Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Clouds don't mean storm in Carolina
Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas
In the 24 hours or so since Mark and Jon Richardson resigned their positions as presidents with the Carolina Panthers, I’ve talked to a lot of friends and professional acquaintances in Charlotte. Most of the time, I felt like I was talking to people in Boston.
It seems like Panthers fans suddenly have become the second coming of Red Sox fans. You know the attitude -- a general acceptance that anything that can go wrong will, and an overall gloomy view before the season even starts.
I think that’s a mistake. Sure, it doesn’t quite look like the stars have been lining up for the Panthers this preseason. The defense has looked bad, injuries are piling up and the change at the top, at the very least, suggests there was some dysfunction within the organization.
But does all that just turn a team that was 12-4 last season into a 6-10 team? I’m not buying it and I grew up a Red Sox fan in the most cruel years in the team's history.
Sure, there are things to be concerned about with the Panthers. The defense has to play better than it has in the preseason, the injuries to linebacker Jon Beason, running back Jonathan Stewart, linebacker Thomas Davis and safety Charles Godfrey are reasons for worry, and the Richardson saga creates drama for a team that doesn’t like drama at an inopportune time.
But you know what? Every team has some issues with the regular season almost upon us, and the Panthers have less issues than a lot of teams out there. They’ve also got plenty of positives -- a great running game, a very good offensive line, Steve Smith and the possibility of a huge year by Julius Peppers.
You really think the resignations by the Richardsons are going to impact this team on the field? Mark Richardson made sponsorship deals. Jon Richardson made sure the grass grew and the lights worked at Bank of America Stadium. Few of the players had direct interaction with the Richardson brothers.
Just because they resigned, don’t go resigning yourself to the assumption the Panthers are in for a long season.