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Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Mailbag: Carolina Panthers edition

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

It's time for the Carolina Panthers in our series of team-by-team mailbags.

Ron in Lompoc writes: Pat, Haven't heard anything recently on the Dwayne Jarrett front. Is he going to be a factor this year or should Panther fans expect another Colbert(bust)?

Pat Yasinskas: I think Jarrett could be ready for a breakout season and the Panthers feel the same way. Jarrett started to show some positive signs at the end of last year. For some reason, it often takes a wide receiver a couple of years to truly emerge. Jarrett has the physical skills and he seems to have picked up the offense. The Panthers have a great No. 1 in Steve Smith, but Muhsin Muhammad is 36 and can't go on forever. The Panthers need Jarrett to at least be their No. 3 this season and are hoping he can step into a starting role at some point.


Clarke in Los Angeles writes: hey pat, big panthers fan out here in LA...do you feel that mike goodson will add a big play dimension to the offense or is he just a special teamer?

Pat Yasinskas: Not sure that Goodson will play a really big role in the backfield as long as DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are healthy. But he can catch the ball and could help fill the shoes of Nick Goings. He also could step in as a runner if Williams or Stewart gets banged up. The Panthers definitely plan to use Goodson on special teams and he has some ability as a return man.


Nathan in Charlotte writes: What do you think about the Panthers CB situation? I dont think Marshall was even that good of a nickel back, and do you really think Martin is good enough to start at nickel for us, also with no pass rush the QB's will have all the time they need. I think we are screwed.

Pat Yasinskas: I'm going to disagree with you on Marshall. I think he's ready to start and will form a nice combination with Chris Gamble. Marshall's been a good nickel back for a couple of years and is ready for a bigger role. The nickel back is a question. The Panthers are hoping Sherrod Martin can fill that role, but that's a lot to ask of a rookie. Martin has talent, but will have to learn the system very quickly.


JS in Statesville, NC writes: Pat I don't think Fox needs to be replaced yet but everyone says watch out for Cower. I think Fox's replacement would be more likely to be one of the Shottenheimers. Marty lives way closer to Charlotte (LAKE NORMAN) than Cowers (RALEIGH). Just stating what I think.

Pat Yasinskas: Let's give John Fox some room. He is coming off a 12-4 season and he's done a lot for that franchise. But the seat will warm up if the Panthers struggle. I know the Bill Cowher fan club has been out there for some time. But I'm going to say what I always say to that: I think Cowher has his eyes on places other than Carolina. As far as Marty Schottenheimer, I think there's a better chance of him ever coaching the Panthers than Cowher. But the trend in the NFL is to go with younger coaches and Schottenheimer doesn't fit that mold.


Chris in st pete writes: i get the feeling from time to time that your not a big fan of the panthers. i do understand that nothing much has happened leading up to the draft, but there were some pretty amazing moves made in the draft. You did a really big story on the falcons mini camp. I am so tired of hearing about jerry, gonzales, white, and ryan.

Pat Yasinskas: Chris, I'm not a fan of any team (except Penn State football and the Boston Red Sox). My job is to cover the four teams in the NFC South and not be partial to any. I pride myself on doing that. From time to time, I get accused of favoring the Panthers because I covered them for nine seasons or the Bucs because I live in Tampa now and used to cover them for the Tampa Tribune long ago. My job is to write all about the teams -- good and bad or however you want to interpret it. Yes, there was a lot of stuff on the blog about the Falcons this weekend. There was a reason for that: They had a minicamp and my assignment was to go there and cover that. Go look beyond last weekend and I think you'll find I cover all four teams extensively. I'm hoping to get to Charlotte and New Orleans for June workouts.


Jay in parts unknown writes: Hey Pat, thanks for all the hard work! Do you think the Panthers could bring in any free-agent wide receivers to compete for that 3rd spot, like Marvin Harrison or Ike Hilliard?

Pat Yasinskas: Doubtful. As I said above, I think the Panthers are counting on Jarrett to step up. Now, if he struggles in camp, but the Panthers could make a move if a veteran is still out there. But, right now, I don't anticipate that.


Zach in Raleigh writes: Will you be going to Wofford this offseason to check out the Panthers?

Pat Yasinskas: Absolutely. It isn't truly summer for me without at least a few days in Spartanburg and a trip or two to the Sake Grill for the Sports Writers Special, which isn't officially on the menu, but the employees all know the drill. I'll be visiting all four NFC South teams in training camp.