As ESPN and many others have reported, Thomas Davis has hurt the same knee that he injured last season. This is about as bad of timing as you can possibly have.
Sure, the Panthers will have the opportunity to find guys who can fill into his position, but for a team that lost Julius Peppers to free agency the Panthers were leaning on him to provide some impact in the Front 7; I guess that will not happen now and I don’t think he’ll be apart of the next Panthers roster. Let’s just say that tender he signed is his injury settlement. The question is: Where do the Panthers go from here? I hope I can be a little more clearer in a very murky situation.
Obviously, the Panthers need to find someone to fill in his shoes. The good thing for the Panthers is that they have someone on the roster who is fully capable of filling into the position: James Anderson. The home state boy from Roanoke Rapids will be going into his 5th season as a member of the Carolina Panthers. He filled in for Davis when he injured his knee and finished with a career high 65 tackles. I think he’s the front runner to take over Davis’ position. The Panthers were very reliant on a healthy Davis, so that they could plug Anderson over at the other Outside Linebacker position; Doesn’t look like that will happen now.
What is Thomas Davis’ future with the Carolina Panthers? With two consecutive knee injuries to the same knee, I don’t think there’s any future with the Panthers. I feel that the Panthers signed him to the tender because they wanted to see how Davis could recover from his injured knee before they signed him to an extension; Looks like that knee didn’t hold up that well. The decision is easy for the Panthers as they, regretfully, move on without Thomas Davis being apart of their long term future.
How does this impact the Panthers this season? Last season, Peppers, Davis, and Beason were the impact players on the front 7. This season, the Panthers will not have 2 of those 3 players. This really impacts the effectiveness of the defense. The thing Peppers brought, besides his once in awhile superior performance, is a formidable presence. Even if he didn’t have a sack in a game, he was still feared by many offenses and it opened things up for other guys to make an impact. Davis brought his stellar pass rushing ability from the linebacker position and amazing athleticism to the table each day to provide the Panthers with another defensive threat. Without 2 of the 3 big threats, teams will not be focused on certain players and it will be very tough for the Panthers to develop an overall effective defense.
With the season looking grim already it took a turn for the worst when Davis injured his knee, again. Sadly, injuries are apart of sports and they can come at a snap of the finger to anyone; Tom Brady is fully aware of that. The Panthers have to move forward with what they have on the roster. Hopefully, the guys they have on the roster can fill in for the big loss. We got to hope that someone is capable of bringing something similar to the table as Davis brought.