Good News, Bad News

During the bye week, we reflect on the good and the bad thus far.

GOOD NEWS

The good news for the Panthers is they're 4-2 despite the fact they've turned the ball over 15 times in six games, three of which were Jake Delhomme interceptions that were returned for touchdowns.

However, the Panthers have balanced that with 16 forced turnovers on defense.

Clearly, the Panthers need Delhomme to cut down on his turnovers and one way to do that would be to establish a more effective running game.

Stephen Davis is averaging just 3.1 yards per carry, so teams are wearier of Carolina's passing game than their running game.

Look for DeShaun Foster to get more work in the coming weeks because he's been more productive on the ground than Davis, who is coming off microfracture knee surgery.

The Panthers are getting a great season from Steve Smith, who is among the NFL leaders in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches.

BAD NEWS

The Panthers could be better than 4-2 and the truth is they haven't looked all that great during their current three-game winning streak. They've needed to go until the final two minutes to beat three inferior opponents - Green Bay (1-4), Arizona (1-4) and Detroit (2-3).

Carolina simply hasn't been as dominating as they were projected to be during the preseason and clearly miss wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad.

While Smith has been stellar, the team is lacking a No. 2 receiver they can count on a weekly basis. Rod Gardner, however, may turn out to be the answer there.

The Panthers lost defensive tackle Kris Jenkins in the first game of the season, a big blow to the defensive front because he does so many things well. But Jordan Carstens has filled in nicely.

Middle linebacker Dan Morgan has a shoulder injury and it's unclear how much that will hinder him the rest of the year.

Carolina's schedule will get much tougher in the second half of the season with two games against Atlanta and Tampa Bay.

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