and King, and gives Jake additional dependable receivers where before a shutdown of Smith meant no play, or worse.
The special teams will no longer be the abortion we endured last year. Rhys Lloyd will make sure we have more touchbacks, and Richard Marshall and Dan Conner will be those headhunters we need on the returns.
Which brings me back to the game just played. After jumping around like a crazed primate in the first half, leading the “C-A-T-S” cheer FOUR TIMES in my section, I felt a little odd by the second half. I guess, first of all, my beer buzz had worn off, and I’m hesitant to fill my body with seven-dollar beers. Strange emotions began to flood me. My demeanor came full circle, from the sit-on-my-ass detachment from last year, to the wild exultation of the scorefest, to the quiet satisfaction of silencing the DeadSkins fans, and again, sitting dispassionately in my seat. But this was a DIFFERENT dispassion – I was trying to comprehend what I was seeing - How unusual was this? For once, a stadium that was AT LEAST 25% Redskin fans was muted for the visitors. I tried to remember when we had put 40+ points on ANYONE, let alone the preseason! Another strange thought came to me-
I thought of a boy or a girl, in some ravaged, destitute, famine stricken Third World country, sitting with thousands of other suffering children in some squalid refugee camp. Upon receiving an Operation Christmas Child box, proudly opening up the box, selecting ONE goodie, they return the box to the giver, not at all perceiving the WHOLE BOX was for him/her! And how overwhelmed with joy and gratitude when they learn that INDEED, the entire box is for THEM ALONE-
All those points for us? The Ragged Panthers, lords of the Pasture of Disasture? Is this victory, over the much - heralded WarshingToon FredSkins really for us? In some kind of cruel cosmic joke, did some other team fill our uniforms and fool us into thinking we were had superior playing ability after all? Some of us in the section were hoping we could stash twenty points or so in some metaphysical “Points Bank” to use when we invariably have trouble dispatching the F***ING DUCKIES or some other NFL bottom feeder we are to play this year. Kathie, my wife, offered to pinch me as we walked out of the stadium, as I sarcastically sang “Hail to the Redskins” as for once, the visiting fans left with the lousy taste of a wretched performance, and dominating ASSWHOOPIN was put on-
And as I stated in April, who is coming to the stadium that fills the stands with fans of the visitor? I’m actually kind of sorry at the prospect. If we play the kind of football I think we are going to play, I sure would love to rub it in to those Cowgirl, Squealer and Packer fans who’ve never seen Wisconsin, Texas or Western Pennsylvania.
As for the Packers and CowPatties, that’s the playoffs for you- IF you make it that far. The Packers, probably not.
And while that’s an NFL eternity down the road, our preseason performance can’t help but excite us at the prospect, and now, seems a little more realistic.
I’m drinkin’ the Kool-Aid, FANZ! I believe in this year’s Carolina Panthers! Bring on the Sad Diego Chargers!
E- mail me, The Cedar Street Seer