“The energy is back.”

Michael Smith, like so many other football pundits, has fallen hard for the Carolina Panthers

Carolina is all about playing a certain style of football. Defense and special teams setting up the offense. Running to set up the pass. Making big plays through the air here and there.

But the Panthers got away from their winning formula during their early-season struggles, when they were without so many of their key players from last season, including Stephen Davis, DeShaun Foster, Kris Jenkins, and Steve Smith. To compensate for the losses in the backfield they tried to put the offense on Delhomme and the passing game. On defense, they had Julius Peppers playing inside, where he is less effective, at the “5” technique (end) in the 3-4.

Look at it this way: The Temptations don’t rap. They may replace group members, but they’re still The Temptations, and they’re still going to sing R&B.; And they’ve stuck around. The Panthers figured out that they had to get back to being the Panthers if they were going to be around in the end.

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