Saturday, August 11, 2007
Nacho: Welcome back, boys. Christmas in August.
Brethren's firsthand report from the Carolina Panthers pre-season opener, desde
Brethren: Indeedly, I made the trek out to East Rutherford, NJ, to be a spectator of the glory that is the game of football. The fact that the Panthers were playing doubled my pleasure and doubled my fun.
After a few unfortunate traffic mishaps, Big Mike Owens and I arrived at the stadium and our end zone lower level seats. My thoughts:
- David Carr will easily be the most popular player in Charlotte this year. Even if Jake puts together a season like 2003 or even 2005 and plays good football on top of being the Defender of Biscuits, stupid football fans will clamour for the athletic and strong-armed Carr. Charlotteans, bless their hearts, always love a good backup QB (soooo many people used to write in to the Observer, begging for Chris Weinke (!!!!!) to play, it's not even funny). Now that we have a solid backup with a bit of a pedigree, they'll be licking at the chops the minute Jake fires off his first emotional interception.
- That said, David Carr looked good. Dude has a cannon. Happiest moment of the night: overhearing drunk generic meathead Giants fan dudes talking about how the Panthers always seem to make good personnel moves and using Carr as evidence A.
- Except for those white gloves he wears. A little, um, feminine. Adorable, as Nacho would say.
- We sat in $80 seats for free. Yay, friends with connections. The beers, however, were $7.25 a pop. Yay, beer.
- We got good long looks at the rookie linebackers. I, of course, only was really watching out for first rounder Jon Beason. I didn't really follow his career at the U, but I was quite impressed and excited to find out he wore the #2 in college. Linebackers with single digits seem way more badass than they probably are. That said, as a Panther and donning #52, he looked decent. He supposedly plays faster than he can run a 40, and he's a strong leader. That said, Big Mike, a Penn State grad, was pointing out every time MLB Tim Shaw, a 'backer from Linebacker U, made a play. Shaw used to bang one of Mike's friends, so he was even more excited to watch the man succeed in a Panthers preseason game. We are both hoping said friend will introduce us to Shaw, so we can start hanging out with Panthers players whilst in Charlotte and canoodle our way into the organization.
- Steve Smith is a badass. Mike and I were recalling how in a Budweiser Hot Seat interview (ugh, WWL), someone asked Smith what his greatest strength was, and he said, "my height." Apparently, even though DBs know he's one of the best athletes in the NFL, when the time comes and ball goes up for grabs, people revert to making basic assumptions about their opponent, and people assume they can outjump Smith. This is never the case. Smith's best route might be the fade; awesome because the dude is 5'9. Steve Smith is a badass.
- There are some hot chicks in section 101 at Giants Stadium. Well played, Giants Stadium.
- Taye Biddle and Ryne Robinson look like they could be fun. I am kinda hoping the Panthers become known as the team with small, speedy receivers. Biddle and Robinson remind me of young Steve Smiths; if one of them actually becomes even 73% of the actual Steve Smith, they'll be worthy investments.
- Even though the man himself did not play, there was a Dwayne Jarrett jersey sighting in my section. Made both Mike and I very happy, as we cannot wait until our friend, JLew (Jarrett Lewis) buys Dwayne's jersey, so he can have one of those personalized-yet-still-authentic Panthers jersey. We need a hard-hitting safety who wears the number #20 named Antoine Mickey to be make the roster. You hear that, Fox and Hurney. Find him; give him a jersey.
- We won. The Panthers are one of the finest exhibition teams out there. We have conquered 16 of our last 18 exhibition foes. Astonishing, considering the Super Bowl-winning Colts went 0-fer last year in the preseason. Go us! Winners of games that don't count!
- I don't necessarily know how to express this without sounding like a girl, but...we saw football! Being played! It's August! Yaaay! FOOTBALL!!!!!!
- Based on my viewing of a few preseason quarters, I can nearly gaurantee the Panthers will win the Super Bowl. The team is that good.