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Thursday, August 11, 2011
Panthers don't need gimmicks

By Pat Yasinskas

I really like the fact the Carolina Panthers are trying to be creative with their offense.

They weren’t even close to being creative when John Fox and Jeff Davidson were running the show. I’d say the last time the Panthers showed any creativity on offense was back when Dan Henning was the coordinator, but I know there are plenty of Carolina fans that wouldn’t go along with that. They’d say the last time the Panthers had an interesting offense was in George Seifert’s first two seasons.

However, there’s one thing I don’t like about what the Panthers are doing. They recently spent 30 minutes of practice letting Armanti Edwards work at quarterback. Yes, Edwards is a former college quarterback, but he was drafted to be a return man and a wide receiver.

The Panthers still think his future is at those two positions, but they’re inserting a Wildcat package in which Edwards will sometimes line up at quarterback. The team talked about shifting quarterback Cam Newton out wide in those situations.

Great, you’ll have an undersized quarterback who hasn’t passed since college throwing to a quarterback, who is not a receiver. Yeah, it might be flashy, but it makes less sense than most of what Fox and Davidson did the last couple of years.

I’m not saying it’s a bad idea for the Panthers to use Edwards in the Wildcat for a couple plays a game, but no more than that, when the regular season rolls around. And I’m also saying it’s a waste of valuable training-camp practice time to give Edwards a lot of work at quarterback.

Newton and Jimmy Clausen need all the work they can get after not having an offseason program to learn a new offense. They need all that work at quarterback, not wide receiver.

And Edwards needs to get his work as a receiver and a return man. Let guys do what they do best.

There’s a theory subscribed to by New Orleans’ Sean Payton and Atlanta’s Mike Smith. It goes something like this: If you have a real quarterback, you don’t resort to gimmicks and take the ball out of his hands.

The Panthers still don’t know for sure what they have in Newton. But they think he can be a franchise quarterback. Let him be the quarterback.