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Found 175 results

  1. It's the NFL offseason; the long, daunting time where there's nothing but infomercials on Sundays. It's also a time where conversations concerning free agency and the draft are high, in which every fan hopes their team nails just the right players to get them to the big game. Free Agency is the first major phase of the off-season, in which players who have expired contracts on their current teams hit what's known as the "open market" in which teams "bid out" contracts for the player to play for their team. It's a very interesting and fun time for the most die-hard of football fans. Since I believe it'll be a major hassle to see many separate threads on free agents, I decided I would help things out and create a main "big thread" concerning free agents. In this thread, I believe it would be best to post any tweets, news, ideas, or anything concerning free agents; whether it be players signing contracts, contract negotiations, teams who are bidding for a particular player, or anything really about any free agent. Post all the news about Free Agents here. Hopefully a mod or Igo sees this (nudge nudge @Jeremy Igo) and decides to pin this key thread, as I believe it'd be helpful for most Huddlers to have a bunched up topic to see news on free agency like last year. Free Agency Dates: February 15: First day for teams to designate franchise or transition players March 1: Prior to 4:00 p.m. ET: Deadline for clubs to designate franchise or transition players March 7-9: Teams are permitted to contact and enter into negotiations with unrestricted free agents. However, a contract cannot be executed until 4:00 p.m. ET on March 9. March 9: New league year begins at 4:00 ET - Free Agency begins with old contracts expiring. To see more offseason dates, please refer to this thread: Some things I'll note about this particular Free Agency class: Stacked at Safety: Pending completion of Franchise Tags and such, this is arguably a pretty deep safety class. While Eric Berry dominates the headlines, guys like Cyprien, Jefferson, Demps, Church, and even Adams (Mike Adams) and Addae could make an impact. Very good year to be looking for a safety - especially Strong Safety - in this year's market. Guys that could make an impact littered everywhere. No excuse to NOT come out with something from here. No Pass Rushers: With guys like JPP, Melvin Ingram, Chandler Jones, and Kawann Short getting franchise tagged, it's a pretty bad year if your team is in need of a pass rusher. Expect many mediocre / 1 year wonder guys to get overpaid, and don't expect old pass rushers to be ruled out of that possibility either. Weak OT Class: Seems like this is almost always the case, where franchise tackles are locked up for a while or traded when necessary. Now, that's not to say there isn't people that could be found/traded for, but FA shows there's not much hope for those needing a franchise OT. Appears the draft is the only area where teams can even hope to get a good OT nowadays, and even this draft class is extremely weak. WR Class Solid; Not Spectacular: It's an okay year to be looking for a wide receiver. A good bit of slot guys on the market with upside, and some good players that'll probably be overpaid. While Jeffrey and Jackson likely longshots for us, there's still a good bit of reliable receivers that we could look into. With Kelvin Benjamin finishing the year strong after disappointing throughout most of the season due to swelling and overwork and Damiere Byrd improving every year, we likely just need to find a reliable slot receiver. Panthers already had talks with Victtor Cruz with both sides agreeing the meeting went well, so we're definitely looking into that category. Free Agency Resources: https://www.profootballfocus.com/pro-2017-free-agency-tracker/ - Good tracker for those of you wanting a bit of a more football-skill oriented view of free agents on the market. Gives out PFF Analysis grades per each free agent and updates player's FA status. http://www.nfl.com/freeagency - NFL's official free agency news tracker. Go here for extra information concerning the signing of free agents and such. http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/free-agents/ - For contract oriented deals and such - along with cap info - this is a pretty good resource for that kind of information. Twitter Accounts To Follow: @AdamSchefter and @RapSheet are two good accounts to get the latest info on anything football-related. So, let free agency begin!
  2. Keep Pounding: Throughout life there are many challenges that comes forward, in order to be great one must keep a postive attitude backed up by disciplined work ethic. Good interview on First Take talking to Patiriots owner Robert Kraft about ways to achieve consistent success like the Patriots. Interview is around 8:30 time marker.
  3. For those of you who spent great money and time planning and getting to the Superbowl, you may just want to reevaluate your life. These teens got in the Superbowl for free. They didn't have any tickets on them or ID. They weren't even dressed fancy. They just had themselves, some cameras, and a ladder. So the next time you want to sneak in the Superbowl for free, bring a ladder.
  4. The Panthers came back from a disappointing 7 sack performance over a 7 week span to be 2nd in the league in sacks. It was a feat many praised, and solidified the belief our front may actually not be a problem this offseason. Well, this article segment debunks that theory: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000781911/article/denver-broncos-lead-list-of-top10-pass-rushing-teams?campaign=tw-nf-sf54055029-sf54055029&utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=referral This came as a relative shock to me. I was in the belief that our D-line rotation change was the primary factor in our improved performance, rather than considering blitz'. However, this statistic shows we're having a relatively large amount of help with the blitz calls McDermott came up with. This might be a factor as to why he was so easily considered for a HC job. He made our defense look better than it is. Sure, arguably injuries and such derailed our units full potential, with Kuechly, Addison, and CJ missing time throughout the season, but it still is an area of concern. I believe we have been a product of a combination of a good front and blitz', but can be upgraded. This is arguably a reason Gettleman is looking into DEs this offseason. We just need an upgrade at that position. What do you think? Do you agree with the snippet? EDIT: To add to the fire, they have the Falcons ahead of us. I'm questioning the legitimacy of the claims.
