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Saturday, August 29, 2009
Quick take on Panthers' exhibition game

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

I didn't have the luxury of watching the Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night. It wasn't available where I live.

But it wasn't too hard getting a grasp of what was going on in Charlotte. Watching the play-by-play, looking at the stats and reading some of the in-game reporting, it was easy to see that Carolina's defense didn't play well.

The surprising thing was it had nothing to do with Carolina's gaping hole at defensive tackle (which will be addressed through a trade or a waiver pickup before too long). The Ravens did the Panthers a favor by not really pounding the ball over the middle.

They moved it through the air. Baltimore's Joe Flacco threw for 199 yards in the first half. It has to be noted that Carolina was playing without injured linebackers Jon Beason and Thomas Davis and free safety Charles Godfrey.

Beason and Davis are two of Carolina's best defensive players and there's no doubt their absence was felt. But did the absence of Godfrey, a second-year pro, really drag the secondary down that much? I'm not so sure. Godfrey's a pretty average player at this point in his career.

What's much more of a worry is that the rest of Carolina's secondary struggled. Chris Gamble, who's supposed to be a No. 1 corner, didn't play like one. The other members of the secondary aren't nearly as talented in coverage as Gamble.

Sure, it's just a preseason game and, if Davis and Beason are healthy for the start of the preseason, that's going to be a big help. But the Panthers already had a glaring problem in the middle of their defensive line.

Now, they might have another one with the secondary.