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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Minter "may not start": Curiousity meets Ingenuity?

Undoubtedly, even the Panthers can see that Mike Minter's not the player he was, and during the restructuring process that somehow 'leaked'. The problem? Rubbing together two players to be the starters that would push Minter out of the picture. For Minter to be a reserve, it would take two players, and the team only has one other player at safety - Nate Salley. The 4th round pick, who lacks speed and hands but has size, was a special-teams player who couldn't make the active roster when everyone else was healthy.

Why was this leaked, however? It's not as if a commitment to Minter for this year (which is what a restructure would do) is a bad thing for him, from an image standpoint, so to have the rumor come from Minter's own party makes no sense. From a team standpoint, they could use the rumor to their own advantage - deception - but could harm their own efforts to get a badly needed safety, and would certainly not help their relationship with Minter by doing so.

Nonetheless, the rumor is a curious one - shaky even - and the Panthers are in a tough spot at safety anyway. There's no hiding that the team will pursue at least one player there, so spilling the supposed statement helps no one.

Top that off with this: Ken Hamlin signed with Dallas this week, meaning every good safety's now gone from the market. Tyrone Carter is still out there, if you like a guy who hasn't started in years. There's Jay Bellamy, if you like your safeties older than Minter and without having started 2006. There's Mike Doss, an imperfect but probably best possible option right now. What else? It's all gone past that.

The idea of competition is a good one, and Minter could be very helpful in a supporting role. Minter could thrive as a nickel player at the line taking the place of a LB, and certainly still on special teams. It'd be as far as to say that Minter could be special teams captain, voted by the players, if he wasn't given a starting spot. Problem is, for all this to happen, Minter would have to be challenged by someone, and as of yet the team has just short of nothing.
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