  5. So, I was looking through some of my papers, and I happened to find this by pure luck: Yep. It's my Panthers pamphlet from the Buccaneer game of the 2015 season, arguably the most beautiful game I've ever been a part of. Seriously, if you haven't been to that game, you missed out. I mean the atmosphere was amazing. From the pure domination, the MVP chants, the unity of a franchise excited for a playoff run, it was euphoric. Also, in that pamphlet, I noticed something: We has 6 offensive players in the probowl. All 6 are still on the team and likely to make an impact (well, besides Tolbert; low expectations for him.) Not to mention Norwell really showing up as an underrated guard, and Daryl Williams looking like he'll hit form. And the fact Kelvin Benjamin will most likely be motivated to forget this season and improve. It really does amaze me how great we were. We had an NFL leading 10 players in the pro bowl in 2015, and we only lost 1 of them; that guy didn't make the probowl this year due to his team circumstances. Just imagine adding a 2nd TE and a 2nd RB plus a reliable slot receiver would do for this offense. Lastly, I saw this: We all give Graham Gano flack for sucking this year, but in 2015 he was killing it. He was pretty clutch back then in 2015, and he just had a terrible year this year. Whether it's injury or the kicking plague that hit every kicker this year from the looks of things, he just was off. Nevertheless, he showed in 2015 why he deserved his big contract. Sure, it didn't pay off in 2016, but he still has potential to be really good. Don't count him out just yet. ____________ Sure, things look dicey this year, but just take a look back at 2015. When you realize we still have our impact players on the team, understand we're not far off from another superbowl appearance. Good times are coming.
  6. Keyarris Garrett didn't have to choose Carolina, but he did. The main reason why he landed in Carolina? Well, he can tell you that... Ricky Proehl was the main reason Garrett chose Carolina over a dozen other teams. While places like Atlanta are producing "recruitment videos" and other gimmicks, the Panthers are staying true to what actually works. Namely, excellent coaches who take the time and connect with the players. Coaches with a proven track record of developing young talent. Imagine being a rookie wide receiver and in your first practice having a coach that can not only tell you how to run a route, but also run it himself better than anyone else on the field. Instant. Respect. Garrett was wise in choosing Proehl and the Panthers. Afterall, coach Proehl has.... Turned Kelvin Benjamin, who some said was a project, into a thousand yard receiver in his rookie year. Took Devin Funchess, as inexperienced a rookie wide out can be, and molded him into a real threat and one of the better Panthers receivers late in the season. Made Philly Brown, and undrafted rookie, a contributor on offense almost immediately. Clearly, coach Proehl knows how to develop young talent. This year he has the NCAA's leading receiver Keyarris Garrett to work with. Just imagine.
  7. Keyarris Garrett didn't have to choose Carolina, but he did. The main reason why he landed in Carolina? Well, he can tell you that... Ricky Proehl was the main reason Garrett chose Carolina over a dozen other teams. While places like Atlanta are producing "recruitment videos" and other gimmicks, the Panthers are staying true to what actually works. Namely, excellent coaches who take the time and connect with the players. Coaches with a proven track record of developing young talent. Imagine being a rookie wide receiver and in your first practice having a coach that can not only tell you how to run a route, but also run it himself better than anyone else on the field. Instant. Respect. Garrett was wise in choosing Proehl and the Panthers. Afterall, coach Proehl has.... Turned Kelvin Benjamin, who some said was a project, into a thousand yard receiver in his rookie year. Took Devin Funchess, as inexperienced a rookie wide out can be, and molded him into a real threat and one of the better Panthers receivers late in the season. Made Philly Brown, and undrafted rookie, a contributor on offense almost immediately. Clearly, coach Proehl knows how to develop young talent. This year he has the NCAA's leading receiver Keyarris Garrett to work with. Just imagine. View full article
  8. Now that the dust has settled on round one, the Carolina Panthers have unfinished business to get down to in round two. I told you no uncertain terms who would be the pick in round one. Things become a little more murky in round two. Nevertheless, here is what I think will happen. 1. Panthers will try to trade up Like last year, there are still a few players on the board that the Panthers really like. Hunter Henry, Derek Henry, Emmanuel Ogbah to name a few. This would likely require a trade up into the top 10 of the second round. I am not so sure Gettleman is willing to give up enough to move that far. One possibility, however, is banking on that probable third round compensatory pick for next season and trading the existing 2017 third round pick away along with this year's. The Carolina Panthers could more easily move up to the teens. This would put them in position to draft someone they may not have a first round grade on, but someone who could impact the team immediately. 2. Panthers mid-second round targets In the second round today, aside from the players listed above, the targets could be... - Sterling Shepard - WR - Shepard would round out the Panthers WR corps perfectly and the Panthers do like him quite a bit. - Kendall Fuller - CB - Despite a minor injury last year, Fuller still high on the list of wants. This would certainly make fans who are still worried about the loss of Josh Norman happy. 3. If the Panthers cannot move up If the Panthers are unable to move up and must pick at 30, I like... - Su'a Cravens - SS - Would immediately compete for playing time with the departure of Roman Harper. Some project as a small outside LB, the Panthers could treat him like they did Thomas Davis initially and put him at strong safety. - Von Bell - FS - The Panthers really don't need another FS, but they like Bell enough to take him anyways. - Devontae Booker - RB - Good mix of size and ability. A well rounded running back that could take a roster spot from Whitaker, Artis-Payne, and/or Wegher.
