Behind Enemy Lines - Panthers Part 1

Insider Scouting report on the Panthers from someone who has covered the team since their origin. Part One: Offense.

1. Is this the last year for Jake Delhomme in Carolina? Should it be?

Brad Thomas: Is it? probably not. Should it be? Maybe. Because of the way Delhomme's contract is written, they'll receive no salary cap relief if they cut Delhomme. Since he's a great and experienced leader, the Panthers likely will keep him at least as a backup through 2010.

2. DeAngelo Williams has been a workhorse for Carolina since he came into the league with Jonathan Stewart his compliment. Will the Panthers continue to use both players this week? What should we look for from them?

Thomas: Look for Williams and Stewart to both play as usual. Williams missed last week recovering from an ankle injury, but is listed as probable on the injury report. Stewart has had every wednesday off the entire season to rest his sore Achilles. Williams usually takes the bulk of the carries, but Fox looks at them as 1a and 1b.

3. How big of an impact did losing Jordan Gross to an injury for the season have?

Thomas: Losing Gross was a blow, but the Panthers haven't seen much drop off since he went down. The Panthers slid G Travelle Wharton, whose played LT for the Panthers in the past, over and inserted second-year G Mackenzy Bernadeau in his place. Gross hadn't been having a pro-bowl caliber year, but was solid. The biggest hit was to their offensive line depth. Bernadeau is also the backup center, so if something happened to C Ryan Kalil, they'd be in trouble.

4. Mushin Muhammad? Aside from Steve Smith is Muhammad the next best receiver on the roster? What other options do the Panthers have when they want to throw the ball?

Thomas: Actually, the second best receiver on the roster might be TE Dante Rosario. The Panthers have had a huge problem trying to find a compliment to Smith over the last few seasons. They hoped it would be Dwayne Jarrett, but he hasn't done anything to overtake Muhammad on a weekly basis. Rosario has proven to be a reliable receiver in the clutch.

5. What has been the biggest cause of the Panthers struggles on offense? Is it something wrong with Carolina, or are teams planning well on how to stop the offense run by Delhomme?

Thomas: The biggest problem has been Delhomme. He just isn't the same after Tommy John surgery. The offensive scheme is unimaginative and predictable. Teams can shut down Smith, their only receiving weapon, and focus on stopping the run. The problem arises when the Panthers get down; they don't have any ability to pass and score quickly.

Brad Thomas, former writer for, has covered the Panthers since the teams' inception. He now writes occasionally for and can be found here as a guest analyst on

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