Offensive Overview

The Carolina Panthers enter the post-Muhsin Muhammad era this year and will be looking to find a way to replace the Pro Bowl receiver's league leading 1,405 receiving yards and 16 touchdown catches. They believe they will get that production from Steve Smith, who missed 15 games last year with a broken leg. Smith had a stellar season in helping the Panthers reach the Super Bowl in 2003, but broke his leg in last year's regular season opener against Green Bay.

Keary Colbert, who caught 47 passes for 754 yards and five touchdowns last year as a rookie, will start opposite Smith. Right now Ricky Proehl is penciled in as the No. 3 receiver, but Drew Carter could replace him in that role if he continues to show the skill he's displayed thus far in minicamp.

Carter was a fifth-round draft pick in 2004 out of Ohio State, but missed all of last year with a torn ACL. He's back now and running well. In fact, he beat everyone on the team, including Smith, during 40-meter times earlier this year.

Jake Delhomme returns at quarterback for the Panthers and entering his third season as the starter has a great grasp of the offense. Although Delhomme doesn't always look pretty on the field, he does get the job done and players respond to him.

Delhomme caught fire in the second half of the season, posting a quarterback rating of 102.8 in the final 10 games with 17 touchdown passes and only four interceptions. For the season, Delhomme threw 29 touchdown passes, 16 of them to Muhammad.

Stephen Davis remains a big question mark for the Panthers at running back.

He is coming off microfracture surgery on his knee and the team is bringing him along extra slowly to make sure the knee heals properly. Davis still thinks he will be ready to practice when training camp arrives. But at 31, you have to wonder if Davis still has what it takes to bounce back from such a surgery where bone was rubbing on bone in his knee.

Either way, it's likely the Panthers will turn over the reigns of the offense this year to DeShaun Foster, who has spent two seasons working in Davis' shadows but has had problems staying on the field. After rushing for 178 yards last year against Kansas City, Foster separated his shoulder and missed 12 games.

Eric Shelton, a second-round draft pick from Louisville, could see extensive action this season if Davis isn't able to come back.

Nick Goings, who ran for six 100-yard games last season, returns to his role as the team's third-down back.

The Panthers return Kris Mangum, Mike Seidman and Michael Gaines at tight end. They also signed Freddie Jones during the off-season, although it's unclear if he can make the transition to a blocking tight end.

On the offensive line, the Panthers will move Jordan Gross to right tackle and Travelle Wharton to left tackle. The team signed free agent Mike Wahle to a five-year, $25 million contract to play left guard.

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