  9. Now that the dust has settled on round one, the Carolina Panthers have unfinished business to get down to in round two. I told you no uncertain terms who would be the pick in round one. Things become a little more murky in round two. Nevertheless, here is what I think will happen. 1. Panthers will try to trade up Like last year, there are still a few players on the board that the Panthers really like. Hunter Henry, Derek Henry, Emmanuel Ogbah to name a few. This would likely require a trade up into the top 10 of the second round. I am not so sure Gettleman is willing to give up enough to move that far. One possibility, however, is banking on that probable third round compensatory pick for next season and trading the existing 2017 third round pick away along with this year's. The Carolina Panthers could more easily move up to the teens. This would put them in position to draft someone they may not have a first round grade on, but someone who could impact the team immediately. 2. Panthers mid-second round targets In the second round today, aside from the players listed above, the targets could be... - Sterling Shepard - WR - Shepard would round out the Panthers WR corps perfectly and the Panthers do like him quite a bit. - Kendall Fuller - CB - Despite a minor injury last year, Fuller still high on the list of wants. This would certainly make fans who are still worried about the loss of Josh Norman happy. 3. If the Panthers cannot move up If the Panthers are unable to move up and must pick at 30, I like... - Su'a Cravens - SS - Would immediately compete for playing time with the departure of Roman Harper. Some project as a small outside LB, the Panthers could treat him like they did Thomas Davis initially and put him at strong safety. - Von Bell - FS - The Panthers really don't need another FS, but they like Bell enough to take him anyways. - Devontae Booker - RB - Good mix of size and ability. A well rounded running back that could take a roster spot from Whitaker, Artis-Payne, and/or Wegher. View full article
  10. After Sunday's victory over the Green Bay Packers, Kawann Short was asked by the media if this Carolina Panthers 8-0 start was a surprise. "This is what we expected from day one" Short replied with an unwavering confidence. Short's emergence as a premier under tackle, and even occasional defensive end, is a huge reason why the Panthers are currently undefeated. For example, it was Short's pressure from the defensive end position that forced an intentional grounding call against the Houston Texans earlier this year. Without that penalty, the Panthers could easily have one loss. Kawann's latest game winning play was a pressure up the middle on Aaron Rodgers, who was forced to hurry throw the ball. That pass ended up in the hands of Thomas Davis. Without Short, that interception would not have happened. A Panthers victory would have remained in doubt. Short's play resembles that of Warren Sapp. Relentlessly aggressive with a quickness that no man his size should possess. Short has 6 sacks this season, tied with Cincinnati's All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins. Together, hey lead all defensive tackles in sacks.... and most defensive ends. Thats right, big named DE's and OLB's like Bruce Irvin and Julius Peppers have fewer sacks than Kawann Short. Short has 3 more tackles, and 5 more assisted tackles than Atkins currently. I would say that is at least a Pro Bowl performance in the first half of this season, if not All Pro. Will we continue to see Short dominate the line of scrimmage and contribute to an undefeated record? Could be. Short does not plan on sitting on his laurels anytime soon. "We still have to stay humble, disciplined, and come out ready to work."
  11. After Sunday's victory over the Green Bay Packers, Kawann Short was asked by the media if this Carolina Panthers 8-0 start was a surprise. "This is what we expected from day one" Short replied with an unwavering confidence. Short's emergence as a premier under tackle, and even occasional defensive end, is a huge reason why the Panthers are currently undefeated. For example, it was Short's pressure from the defensive end position that forced an intentional grounding call against the Houston Texans earlier this year. Without that penalty, the Panthers could easily have one loss. Kawann's latest game winning play was a pressure up the middle on Aaron Rodgers, who was forced to hurry throw the ball. That pass ended up in the hands of Thomas Davis. Without Short, that interception would not have happened. A Panthers victory would have remained in doubt. Short's play resembles that of Warren Sapp. Relentlessly aggressive with a quickness that no man his size should possess. Short has 6 sacks this season, tied with Cincinnati's All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins. Together, hey lead all defensive tackles in sacks.... and most defensive ends. Thats right, big named DE's and OLB's like Bruce Irvin and Julius Peppers have fewer sacks than Kawann Short. Short has 3 more tackles, and 5 more assisted tackles than Atkins currently. I would say that is at least a Pro Bowl performance in the first half of this season, if not All Pro. Will we continue to see Short dominate the line of scrimmage and contribute to an undefeated record? Could be. Short does not plan on sitting on his laurels anytime soon. "We still have to stay humble, disciplined, and come out ready to work." View full article
  12. About a month ago I posted an analysis focused on analyzing a favorite Huddle "meme" that Ron loves veterans over rookies and doesn't give rookies on the team enough playing time: Does Ron Love Vets more than Rookies? I reviewed all 20 years of roster data for the team and showed that under Ron Rivera, on average, rookies have played a much more significant role on the team than under any of Carolina's three previous head coaches. Below are two of the key tables / charts from the earlier analysis: However, that initial research only whetted my appetite for further examination. Two further questions begged for research: 1) Clearly Ron has played and started a significant percentage of rookies in his four years as head coach, but how does that compare with other teams around the league?2) Is starting a lot of rookies correlated in any way positively or negatively to a team's winning %? So much of the "Ron loves vets meme" here at the Huddle is a negative reaction, derived from last season when we started playing some of our rookies after our horrid 2 month losing streak and started winning. So, that's created a tendency to think "the new exciting rookies will help us win more than some of these old slow guys." Well... not so fast. My initial analysis revealed the possibility that starting a high percentage of rookies may actually be detrimental to a team's success. Most of Carolina's winning seasons came when the experience level of the team was higher, and thus the percentage of rookie starters was lower. (This makes sense if you think about it, as a high rookie starting % is often linked to teams that are rebuilding or in "cap hell" - something we know quite a bit about in Carolina since 2010.) Does that correlation hold true around the league on other teams?It seemed worth digging more deeply into these questions. So, over the past few weeks when I've had some spare time, I've slowly pulled together the research on all 32 teams in the NFL from 2014, looking at the number and % of rookies on their roster and the starting % of rookies on each team, and then comparing that to