This week on the Huddle Podcast, Panthers rookie receiver Devin Funchess sits down in studio for an hour long discussion. 
Topics include: 
- Tampa Bay Game
- Cam Newton
- Ricky Proehl
- much much more 
Obviously, this is a must listen. 
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Who: Carolina Panthers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Where: Tampa, Fl
When: 1:00
I will be tweeting from the field starting around 11am with photos and observations. Follow @CarolinaHuddle on twitter. 
Keys to Panthers Victory: 
- Tackling must improve over last week. 
- Keep Winston in the pocket and force him into mistakes. An interception or two will be the result. 
- Jared Allen must fill the void left by Charles Johnson. 
- Greg Olsen will need to continue to impress as he will be the only receiver on the field getting extra attention. 
Bucs - 17
Panthers - 20

It's a Trap!

By Jeremy Igo, in Carolina Panthers,

I hereby am officially designating Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a trap game. 
Here are a few of the factors that went into making this official designation. 
- Record flooding in Charlotte a distraction, especially to the players with families. I know my thoughts will be at home, so will theirs. 
- Terrible officiating , as outlined here by our own PhillyB. Also, it appears Carolina is getting the worst of the worst, as far as officials go. 
- Tampa is not as bad as you think. They defeated a Saints team with Drew Brees in New Orleans in a much more convincing fashion than Carolina did at home without Drew Brees. 
- Division matchups are rarely anything but a dog fight for the Panthers to begin with. 
- Although AJ Klein is a good player, missing Luke Kuechly started to show itself last week. Tackling was very sloppy. 
In conclusion... 

Take this game against Tampa Bay lightly at your own risk. 
Hollywood director Francis Ford Cappola found out the hard way that no matter how much you plan, no matter how many details you consider, no matter how careful you are, sometimes things just go straight to hell. Cappola's masterpiece - 1979's Apocalypse Now - is widely considered the most disastrous production effort in all of cinema history. Marlon Brando showed up to the set surprisingly fat. Martin Sheen battled alcoholism and had a heart attack on the set. Monsoons blew into the set in the Philippines and wiped out million-dollar stages. Cappola's wife threatened to divorce him, his Italian filmmaker threatened to quit if they didn't fly in fresh pasta from Italy to Manila once a week, and no one could remember their lines. A live tiger walked onto the set. The army confiscated everyone's passports and filming permits for paying a local to drag cadavers onto the shooting location for added battle realism. Cappola reacted to these setbacks by going insane, throwing his Oscars out the window, binging on Filipino call girls, and telling the entire production crew he was going to commit suicide.
 I'm willing to bet a majority of Panthers fans had similar reactions Sunday to one of the most maddening, obstacle-laden wins in years.
Against all odds, Sunday's contest against the New Orleans Saints was a dogfight. There's a maxim in the NFL that suggests division games are always close no matter the disparity in talent or record, but that's just a popular misconception. Division opponents often clobber each other. With a 2-0 record and momentum building, it seemed Carolina was poised to put an early-season stake in the heart of the Saints. All signs pointed in the direction of a complete drubbing.
But no one thought to include atrocious officiating in the win/loss calculus. The following ten calls (or no-calls) stymied the team's efforts through four maddening quarters:
Tripping, #96, Q1 (Good call)Defensive Holding, #56, Q1 (Debatable)Offensive Holding, #88, Q1 (Bad Call)Offensive Pass Interference, #47, Q1 (Good Call)Ball spot for the Saints, Q2 (Bad Call by a full yard)Out of Bounds on Kickoff, #21, Q3 (Debatable)Tripping, #70, Q3 (Good Call)Illegal Use of Hands, #94, Q3 (Bad Call)Roughing the Passer, #99, Q3 (Bad Call)No Call on roughing the passer, Q4 (Bad Call) 
This is a pretty gruesome collection of penalties and no-calls. Anyone who sat through the game can attest to that. Some of them were Carolina's fault - Wes Horton can't blame anyone but Wes Horton for a silly tripping penalty - but fully half of the calls on the field were downright awful. Referees were making mistakes they shouldn't have been making at the professional level. The faulty spot and falsely-granted third-down conversion might've been the worst, in retrospect; the following sequence of shots shows the spot of the tackle, the officials' spotting of the ball, and the subsequent fix.

It really wasn't even close. Those are the kinds of calls that can blow games. And they didn't stop coming. Kony Ealy's phantom hands-to-the-face call had him livid, Kawann Short was clearly pushed into the quarterback, and of course there's the infamous no-call on the flagrant late hit against Cam Newton. It's a shame no one in the national media has shown coach's film of the actual hit, because it's flagrant. Here's a breakdown of the (very blurry) all-22 coach's film for you:

