This article should help those of you (us) deal with Carolina's expected apathetic approach to free agency. Yes, it is bleacher report for all of you who only read peer-reviewed scientific journals, but this is choc full of facts to support the slant of the article.
Hope this is not already common knowledge. I did not see a specific reference to it in titles.
Stud: While his work in pass protection was suspect, you have to appreciate the run blocking of Ryan Kalil that contributed to his +6.6grade.
Dud: The move to left tackle was no easier for Byron Bell (-33.4) who continues to give up too much pressure.
Breakdown: All things considered, this could have been a lot worse. After losing studs Jordan Gross and Travelle Wharton to retirement and dealing with injuries during the season, they tried a number of different combinations with more success than you had any right to imagine. A bit of special praise here for the pickup of Andrew Norwell who has been something of a revelation.
Comments: This is interesting because we should be able to see upgrades across the board. When I see that we were ranked #7 in 2013, I am a bit shocked. We had Bell at RT, Silatolu/Wharton at LG, Gross was on the decline of his career, and RG was by committee (Scott, Chandler, Bond). Hats off to Matsko and to Cam Newton for freezing the defensive pressure. In 2014, Cam was injured and defenses could pin their ears back.
This year, the OL should be better in nearly every aspect. Kalil is still rather solid-no longer elite, but he was flanked by 2 rookies for much of the season. The two rookie Guards really stepped up in 2014, showing they belong. Next season, I expect them to be more comfortable with the offense and more experienced. Rookie linemen are often targets for the DL, so we endured in 2014. Heck, Remmers was even a rookie in terms of experience. He did OK in pass protection but was a liability in the run game. I wonder if he would not be the same on the left side, where his body seems more suited to play. Having said that, finding a RT is much easier than a LT. I would still bring in a developmental LT (rookie, in other words) because Remmers would be an awesome backup OT.
Having said all that, I expect both G positions to be upgrades in 2015 due to experience. Kalil should continue to anchor, and we should see upgrades in talent at both Tackle spots--even if the best we can do is move Remmers to LT--still an upgrade.
There are other factors that will improve the OL play. First, people do not realize how much Brockel helps us. When he went down, we struggled more. Secondly, Cam was dinged and the defenses knew it. His run threat was not a concern. Third, the upgrade at RB (Williams was 31 and played like it; Tolbert and Stew were hurt much of the season) will help. In addition, another WR weapon will help Cam get rid of the ball sooner and keep Safeties out of the box.
I would first like to take my hats off to coach Matsko for taking what we had and doing better than 9 other offensive lines. In addition, for having the 7th OL last year with the issues we had at G and RT. Amazing that the unit was ranked 7th.
I would also like to say that these are the reasons I expect, barring injury, that the OL will be one of the best in 2015. It could be that we are 1 player away.
(I am risking abuse here, but I thought you all might enjoy this during the offseason. Besides, it is as good as most of the other threads)
Valanetine's day, Anniversaries, Birthdays--what do they all have in common? Opportunities for me to screw up. For me, One is in February, the next is in April, and another in August. So I spend most of the warm-weather months in the doghouse or on the couch. Not any more, thanks to Dave Gettlemen!
1. Valentine's Day is a lot like the draft: Don't think of 2015, think of 2016. By planning a year in advance, it helps me to realize that spending too much in 2015 only makes 2016 more challenging. By keeping the gesture of love modest and simplistic (translation: inexpensive), you never have to worry about disappointing the following year, assuming of course, there is one. Still, you have to take that chance. There is nothing worse than having a woman love you for your materialism on the outside when you are hating your last-year self on the inside. Do not work against your future self-keep the bar low.
2. Respect the cap. Sure, it is great to fall in love and spend big bucks on people you love, but remember that Valentine contracts are back loaded. You are always happy in the beginning, but when the tread wears off the tires and the person you love starts showing signs of aging, paying more than before is going to be a hard pill to swallow. A simple rule here: You are paying for future production and not past performance.
3. Shop at the Dollar Store and Tah-get: Again, why shop at the high dollar stores when you can get production at a huge discount? I guarantee those cocoa trees and silk worms did not know or care what store they were producing chocolate or panties for--neither should you. In fact, you might luck out and find a box of chocolates wrapped in some exotic underwear for $9.99 at Staples or something. Of course, you get the small box, and if she asks why, you tell her "So the underwear will fit when you are done." Thanks Dave!
4. Remember, "offense scores points, defense wins championships." We are trying to score points and disregard championships. Rings in this arena are usually a sign of decreased playing time and, in some cases, defeat. Scoring is all that matters, so be offensive. I plan on it.
I thought I would share my newly-found wisdom with you guys so you can tweak your strategy this year. Forget the Marty Hurney approach--emptying the bank account for what you already have, or trading what you have for lesser talent. Go Gettlemen, and follow his advice and you can't go wrong.
I did not look up each player's birthday, but added a year to their current age according to the Panther roster. In other words, this is how old they will be in 2015. Some of the more interesting ages are in bold:
Projected core players age in 2015:
QB Cam Newton 26, Derek Anderson 32; Joe Webb 29
RB Jonathan Stewart 28; Fozzy Whittaker 26; DeAngelo Williams 32
WR: Kelvin Benjamin 24; Philly Brown 24; Jerricho Cotchery 33; Brenton Bersin 25
TE: Greg Olsen 30; Richie Brockel 29; Brandon Williams 28; Ed Dickson 28
OT: Mike Remmers 26; Byron Bell 26; David Foucault 27; Nate Chandler 26;
OG: Andrew Norwell, 24; Trai Turner, 22; Amini Silatolu, 27; Edmund Kugbila 25; Fernando Velasco 30
OC: Ryan Kalil 30; Brian Folkerts 25
DT:Colin Cole 35; Dwan Edwards 34; Star Lotulelei 26; KK Short 26
DE: Charles Johnson 29; Mario Addison 28; Wes Horton 25, Kony Ealy 24
LB: Thomas Davis 32; Ben Jacobs 27; Adarius Glanton 25; Luke Kuechly 24; AJ Klein 24; Kevin Reddick 25
CB: Josh Norman 28; Melvin White 25; Bene Benwikere 24; Carrington Byndum 23
S: Roman Harper 33; Colin Jones 28; Thomas DeCoud 30; Tre Boston 23; Robert Lester 27