the win numbers of each team last year. It's interesting stuff. Here's some of what I've found on preliminary analysis. Here first is all the data - a list of all 32 teams and details about their 2014 rosters and rookie starting %. The table is in descending order of rookie starting %: (Take all the rookies on the roster, add up their combined starts in the season, and divide by 352 total starts for the entire team). As you can see, Carolina is tied for the 4th highest % of rookies starting last year along with St. Louis, at 14.5% One thing I find quite interesting is that of the teams starting the highest % of rookies, we had the lowest % of rookies on our roster. For some teams like JAX, it's not surprising they have such a high % of rookies starting last year. 26% of their roster last year was rookies. For us, however, we only had 11 rookies for 17% of the roster, so we played a higher % of rookies than many teams relative to the number of rookies on our roster. So, I think we CAN say that Ron not only started rookies more than other CAR coaches in the past, but at a much higher % than almost all the other teams in the league last year. (I've not yet done research for 2011 - 2013, and not sure if I'll be able to find time for that.) Notice in the table above that all teams with 10 or more wins last year are highlighted in Yellow. Only TWO of the winningest teams - Green Bay and Cincinnati - had a higher than average rookie starting %. The average for all teams was 9%. Green Bay & CIN are above that, but the other 10 teams with the most wins are generally much below the average. You can see that clearly in the table below, with the teams grouped by wins: As is immediately obvious, the teams with the most wins had, on average, a MUCH lower rookie starting % than the other teams. There's quite a lot of other intriguing stats to look at in that table above. 1) Experience. Basically no difference in the experience level of the entire roster between the teams with the most wins or the fewest wins. Perhaps there might be a difference however in experience of the STARTERS. I did not look at that. 2) Roster size: Interesting how roster size decreases as wins increase. I'm guessing this speaks to fewer injuries, and greater team stability (good play = less need for roster shuffling). But in any case, I think roster continuity is probably an important ingredient in most winning seasons. I might try to look at this more. It's hard to know whether roster continuity and a small roster size is a CAUSE of winning seasons, or an EFFECT of winning seasons. (Less need to tinker with success). 3) Rookies as % of roster, and getting game play: there's basically little difference in the number and % of rookies on the roster between the winning teams and the losing teams. In fact, even on some of the BEST teams, there's quite a high % of rookies getting game time. Green Bay, Indy, Philly, Denver, all had rookies get a lot of game play and experience, with their rookies averaging higher numbers of games played per rookie than Carolina. However, the all had a considerably lower (in some cases drastically lower) Rookie Starting %. It seems, at least based on 2014 data, that many good teams may find some kind of balance between keeping a continual infusion of fresh blood, and ensuring rookies get game experience, but not necessarily relying on them to start. Starting a high % of rookies may smack of: Desperation: "Nothing's working - there's nothing to lose by starting rookies." (or desperation caused by many injuries... there's no one else to start except these rookies on our Practice Squad...) A rebuilding phase: "We know we're not likely to contend this year. Let's focus on building for the future with all these shiny new rookies."Cap problems - need cheap labor...I was interested to read comments recently by Dave Gettleman about the team's experience during the playoffs in 2013. Hardly any player on the Carolina roster had ever been in a playoff game, and it showed in the high number of penalties and poor play on some crucial points. The team has since made a point to bring in a few more vets who have experience in the post-season. It's interesting to note that the pattern holds true of a much lower Rookie Starting % in Carolina's winning seasons: Also, look at the much lower Rookie Starting % in 2013 - quite a difference from Ron's other seasons. It's very intriguing. Finally, here's a chart showing the number of wins (the red line) and the rookie starting % (the blue bar) for each of the 32 NFL teams in 2014. It's ordered by most wins to least wins (and in alphabetical order among teams with the same number of wins). I apologize that this version of the graph doesn't have a trend line. Obviously, there are some ups and downs and there is not perfect correlation. But when you graph the trend line, there is a very clear trend. Higher wins = Lower Rookie Starting %. So, please forgive me if I don't get too upset if our 2015 Rookies don't immediately get lots of starts. I DO hope they get some good seasoning and good game playing time, but I think we'll be a better team if we give them time to learn the game gradually under some of our excellent vets. In any case, I may try to do further research - looking at rookie starting levels for Superbowl winners the past 10 - 20 years, or looking at some teams who are perennial contenders over time. Does their rookie starting % stay fairly constant or are there big swings? Also, perhaps during our bye week after 4 games, I'll calculate our current 2015 rookie starting % and see how we compare to the 2014 NFL, and to past Panther history, and see whether the level predicts a winning season or a losing season! Stay tuned.
  13. And now for something completely different... The Panther - Hannibal Hannibal is a powerful name in history. According to Wikipedia (the end all be all of any tavern dispute) "Hannibal (247 – 183 x 181 BC), fully Hannibal Barca, was a Punic Carthaginian military commander, generally considered one of the greatest military commanders in history...Often regarded as one of the greatest military strategists in history, Hannibal would later be considered one of the greatest generals of antiquity" It would be easy to reference a great military commander to the Carolina Panthers. In fact, I'm sure the future legacy of Luke Kuechly will end up very similar to that of Hannibal. "Hannibal caused great distress to many in Roman society. It has been saidthat for generations, Roman housekeepers would tell their children brutal tales of Hannibal when they misbehaved. In fact, Hannibal became such a figure of terror that whenever disaster struck, the Roman Senators would exclaim "Hannibal ante portas" ("Hannibal is at the gates!") to express their fear or anxiety. This famous Latin phrase became a common expression that is often still used when a client arrives through the door or when one is faced with calamity.