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Michael Silver
September 03, 2001
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Panthers
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September 03, 2001

Enemy Lines

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an opposing team's scout sizes up the Panthers

This is an up-and-down team. When every-I one's healthy, they can make some noise, but I they don't have enough depth to sustain it for a full season. With three new linemen and wideout Pat Jeffers coming back, they could be better on offense than people think. Their defense is another story. God, it's bad....

When you think of Carolina's struggles on D, you think of Sean Gilbert. He's a classic underachiever and has been his whole career....

Dan Morgan should give them a boost at linebacker, but they're really weak there—Dean Wells is a stiff, and Lester Towns is a five-flat guy who can't catch anyone. One guy I really like is Mike Minter at safety, because he comes up and attacks. But Deon Grant can't tackle, and Doug Evans is done....

The big question is whether a young quarterback can play well enough to overcome those defensive problems. Jeff Lewis is a pure passer, kind of like Trent Green. He needs to learn to read defenses better, but the only way he'll improve is to play....

If Tshimanga Biakabatuka gets hurt again, keep an eye on Richard Huntley. He's an elusive, tough runner who has speed and power, a guy who could gain 1,200 or 1,300 yards if he gets the carries....

Muhsin Muhammad is the total package, someone who's deceptively dangerous downfield, but I don't think Jeffers will be the deep threat he was before his knee injury. He'll be the classic West Coast offense guy, a Dwight Clark.