Injuries Starting to Add Up For 2009 Panthers

By clemsoncannon  |   Tuesday, August 25, 2009  |  Comments( 0 )

Carolina Panthers
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The biggest concern for the Carolina Panthers entering the 2009 season was a lack of depth at several key positions including both offensive and defensive line. Now the injury bug has bitten early and often in this preseason and has shown a light on some glaring deficiencies in this Panthers team that may lead to their downfall in 2009 unless some of the youngsters on the team mature quickly and fill the gaping voids that are already starting to show.

DT Maake Kemoeatu was lost for the season on the first day of training camp to a torn achilles tendon suffered during noncontact drills. His absence has been felt in both of their preseason losses so far. The Giants and Dolphins both seemingly ran at will against a Panthers defensive line missing their best run stuffer. 2nd year pro Nick Hayden and rookie Marlon Favorite have split time with the starting unit and neither has been effective. The Panthers may have to explore the free agent market or a trade to find a veteran DT to fill this void or opposing running backs will have one field day after another against this squad.

LB Jon Beason suffered a sprained MCL in the game against the Dolphins Saturday night and will reportedly be out for 2-6 weeks. If I was a betting man I would guess his absence will be closer to the 6 than the 2. This is a terrible blow to this defensive unit. Beason was the leading tackler on the team last year and has already become a leader of the defensive unit. Taking his place will be 2nd year pro Dan Connor. Connor is a capable back-up and excellent special teams player. But this is a significant drop in talent from Beason and he has not yet shown the leadership capabilities that Beason has.

More bad news for the defensive unit is the loss of starting free safety Charles Godfrey to a broken hand suffered in the loss to the Dolphins. Godfrey underwent surgery on Monday and the team has not said how long they expect him to be out. His back-up, Nate Salley, is also nursing an injured knee. On Monday the team waived wide receiver Jason Carter so they could sign veteran safety Kevin Kaesviharn to the squad. Godfrey may be able to play with a cast on his hand, but the team has yet to make that determination.

Overall the Panthers defense has taken a beating in this preseason and they have had few answers for the problems that this has created. The Panther offense has never been high scoring and they are not built to get into shooting matches with opposing teams and try to outscore them in high scoring affairs. They have always relied on a stout defense to help keep their games relatively low scoring. All indications are this will not be the case going into the 2009 season.
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