[58]" However, I'm not talking about Hannibal the great general from history. I've been watching the TV show Hannibal (http://www.nbc.com/hannibal)and have really developed a taste for it. The show follows the adventures of a master surgeon, psychiatrist and all together renowned chef. Now you may be thinking "Hey man...hold on just a second! Isn't Hannibal Lecter a fuging cannibal? That's just so wrong!" Yes. You're right. But before you cannot stomach to go further let's look at some historical examples of the concept of eating your enemies. Some research shows that, "In the early modern period, various European observers documented rituals surrounding hostile cannibalism. Such behaviour was motivated by deeply embedded notions of Us and Them. The French traveller André Thevet made this abundantly clear in his account of the Brazilian Tupinamba (1567)." They have been always their mortal enemies ... they say we have eaten your parents, also we will eat you, with many other threatenings ... The greatest vengeance that these wild men use, and that seemeth to them most cruel, is to eat their enemies. So eating your enemy was a sign of how much you hated and despised your enemy. To the point of ultimate disrespect. Further reading reveals this interesting aspect: "Daniel Korn, Mark Radice and Charlie Hawes (2001) point out that Europeans who encountered Fiji island cannibalism in the early nineteenth century found an essentially religious motivation for the consumption of an enemy – it was believed that the spirit of a dead person remained with the body for four days, and that if you ate the corpse before this time elapsed, you ‘prevented it from ascending to the spirit world and becoming a source of power and guidance to your enemies’." So basically, eating your enemies prevented their spirits from aiding your other enemies and basically sent a message a la Tony Soprano about what kind of person they were dealing with...exactly. And just a little more research uncovers these gems: "There are beliefs such as eating your foe will give you his strength or courage. In fact, the word originally meant "strong man" and was used by tribes that believed this. There is a statue in Tarabuco, Bolivia commemorating a victory of the native Quechua people over their Spanish conquerors. The statue shows a Quechua with an Axe Crazy face standing over his defeated Spanish foe. The Spaniard has a gaping hole in his chest and the Quechua is eating his heart. Keep in mind this is a statue...fully painted...in the town square...and was built by the Quechua...recently...as in the past 10 years." So clearly the act of eating your enemy (at least to some) is a powerful act that has many facets to its rationale and even it's desired effect. I can't say for sure why Hannibal eats his victims (I'm still on Season 1) but I can say this with certainty...he sure does make the dishes look amazingly good. So having said all this, let's look at some of his recipes (thanks to this wonderful reference) had he been a Panther (I'm thinking probably Head Coach but who knows) shall we? Roast Buccaneer stuffed with Spinach and Mushrooms serves four 4 10-oz bags of spinach, washed and trimmed ½ cup butter 1 ½ lb mushrooms, sliced ¼ inch ¾ tsp crushed garlic 1 ½ tsp salt 1 tsp ground pepper 1 ¼ cups dry breadcrumbs 1 2-lb Buccaneer strip loin 2 oz thinly sliced pork fat 1. Place a half bag of spinach in a plastic zipper bag. Zip partially closed, leaving opening for steam to escape. Microwave for 1 minute. Remove to a strainer to drain. Place drained spinach in cheeesecloth and squeeze dry. Set aside. Repeat with remaining spinach. 2. In a sauté pan over highheat, melt 2 – 3 Tbsp butter and add about 1 cup of the mushrooms. Cook until moisture is released from mushrooms and re-absorbed. Season to taste with garlic, salt and pepper. Remove from pan and repeat with remaining mushrooms. 3. Preheat oven to 400°. 3. In a food processor, combine half of the spinach, mushrooms and breadcrumbs. Pulse until finely chopped and combined. Remove and repeat with remaining. 4. With a sharp slicing or boning knife, slice a pocket in the Buccaneer loin to within ½ inch of the sides. Season inside of this pocket with salt and pepper and stuff with spinach/mushroom mixture. Transfer to a roasting pan and place slices of pork fat on top. 5. Roast for 20 minutes or until Buccaneer is medium-rare. Rest for 15 min before slicing. Serve with Cumberland Sauce. Cumberland Sauce 1 cup frozen raspberries, thawed and pressed through a sieve to remove seeds 1 orange Juice and zest 2/3 cup port 1 Tbp red currant jelly pinch cayenne Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Lower heat to simmer until reduced by a third. Sounds great doesn't it? Next comes something for our enemies from the French Quarter... Saint Lung and Loin Bourguignonne Serves 4 Wine sauce:¼ lb thick cut bacon , cut in ¼-inch strips 4 Tbsp butter 4 shallots, minced 2 cup red wine 2 cups Saint stock 1/4 cup flour to taste salt, pepper Lung and Loin4 Tbsp olive oil 1 lb Saints lungs, trimmed of tracheal tubes and cut in 1-inch cubes 1 lb Saints tenderloin, trimmed and cut in 1-inch pieces 2 cup Portobello mushrooms, trimmed and cut in ½-inch slices 12 baby red onions, peeled and par-boiled 1 cup baby carrots, par-boiled 1. In a large deep frying pan, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add bacon and fry until lightly browned and fat has been released. Add shallots and sauté til soft. 2. Add flour and stir to make a roux. Cook until lightly browned. 3. Stir in wine and stock, whisking to smooth out any lumps of roux and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened. Set aside. 4. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tsp olive oil. Season Saints tenderloin with salt and pepper, add to pan and sauté til medium rare. Remove from pan. Wipe pan dry with paper towel and return to heat with 2 tsp olive oil. Add lung and brown, stirring constantly til browned but not releasing too much liquid. Remove from pan. Wipe pan dry and return to heat. Add 2 tsp olive oil and half of the mushrooms. Saute til mushrooms begin to release moisture. Remove from pan and repeat with remaining mushrooms. 5. Return wine sauce to heat and bring to boil. Add pearl onions and carrots and simmer til tender. Add lungs, Saints loin and mushrooms and simmer just til heated through but Saints loin still medium-rare. 6. Serve with herbed rice or buttery mashed potatoes. Simply divine. Finally let's finish with something for our fine feathered friends: Tandoori Falcon Liver A spicy twist on an old favorite, Falcon Liver and Bacon, this dish is sensational served with saffron rice and a cooling dollop of sour cream or yoghurt. Tandoori spice mix can substitute for smoked paprika. Serves 4 1 lb sliced Falcon liver, soaked in milk for 4 hours in the fridge 2 Tbsp smoked paprika or tandoori spice mix 3 Tbsp sour-milk kibe, ghee or cultured butter 1 Tbsp finely chopped shallots to taste salt 2 oz braised pork belly, in 1/8-inch thick slices 3 Tbsp orange marmalade jelly 2 Tbsp lemon juice 1. In a small bowl, combine marmalade and lemon juice. Set aside. Heat sauté pan over medium-high heat and brown pork belly slices on both sides. Add marmalade mixture to pan and toss to coat evenly. Heat until marmalade starts to bubble and reduce. Set aside in warm oven. 2. Drain liver and dredge in smoked paprika, coating both sides heavily. Heat sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp of the butter. When butter is bubbling, add liver slices to the pan and fry for 1 minute, turn and fry other side for an additional 2 minutes, or until meat is medium-rare. Remove from pan to a covered warm platter. With a paper towel, wipe sauté pan clean of any burned spices and repeat with remaining slices. 3. When all liver slices have been cooked, arrange on serving platter, top with pork belly slices and drizzle any remaining marmalade glaze over liver slices. So there you have it. A couple of recipes that the Panthers could serve up this year. Granted these meals are eclectic and should probably only be served a few times a year. But once a week we should treat ourselves to a special meal this football season.
