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Only three Panthers remain from Super Bowl team

Things have changed in Carolina. Dramatically.

Though the same head coach that took the team to Super Bowl XXXVIII, which they nearly won, only three players remain from seven years ago: receiver Steve Smith, tackle Jordan Gross, and kicker John Kasay.

So, basically, only two players remain.

Smith welcomes the transition, especially since it hasn’t included him. Yet.

That’s a good thing,” Smith told Skip Wood of USA Today. “I’m not trying to take away from anybody who was here in the past, [but] I’m also not trying to take anything away from anybody coming in. I’m really just looking at it like, ‘Hey, it’s a clean slate for everybody, for myself . . . for Matt Moore, for everybody.’ It’s just a different dynamic.

“We might not have a lot of recognizable names, but when Jake [Delhomme] came here, he wasn’t recognized, either. . . . So just because you don’t have a lot of ‘name’ guys, that’s not necessarily a negative. I think it’s a positive. You can reach for the stars; you don’t have last year’s disappointments stuck to you.”

The other positive? Expectations are low, because no one expects much from a team with a depleted defense and a passing game that may or may not have any punch and a coach who may soon be out the door.