The Panthers suck.
OK, maybe not all of them, but there's the defense and this one other guy on the team that does. His name is Jake Delhomme. There was a time in the no-so-distant past that I actually thought he was pretty good....well, at least better than average. A few games this season made me realize something though. It's the other guys (mainly Steve Smith) on the offense that have help mask his suckitude through the years. In games where they've required and gotten last minute heroics, it's been Smith and others who have pulled his ass out of the fire. It's not that Jake needed to make some incredible throw to get the ball to them, it's that they've been forced to make spectacular catches thanks to craptacular passes. Sorry Jake, but you look like a deer in the headlights out there these days. If it's not too late already, you should really be concerned that Bojangles is soon going to cut off your flow of free chicken.
In contrast, look at a team like Arizona. Granted, they have two freaks of nature in Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, but when they're making spectacular catches, it's because Kurt Warner is usually putting the ball in close to the only spot that a completion is even possible. Lucky for the Cards, they didn't need too many of those 'perfect' passes on Saturday against the Panthers. That steak of fortune for the Cards falls squarely on the shoulders of the Panthers' secondary. Fitz was so open on nearly every pass he caught, his only thought needed to be "OK, once I catch this ball and run at least ten more yards down the field, should I try to elude the defender or just run him over?"
Oh yeah, I guess I shouldn't leave the Panthers coaching staff out of my tirade either. If reacting to situations and adjusting a gameplan during the course of a game to hopefully fix what's going wrong is the sign of a good staff, then they suck too. The fact that Jake seemed to come out throwing on first down more times than not against the Cards was a huge "WTF?" in my eyes. If he didn't throw an interception on the play, it was an incomplete and forced them into more passing situations. For the most part, DeAngelo Williams was a forgotten man after the first drive. It baffles me how you let someone like him disappear early in a game like that, especially after demonstrating the type of success he showed early.
I don't know what the Panthers will do this offseason, but I obviously care somewhat because they're the local team here and I can't help but have some level of attachment to them. Not to mention, considering I'm first and foremost a Raiders fan, the Panthers have the only reasonable shot of success of either of the teams I care about until Al Davis dies.