  14. For the last week at the Carolina Panthers training camp, running back Fozzy Whitaker had taken the majority of the second string snaps behind starter Jonathan Stewart. Today, it was rookie Cameron Artis-Payne that received the majority of the second string snaps. Payne was seen getting handoffs from Cam Newton in addition to receiving out of the backfield. Artis-Payne has been getting an increasing number of reps as camp has gone on. If this trend continues, he may take over the second string or "change-up" back position for good by the start of the season. Artis-Payne, like Fozzy Whitaker, is a good compliment to Jonathan Stewart. Both backs offer a shiftiness out of the backfield that could break for large gains on any run. On one particular run today, Artis-Payne was hit by second year corner Carrington Byndom. This type of contact is usually prohibited during non padded practice. Artis-Payne was not expecting it. After absorbing the hit and hanging on to the ball, Artis-Payne just looked back at the defender and smiled. A fragile running back he is not. Whether this is a permanent move or the coaches just wanting to get a closer look at Artis-Payne with the first string remains to be seen. However, a late round rookie getting plenty of first string reps is nothing to brush off as meaningless. Something is happening at the running back position and it is worth keeping your eyes on.
  15. For the last week at the Carolina Panthers training camp, running back Fozzy Whitaker had taken the majority of the second string snaps behind starter Jonathan Stewart. Today, it was rookie Cameron Artis-Payne that received the majority of the second string snaps. Payne was seen getting handoffs from Cam Newton in addition to receiving out of the backfield. Artis-Payne has been getting an increasing number of reps as camp has gone on. If this trend continues, he may take over the second string or "change-up" back position for good by the start of the season. Artis-Payne, like Fozzy Whitaker, is a good compliment to Jonathan Stewart. Both backs offer a shiftiness out of the backfield that could break for large gains on any run. On one particular run today, Artis-Payne was hit by second year corner Carrington Byndom. This type of contact is usually prohibited during non padded practice. Artis-Payne was not expecting it. After absorbing the hit and hanging on to the ball, Artis-Payne just looked back at the defender and smiled. A fragile running back he is not. Whether this is a permanent move or the coaches just wanting to get a closer look at Artis-Payne with the first string remains to be seen. However, a late round rookie getting plenty of first string reps is nothing to brush off as meaningless. Something is happening at the running back position and it is worth keeping your eyes on. View full article
  16. In June I reported that undrafted rookie Damiere Byrd out of South Carolina was making plays during OTA workouts. Now, in August, I can tell you that Damiere Byrd is also making plays in training camp. During a fully padded practice,, Byrd was able to sneak behind Colin Jones in the secondary and make an impressive reception from Cam Newton. However, the NFL officials at practice called him out of bounds. Byrd will need to work on the small details of the position like dragging your feet and tapping your toe when near the sideline. The good news for Damiere is that much like last year's Corey Brown, he is an undrafted receiver getting reps with the first string.... and producing That is something not to be taken lightly. Byrd has the kind of speed that cannot be taught. During the final play of practice, it was again Byrd who snuck into the back of the end zone behind safety Robert Lester, this time bringing his feet down in bounds for the touchdown. Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera has said the Panthers would keep 6 or even 7 wide receivers. Six receivers is fairly common across the league. Seven, however, is not. Could Rivera have had Damiere Byrd in mind when he made that comment? Could be.
  17. In June I reported that undrafted rookie Damiere Byrd out of South Carolina was making plays during OTA workouts. Now, in August, I can tell you that Damiere Byrd is also making plays in training camp. During a fully padded practice,, Byrd was able to sneak behind Colin Jones in the secondary and make an impressive reception from Cam Newton. However, the NFL officials at practice called him out of bounds. Byrd will need to work on the small details of the position like dragging your feet and tapping your toe when near the sideline. The good news for Damiere is that much like last year's Corey Brown, he is an undrafted receiver getting reps with the first string.... and producing That is something not to be taken lightly. Byrd has the kind of speed that cannot be taught. During the final play of practice, it was again Byrd who snuck into the back of the end zone behind safety Robert Lester, this time bringing his feet down in bounds for the touchdown. Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera has said the Panthers would keep 6 or even 7 wide receivers. Six receivers is fairly common across the league. Seven, however, is not. Could Rivera have had Damiere Byrd in mind when he made that comment? Could be. View full article
  18. One of the Carolina Panthers players I am asked about more frequently is second year defensive end Kony Ealy. Ealy has the potential to be a great asset in Carolina as he can play both defensive end and defensive tackle. Players that can fill in at multiple positions are highly coveted in the NFL because they offer the coaching staffs much greater flexibility in developing a roster. Last season, Ealy struggled early in camp and during the first part of the season. As the Sundays came and went, Ealy did show great improvement. Towards the end of the year, he was an important cog in the Panthers defensive machine. So, how has Kony looked this season? Well, I can tell you that it has been another slow start for Kony. Whispers of his sub par play are heard frequently along the sidelines and among the media types. That may have all started to change on the 5th training camp practice, when Ealy once again started showing flashes. Pictured below is a nice swim move Ealy has developed as a defensive tackle. Ealy blew past guard Ricky Henry on the way to the quarterback. The result was a solid run stop. Later in practice, against Cam Newton and the Panthers first string defense, Ealy was inserted as a defensive end. He was able to elude offensive tackle Michael Oher. Of course, Ealy let up as he approached Cam Newton, as contact with the QB is not allowed in camp. As you can see below, the result would have surely been a QB sack if Ealy had kept going full speed. If Ealy can continue to improve throughout camp and preseason it will help the defense tremendously. It would help ease concerns with the defensive tackle injuries. A stout Ealy would also improve the quality rotation at defensive end, allowing Charles Johsnon and Mario Addison to stay more rested and effective. I will keep you updated on his progress throughout training camp.
