The good vibrations coming from Bank of America Stadium have been spreading around the Qcity this week. That’s what winning your first game since January can do – make you forget the past and cure all that ails you… well, not quite everything, but you get the picture.
But now that the weekend is here again, what can we expect the Panthers to do for an encore?
With the 0-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers on deck, there’s a great opportunity for the Panthers to get some real momentum going as they begin the second quarter of the season.
Last week against Washington, Carolina not only recognized it but actually seized the opportunity, though they almost gave the game away.
Unfortunately, their gain was my loss, as my record fell to 2-2 in picking games this season. Sad, isn’t it?
I’ve got to turn it around this weekend.
Well as I stated earlier, opportunity is knocking again on the Panthers’ door, and I’m curious to find out who will answer – Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde?
It’s this split personality that we’ve become accustomed to seeing each week when Carolina takes the field.
The good news: The Panthers are facing a team that’s even more out of whack than they are, with a first-year GM running the team, a rookie head coach – Raheem Morris – calling the shots and a second-year quarterback in Josh Johnson who’s starting the fifth game of his career.
While it’s been well documented that offensively the Panthers have had some challenges getting the ball in the hands of star receiver Steve Smith, the Bucs, on the other hand, have a No.1 receiver who just can’t catch the balls thrown his way.
As a matter of fact, there have been enough drops this season to spur the Tampa Bay management to bring in several more wide receivers for tryouts earlier this week, according to various media reports.
Defensively, Carolina continues to make strides from week-to-week. That’s hard to believe, I know, especially considering the bipolar play of some players.
Every since the first game of the season when Philly plastered the Panthers for 38 points, scoring by opponents has plummeted each game, despite a plethora of turnovers and miscues by the offense and special teams that have led to some easy scores: Philadelphia – 38; Atlanta – 28; Dallas – 21; Washington – 17.
That’s a trend that will continue against Tampa Bay on Sunday.
The Bucs defenders still haven’t found their niche, with some players hearing Father Time calling, like 13-year veteran cornerback Ronde Barber, and others who are just too young for their jock straps to make a difference.
It’s a recipe that spells disaster for Tampa Bay, while the Panthers win their second game of the season in convincing fashion, 24-10.
Damon Ford is a public relations professional who has worked in the public and private sectors in Charlotte.