A lot of NFL fans (not Panther fans) have long-formulated opinions that he's a bad guy. The article challenges the reader to reassess what they think of Steve Smith but doesn't draw a final conclusion.
If all you know about our #89 is his on-field awesomeness, dropping the f-bomb on a missed pass, fighting incidents, and the $100k Aurora victims contribution, you're just scratching the surface. From all I've seen, he's hyper-passionate about his profession, equally passionate about his family, and has donated a gajillion shoes via Samaritan's Feet ministry, even washing the feet of those in need. He doesn't tolerate laziness. He's all about helping kids through soccer coaching and participating in an assortment of football camps.
He thought his mansion was too pretentious, so he scaled down. Not long ago, he interned with a major financial institution to learn proper investing & money management to avoid financial ruin that plagues so many pro athletes.
I like how he issued the challenge for others to give, asking if we're here to store up our treasures or give it away to those in need. What other pro athlete is touching so many lives?
Way to go Steve. We've watched you grow and mature. You're establishing an almost incomparable legacy. We don't know the real you - just see what you do. We Panther fans love you and the rest of the world is taking notice. We can't wait to see you on Sundays this fall and look forward to the day you're in the HOF big guy.
One thing I noticed several times during the season was how Cam was very good at holding on to the ball when defenders would get to his blind side and hack at his arm or hand while he's about to throw. With most QBs, that'd be a fumble, but I was impressed with his single-handed grip on the ball. The guy must have huge mits.
That said, I looked at some stats on pro-football-reference.com and while there's no official stat for % of plays that results in a fumble for QBs, I put together an unofficial stat sheet. Obviously variables that can't be taken into consideration are the strength of o-line/protection, quick-strike passes, etc. But just to get an idea of about where the Panthers rate, here's the ranking for just QB fumbles as a % of (pass attempts + QB rush attempts). To keep the list manageable, I included only those with at least 200 pass attempts.
1 - D Brees - .15 2 - C Palmer - .58 3 - A Rodgers - .71 4 - M Stafford - .73 5 - M Hasselbeck - .74 6 - C Newton - .78 7 - M Ryan - .83 8 - A Dalton - .90 9 - T Brady - .92 10 - M Schaub - .98 11 - R Fitzpatrick - 1.12 12 - E Manning - 1.28 13 - T Romo - 1.29 14 - J Skelton - 1.32 15 - P Rivers - 1.48 16 - J Freeman - 1.49 17 - K Orton - 1.52 18 - B Roethlisberger - 1.65 19 - R Grossman - 1.67 20 - M Cassell - 1.70 21 - M Sanchez - 1.72 22 - A Smith - 1.81 23 - T Jackson - 1.84 24 - C Ponder - 1.88 25 - C Painter - 1.92 26 - M Vick - 2.00 27 - J Flacco - 2.07 28 - C McCoy - 2.10 29 - J Cutler - 2.11 30 - S Bradford - 2.67 31 - K Kolb - 2.96 32 - B Gabbert - 3.04 33 - T The Golden Calf of Bristol - 3.54 34 - M Moore - 3.69
To give you an idea of the range:
Brees had 1 fumble against 657 pass/21 QB run attempts; Cam had 5 fumbles against 517 pass/126 QB run attempts; Matt Moore had 14 fumbles against 347 pass/32 QB run attempts.
This is not part of the stat, but FYI, Brees had 0 fumble recoveries, Cam had 3 and Matt Moore had 3 fumble recoveries. The stat sheet doesn't indicate whether the fumbles recovered were their own or another player's fumble.
All-in-all, a pretty impressive showing for our rookie QB.
I know all teams suffer injuries, but we've been hit at the core this year - losing probowl quality players like Beason & TD. Coach RR can talk all he wants about the next guy stepping up, but Beason & TD were 1st round picks for a reason. Unless you've got a Patrick Willis waiting in the wings (crazy thought) you won't find the talent in backups to come close to the quality of our starters. And while we didn't get to see Ron Edwards, we're obviously missing what was supposed to be a pretty good player at DT.
With one caveat, I like Hurney's approach for the near term. Draft well next year and we'll have a couple star core players and some developmental players to add to those returning from injury to give this team a shot in the arm. My one disagreement with Hurney on his stated approach is free agency - I wish we would add at least one significant free agent to supplement each of the next two drafts. With Gross aging, TD's return questionable, so-so secondary, Otah's health, etc., we just have too many needs to fix this team in one draft.
John Clayton says this year's Panthers reminds him of last year's Lions. Once they learned to win (won last 4 of the 2010 season) they haven't lost since. They started 1-4 last year and look where there are a year later.
Remember, Jerry said $200 mil negative cash flow, not net income loss. I expect they were profitable on the income statement, but lost cash. Without a peek at the books, couldn't guess why, but the premise is not uncommon. However, cash is king in business...negative cash flow is, to borrow JR's words, "not sustainable".
If he's in fact operating at less than 10% margin, experiencing negative cashflow, and having to face the player union's legal sharks on a regular basis, then no wonder he seemed irritable at the press conference. He's a bump-in-the-road from real financial problems playing it that close. No wonder he's being Mr. Hardball right now.