  19. One of the Carolina Panthers players I am asked about more frequently is second year defensive end Kony Ealy. Ealy has the potential to be a great asset in Carolina as he can play both defensive end and defensive tackle. Players that can fill in at multiple positions are highly coveted in the NFL because they offer the coaching staffs much greater flexibility in developing a roster. Last season, Ealy struggled early in camp and during the first part of the season. As the Sundays came and went, Ealy did show great improvement. Towards the end of the year, he was an important cog in the Panthers defensive machine. So, how has Kony looked this season? Well, I can tell you that it has been another slow start for Kony. Whispers of his sub par play are heard frequently along the sidelines and among the media types. That may have all started to change on the 5th training camp practice, when Ealy once again started showing flashes. Pictured below is a nice swim move Ealy has developed as a defensive tackle. Ealy blew past guard Ricky Henry on the way to the quarterback. The result was a solid run stop. Later in practice, against Cam Newton and the Panthers first string defense, Ealy was inserted as a defensive end. He was able to elude offensive tackle Michael Oher. Of course, Ealy let up as he approached Cam Newton, as contact with the QB is not allowed in camp. As you can see below, the result would have surely been a QB sack if Ealy had kept going full speed. If Ealy can continue to improve throughout camp and preseason it will help the defense tremendously. It would help ease concerns with the defensive tackle injuries. A stout Ealy would also improve the quality rotation at defensive end, allowing Charles Johsnon and Mario Addison to stay more rested and effective. I will keep you updated on his progress throughout training camp. View full article
  20. Day 4 of the Carolina Panthers Training Camp is in the books. With a heat index of 109 in Spartanburg, the Panthers still managed to have a spirited practice that yielded some good things. Thomas Davis was taking a veterans day off. However, he still managed to act as an additional coach of sorts, helping rookie linebacker David Mayo at times. This did not keep Mayo from performing his rookie tasts, such as fetching helmets for the veteran players. The Carolina Panthers coaches were especially energetic and vocal today. This could be due to the return of head coach Ron Rivera. Sean McDermott kept a close eye on his defensive unit and was not shy in pointing out where they were lacking. Dave Gettleman kept a watchful eye over practice, and was joined by aspiring GM but current Panthers safety Roman Harper at times. Ted Ginn continues to impress in camp. When asked today if he was still the fastest guy on the field, he answered in the affirmative. The Panthers offense struggled early today, mainly due to poor offensive line play. Cam Newton scrambled out of the pocket more than once, something Panthers fans have gotten quite used to seeing. Newton was visibly upset for a brief moment, expressing to his offense they would need to pick up their game. This may be redundant, but Kelvin Benjamin continues to make plays. At some point I may stop reporting this, as you can probably just take it as a given. Gamecocks product Damiere Byrd had his best day of camp so far. Damiere is proving himself not only a deep threat that the team desperately needs, but also a weapon on the end arounds. His end around run today was the prettiest of camp so far. Brenton Bersin continues to field second string punts, and guess what.... he looks pretty good. Many people are hard on Bersin for last year's punt return performance. They forget, however, that Bersin had zero punt return reps in practices up until he was asked to field them in a live game. Punt returning is 100% about repetition, without it no player would do well. Michael Oher improved from his lackluster performance yesterday, although he did have help at times. As many have pointed out, if the Panthers can get Oher to just the level of serviceable, it will be an upgrade over last season. Jordan Todman was fighting a stomach bug but still practiced in between trips to the sideline to vomit and hydrate. You have to admire his resolve. Todman is not a lock to make this roster, and he knows every snap counts. Mike Remmers beard. Thats all. Today's Climbers: - Damiere Byrd - As stated earlier, his best performance of camp. - Cameron Artis-Payne - CAP had the prettiest touchdown scamper of camp so far. He also appears to be improving in pass protection during second team drills. So far, so good for this rookie. - Mario Addison - Addison may be the most improved defensive player on the roster. I am very impressed what he has brought so far. He appears to be well ahead of Kony Ealy at this point. - Lee Ward - Caught a nice ball out in the flat, made some killer blocks in pass protection.
  21. Day 4 of the Carolina Panthers Training Camp is in the books. With a heat index of 109 in Spartanburg, the Panthers still managed to have a spirited practice that yielded some good things. Thomas Davis was taking a veterans day off. However, he still managed to act as an additional coach of sorts, helping rookie linebacker David Mayo at times. This did not keep Mayo from performing his rookie tasts, such as fetching helmets for the veteran players. The Carolina Panthers coaches were especially energetic and vocal today. This could be due to the return of head coach Ron Rivera. Sean McDermott kept a close eye on his defensive unit and was not shy in pointing out where they were lacking. Dave Gettleman kept a watchful eye over practice, and was joined by aspiring GM but current Panthers safety Roman Harper at times. Ted Ginn continues to impress in camp. When asked today if he was still the fastest guy on the field, he answered in the affirmative. The Panthers offense struggled early today, mainly due to poor offensive line play. Cam Newton scrambled out of the pocket more than once, something Panthers fans have gotten quite used to seeing. Newton was visibly upset for a brief moment, expressing to his offense they would need to pick up their game. This may be redundant, but Kelvin Benjamin continues to make plays. At some point I may stop reporting this, as you can probably just take it as a given. Gamecocks product Damiere Byrd had his best day of camp so far. Damiere is proving himself not only a deep threat that the team desperately needs, but also a weapon on the end arounds. His end around run today was the prettiest of camp so far. Brenton Bersin continues to field second string punts, and guess what.... he looks pretty good. Many people are hard on Bersin for last year's punt return performance. They forget, however, that Bersin had zero punt return reps in practices up until he was asked to field them in a live game. Punt returning is 100% about repetition, without it no player would do well. Michael Oher improved from his lackluster performance yesterday, although he did have help at times. As many have pointed out, if the Panthers can get Oher to just the level of serviceable, it will be an upgrade over last season. Jordan Todman was fighting a stomach bug but still practiced in between trips to the sideline to vomit and hydrate. You have to admire his resolve. Todman is not a lock to make this roster, and he knows every snap counts. Mike Remmers beard. Thats all. Today's Climbers: - Damiere Byrd - As stated earlier, his best performance of camp. - Cameron Artis-Payne - CAP had the prettiest touchdown scamper of camp so far. He also appears to be improving in pass protection during second team drills. So far, so good for this rookie. - Mario Addison - Addison may be the most improved defensive player on the roster. I am very impressed what he has brought so far. He appears to be well ahead of Kony Ealy at this point. - Lee Ward - Caught a nice ball out in the flat, made some killer blocks in pass protection. View full article
  22. During Sunday's press conference, Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart called rookie fullback Lee Ward a "Punisher". Ward likes that description. "That's a huge compliment, especially coming from that guy" Ward told me after practice. "He is an absolute monster and I expect huge things from him this year." During Monday's practice, Ward began to showcase why Jonathan Stewart classified him in that unique way. Ward, in charge of protecting his quarterback, stifled linebacker Adarius Glanton for the duration of the play. Glanton appeared not to have taken too kindly to Ward's tenacity and got in a little extra curricular activity, knocking his helmet off after the whistle. I asked Ward if he had lost his helmet and had a busted chin before. "It's something that has happened my whole career. I've busted my chin too many times to count at this point. They say the ladies like scars, so I guess it is only a good thing, right?" On the very next play, Ward picked up his protection assignment again, this time linebacker stopping Jason Trusnik in his tracks. The result was much the same, namely proper protection and enough time for Derek Anderson to make a good read and throw. Ward does not seem to be too concerned about any ramifications from defensive players not accustomed to being stopped by a rookie. "I just try to get them on the play and do the best I can. I'm not really worried about the extra curricular stuff. The veterans don't appreciate a rookie coming and hitting them in the mouth, but I am trying to make this team just like they are." Ward appears to have the right mind set required for any rookie, especially an undrafted one, to make a NFL team. If he can keep impressing like he did today he could very possibly make the Panthers practice squad or even regular roster.
