The "Power Core" Pre-Season Power Rankings
By Still Apple
The time is approaching. I can feel it because I'm watching game tapes from previous seasons. I'm wearing Steeler shirts and jumping around to "Baba O'Reilly." I start flipping the channels for "Rudy." Hell Keith Jackson's commercial about Gatorade gave my buddies and I goosebumps.
The Girl Apple can feel it too.
She asked me the other day, "Who's winning your game?"
I said "What game?"
"Your football game? Didn't it start?"
"Not yet. I mean pre-season is just a short time away."
"Oh, well what were all those papers about Ravens and Bears doing in your bag?"
"Oh, I'm getting the Power Core Pre-Season Power Rankings together."
"Does this mean I lose you one day week again?"
"Yes. Yes it does."
So, I bring you the Power Core Pre-Season Power Rankings. Throughout the season, I'll be listing my power rankings each week. Normally, the rankings will be listed all at once, but I'm tying in a team-by-team preview, preperation for the season. So let's start from the bottom.
#32 Carolina Panthers (Finished 1 – 15 last in NFC West)
Last year at the Scruffy Duffy's I watched the Panthers and Chris Weinke stun the Minnesota Vikings. They did it with such efficiency that I was proclaiming Weinke to be the steal of the draft. 16 weeks later I realized that I'm a dumbass when I'm drunk.
The Good: The Panthers put the old geezer George Seifert to pasture. Let's hope he doesn't come back, because he didn't have much love for the game last year. They solidified their running game by releasing Richard Huntley and Tim Biakabatuka. I hold a special vile in my heart for these two guys because they have single handedly ruined perfectly fine Fantasy Football seasons for me. The Panthers signed Lamar Smith, who at one time seemed to be the answer to Miami's running woes. He probably won't last more than a season with the Panthers since rookie DeShaun Foster is waiting in the wings, but at least he gives them a potential 1,000 yd rusher.
The Bad: This secondary has more problems than the "Scooby Doo Movie." They had the 28th ranked defense against the pass and they're working hard to make it even worse. John Fox was hired away from the NY Giants. He's been brought in to be a fiery leader and help the defense be more aggressive. The problem is his secondary doesn't have anyone even close to ability of even Jason Sehorn. Granted he has Dan Morgan and "Dr J" Julius Peppers to play with, but Fox has his work cut out for him. I don't see him lasting more than 2 –3 years at the most because of the situation.
The Ugly: You know you're in a bad situation when all of the major coaching moves are made and you still don't have a coach. Hell, Tampa kept turning people away at the last minute, but Carolina couldn't even get them to step in and have a drink. But at least Patrick Jeffers is the team's #1 receiver. I can just leave it at that.
Synopsis: This team has many, many problems and question marks. This is sort of like the bastard expansion team that should never have been. I kind of feel sorry for the Panthers because you never see anyone walking around wearing a Panther's jersey or asking "What did my Carolina boys do today?" For most teams 1 – 15 can be viewed as the starting point for a new beginning. A move to the NFC South means that at no more than 4 wins is the probable outcome.