Latest posts by King Hippo (see all)
- Instant Hippo Thoughts – Championship Sunday (2019 Season) – January 20, 2020
- Instant Hippo Thoughts – Divisional Sunday (2019 Season) – January 13, 2020
- Instant Hippo Thoughts – Divisional Saturday (2019 Season) – January 12, 2020
I grew up in Charlotte, and though it’s too antiseptic a locale to really be sentimental about, I certainly did find it pretty cool when my hometown landed an NFL franchise. Even if it cheesily had to be named “Carolina” to appease team owner/Missouri Compromise enthusiast Jerry Richardson – make no mistake, this is Charlotte’s team. It’s been fully embraced by the city, and the uptown (don’t say downtown, bitch, they cut you) stadium is a delightful place to watch a football game amidst a smattering of mostly polite banker assholes and other generic northern/midwestern transplants that give Charlotte its transient, opaque identity. FUN FACT – the stadium is like 3 blocks away from the little shop where I got my tennis racquet restrung when I was a kid. I like to think that Don (last name unknown) made out like a fucking bandit when the stadium site was selected.
But no, I certainly did not abandon my beloved Donks when the Panthers came into being. I watch the Panthers with mild curiosity, and I feel good for the city when they do well…but there’s no love there. When they play Denver, there’s not even the slightest pull of divided loyalty. But they are on my teevee box every week, and in my newspaper (yes, I’m old and still read the paper) every morning, so since nobody else volunteered I know just enough to write this half-assed preview.
It’s really an easy team to describe – really good linebackers and Cam Newton. That’s it.
For all the shit Cam gets from he-who-shall-not-be-named and other miscellaneous dispshits, he’s pretty well loved in Charlotte. Very few people mind that he has a personality, that he likes to drink craft beers and eat at food trucks UPtown. Von Miller hipster school alert! I mean, for fuck’s sake, he’s not Kerry Collins or Jake Delhomme. You have to realize just how fresh those memories are for Charlotteans, and know that only a complete moron would want to play the QB lottery AGAIN. I have been to 5 Panthers games (all losses), and the most fun was a Monday night loss to San Francisco, because I got to be part of the mass full-throated booing of Kerry Collins. We ultimately got our wish, and Steve Beuerlein (who then almost saved my fantasy team) damned near pulled off a miracle comeback.
That’s the gold standard for Panthers QB play, pre-Cam. Steve Fucking Beuerlein.
Lest we forget, Jake Delhomme DID have one Forrest Gump season of wonder, which he followed by a home playoff bedshitting of epic proportions, in primetime no less. Naturally, Marty Hurney (because he’s a fucking moron) decided this would be the ideal time to extend his contract with lots of guaranteed money. This, combined with several other inexplicable decisions and draft day moves, drained the roster of young, cost-controlled talent and put the franchise in salary cap jail.
Which is how you end up with really good LBs, a franchise QB, and 45 or so veteran minimum/practice squad types. The OL is so bad that local media got EXCITED when the team signed Michael Oher to play LT. HAVE THEY SEEN MICHAEL OHER TRY TO PLAY LT??? And it was considered a real loss when Jonathan Martin retired during training camp. Good thing Cam is fast. And large enough to sustain some (more) physical abuse.
The WR corps may be even shittier. Kelvin Benjamin showed up to camp Rapey Jameis-fat, then tore his ACL. Ignoring the holes in the OL, the Panthers traded up to take a 2nd round WR that I hate, Devin Funchess from Meeeeechigan. B1G WRs almost always suck ass. Funchess barely played in the pre-season (hamstring), so I’m sure he will be loads of help. Jerricho Cotchery (Old Testament, NC State, WOO!!!!) is still somehow around. The man is apparently the perfect 4th wideout. Fun fact – he was both a high school and college teammate of King Laserface. He’s really old, and was never fast. Philly Brown is shit. That leaves Ted Ginn, who can only run fly routes, but which Cam does love to throw. So you will see games where Cam has 20 passing yards at halftime, then throws 2 bombs to Ginn out of nowhere to fuck your fantasy team over when you thought the win was in the bag.
Whilst this may seem pessimistic, this hodge-podge is still quite likely enough for 9 or 10 wins and 1st place in the dumpster fire that is the NFC South. Just don’t expect much in terms of playoff advancement. Power to the People!