  23. During Sunday's press conference, Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart called rookie fullback Lee Ward a "Punisher". Ward likes that description. "That's a huge compliment, especially coming from that guy" Ward told me after practice. "He is an absolute monster and I expect huge things from him this year." During Monday's practice, Ward began to showcase why Jonathan Stewart classified him in that unique way. Ward, in charge of protecting his quarterback, stifled linebacker Adarius Glanton for the duration of the play. Glanton appeared not to have taken too kindly to Ward's tenacity and got in a little extra curricular activity, knocking his helmet off after the whistle. I asked Ward if he had lost his helmet and had a busted chin before. "It's something that has happened my whole career. I've busted my chin too many times to count at this point. They say the ladies like scars, so I guess it is only a good thing, right?" On the very next play, Ward picked up his protection assignment again, this time linebacker stopping Jason Trusnik in his tracks. The result was much the same, namely proper protection and enough time for Derek Anderson to make a good read and throw. Ward does not seem to be too concerned about any ramifications from defensive players not accustomed to being stopped by a rookie. "I just try to get them on the play and do the best I can. I'm not really worried about the extra curricular stuff. The veterans don't appreciate a rookie coming and hitting them in the mouth, but I am trying to make this team just like they are." Ward appears to have the right mind set required for any rookie, especially an undrafted one, to make a NFL team. If he can keep impressing like he did today he could very possibly make the Panthers practice squad or even regular roster. View full article
  24. The Carolina Panthers Training Camp last season introduced us to guys like Andrew Norwell and Corey Brown. Two undrafted free agents who ended up making major contributions to the playoff run of 2015. So who will be the sleepers this season? Well, here are my best pre-camp guesses..... 1. Damiere Byrd - WR South Carolina While small in stature, Byrd has the physical gifts that the Panthers need, namely pure speed. During OTA's, Byrd connected with the Panthers backup quarterbacks for multiple long bomb touchdowns. This local kid has what it takes to shine in camp this year if given the opportunity. Given the uncertain future of Stephen Hill and his recent transgression, Byrd may just get that chance. 2. Lee Ward - FB Stanford I love me some Lee Ward. A bruising throwback fullback who punished his opponent as he lays waste. While not the most glamorous or highlight generating position, the pure blocking fullback is something I would love to see added to the Panthers arsenal. He would also aid in protecting Cam Newton given the unknown skill level of the Panthers 2015 left tackle Michael Oher. 3. Dean Marlowe - S James Madison You haven't read much about Marlowe until now, but that could quickly change. If there is one position on the Panthers roster that an immediate impact could be made, it would be Safety. Marlowe saw plenty of snaps in OTA's and looked sharp. If he can also contribute in Special Teams he may be able to carve out a roster spot. Not an easy accomplishment for an undrafted free agent on this Panthers squad. So there are the top 3 young guys I am hoping can make an impact. Who are yours?
  25. The Carolina Panthers Training Camp last season introduced us to guys like Andrew Norwell and Corey Brown. Two undrafted free agents who ended up making major contributions to the playoff run of 2015. So who will be the sleepers this season? Well, here are my best pre-camp guesses..... 1. Damiere Byrd - WR South Carolina While small in stature, Byrd has the physical gifts that the Panthers need, namely pure speed. During OTA's, Byrd connected with the Panthers backup quarterbacks for multiple long bomb touchdowns. This local kid has what it takes to shine in camp this year if given the opportunity. Given the uncertain future of Stephen Hill and his recent transgression, Byrd may just get that chance. 2. Lee Ward - FB Stanford I love me some Lee Ward. A bruising throwback fullback who punished his opponent as he lays waste. While not the most glamorous or highlight generating position, the pure blocking fullback is something I would love to see added to the Panthers arsenal. He would also aid in protecting Cam Newton given the unknown skill level of the Panthers 2015 left tackle Michael Oher. 3. Dean Marlowe - S James Madison You haven't read much about Marlowe until now, but that could quickly change. If there is one position on the Panthers roster that an immediate impact could be made, it would be Safety. Marlowe saw plenty of snaps in OTA's and looked sharp. If he can also contribute in Special Teams he may be able to carve out a roster spot. Not an easy accomplishment for an undrafted free agent on this Panthers squad. So there are the top 3 young guys I am hoping can make an impact. Who are yours? View full article