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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Starting Opening Day, Toda

If I had to guess on the Panthers' starting lineup today, based on everything up to fanfest:

QB: Clausen - he's led the group out every time so far. I know they have no determination on this yet, but he's got more experience. Even with this being the case, I would anticipate Newton will play select portions of every game. Anderson and Pike are in a separate group.

RB: Williams - there's no doubt. I also imagine that he'll only continue to get more features with the new contract.

WR: Smith, Naanee - games will play this one out. I think Naanee's experience and size will matter. Will he stay a starter? Probably not - his production longterm hasn't been great (less than LaFell or Gettis).

TE: Shockey, Olsen. This pair has worked together a good bit, so I imagine they'll start games together in lieu of FB Tony Fiammetta. Look for Hartsock and Barnidge to work together, awkward since they're probably fighting for one roster spot.

OL: Gross-Wharton-Kalil-Schwartz-Otah.
No other options if everything goes well, but the focus would be on the RG if so. Schwartz has been the best, most consistent player outside of the top 4, but could see Mackenzy Bernadeau starting instead. Watch their pass blocking to see who's better.

LDE: Johnson.

NT: Fua. Unless someone else is picked up in the meantime, I'd suggest Fua is the starter and Andre Neblett is his backup.

UT: Irvin. It's a nice surprise that Corvey Irvin is playing well. Can he hold off Terrell McClain?

RDE: Everette Brown. He's more ideal for this D, but Greg Hardy didn't help himself with the injury either.

LBs: Anderson, Beason, Davis. Assuming nothing bad, there's no other options to decide excepting whether to keep a 7th LB (Gaither, Connor, and Lawrence Wilson should have an exceptional preseason, they're all players; none of them could overtake this trio however).

CB: Gamble, Munnerlyn. Concern isn't this pair, it's everything behind them, excepting a good vet pickup.

FS: Godfrey, Martin. Martin impressed the team enough that Ron Rivera said that Sherrod Martin might move to CB for nickel. It makes sense - but maybe Jordan Pugh can play well enough to move Martin down permanently.
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