Pretty obvious. It didn't matter if Cam was out of the pocket because the ball was long gone and he was no longer considered a runner. Hochuli saw the entire thing from start to finish. We'll never know if he actually told Cam he was too young to get that call, but video evidence is clear: Ed Hochuli displayed wanton disregard for (or at least atrocious judgement in) the rules and regulations of the game.
But a beautiful thing happened on Sunday. The Carolina Panthers of past years have repeatedly fulfilled a tired prophecy: lose unless every little thing goes right. Carolina fans are witnesses. It's been a common thread through the Rivera era. On this particular Sunday every little thing went wrong - but the team responded, in spades.
Greg Olsen's negated touchdown was followed by a Greg Olsen touchdown.Rivera's challenge of the horrible first-down spot forced the Saints to punt and resulted in a 52-yard pass to Greg Olsen on the first play from scrimmage.Teddy Williams's special teams blunder was answered by a clutch drive for Greg Olsen's second TD (aided by a savvy hurry-up to catch 12 Saints on the field.)Kony Ealy's ludicrous hands-to-the-face penalty was followed two plays later by a critical forced fumble and a Carolina field goal.The Panthers answered Hochuli's no-call by an 88-yard march for a touchdown and a 27-16 lead.And of course we all know the game more or less ended with Josh Norman's jaw-dropping interception in the end zone.
The 2015 Carolina Panthers are 3-0 not because they've done everything right, but because they've shown the resiliency to win even when everything goes wrong. Championship teams have the enviable quality of pulling out wins that should never have happened. The 2015 Carolina Panthers did that on Sunday.
Apocalypse Now transcended disaster and went on to win Academy Awards nominations, top honors at the Cannes, and recognition as one of the most iconic films of its era. With this newfound penchant for gutty wins the Panthers just may follow suit.
This week I ventured over to a few Bucs media sites and message boards and afterwards needed an emergency session with my therapist. Good gravy is it dismal in Tampa Bay these days. 
Here are a few of my favorite tidbits....
Bucs will have their hands full with Greg Olsen
Of course, some Bucs fans are predicting a victory...
Some are discussing the Panthers adding Jared Allen 
But overall, things are fairly depressing in Bucs country
Jared Allen made his Carolina Panthers practice debut today and was welcomed by the heat and humidity the south offers in September. 
Ron Rivera spent a good amount of time watching his new acquisition, and I have a feeling he was pretty impressed. 

Allen is a physical specimen, that much is clear. He should immediately have an impact for the Panthers this Sunday against the Bucs. 
What I was not expecting was how quickly Allen seems to have taken up the leadership and mentor role left vacant by Charles Johnson (now on IR). 

Allen was especially talkative and demonstrative with both Mario Addison and Wes Horton. Throughout practice, Allen would stop and chat or demonstrate a move of the hips or perhaps a hand movement. The little things that can turn an average defensive end into a good one. 

After the media portion of practice, the Panthers defensive coaching staff seemed more than pleased with their new weapon. 

I have been singing the praises of KK Short and Kyle Love combo for a couple of weeks now. Again, they balled out on Sunday. Dwan Edwards is having a very down year, and PFF seems to have taken notice. 
Bene Benwikere had a bit off an off game. As a nickel, he has many more responsibilities than a corner. Facing an unknown QB and unkown Payton game plan for that QB likely contributed to his grade. 
 Play CountsRatings Pos.#NameTotalRunRushCov.OverallRun DefensePass RushPass Cov.Penalty# of PenQB SkQB HtQB HuBPTksAssMTStops DRT99 Kawann Short *49193003.  2 11 1 DRT93 Kyle Love25101503. 11  2   LCB24 Josh Norman *71260451.    41 1 SLB54 Shaq Thompson *41123261.   4114 RCB31 Charles Tillman *69260431.    92 4 DLE95 Charles Johnson *35151910.7-  1      MLB56 A.J. Klein *63253350.11.0-0.2-0.80.11-0    8 16 DLT98 Star Lotulelei *49202900.10.4-   121 1 FS33 Tre Boston165011-    21   SS41 Roman Harper *5622034-0.7-    4 23 WLB58 Thomas Davis *4922027-1.0-0.10.0-1.00.10-0    6421 FS20 Kurt Coleman *7227342-1.1-0.7-0.2-0.30.10-0     21  DRE96 Wes Horton *12660-1.10.4-0.50.0-1.01-0         SCB25 Ben� Benwikere6824440-1.1-0.4-0.3-0.50.10-0    5 21 DRE97 Mario Addison327232-1.40.4-0.90.0-0.91-0  1 2  1 DRE94 Kony Ealy4218240-2.10.7-1.5-0.5-0.81-0  2 3113 DLT92 Dwan Edwards4313300-2.4-1.9-         0.53.8-0.4-0.7-2.25-0117150161026
This week on the PFF grades, Cam Newton leads the offensive group this week, and rightfully so. The entire offensive line for the Panthers is in the positive for the first time this season. 
Ed Dickson and Richie Brockel are the last in line. This won't exactly help Brockel's case to those fans wondering what his role is on the team. 
Offensive summary
 Play CountsRatings Pos.#NameTotalRunPassRun BlockPass BlockOverallPassRushPass BlockScreen BlockRun BlockPenalty# of PenQB SkQB HtQB Hu QB1 Cam Newton *666362403.    C67 Ryan Kalil *660030362.9  -  1 LG68 Andrew Norwell *660030362.0   LWR19 Ted Ginn *400271301.    RG70 Trai Turner *660030361.0  1 LWR17 Devin Funchess310121900.    HB43 Fozzy Whittaker505000.    RT74 Mike Remmers *660030360.4  0.20.0-0.10.30-0  3 LT73 Michael Oher *660030360.4  1.70.0-1.60.30-0    TE-L88 Greg Olsen *650362900.    FB35 Mike Tolbert305111220.00.4-    HB34 Cameron Artis-Payne33000-0.10.0-    HB28 Jonathan C. Stewart *39141843-0.4-0.4-    SLWR11 Brenton Bersin *28014140-0.6-    RWR10 Philly Brown *49129190-0.8-    TE-R47 Richard Brockel20110-    TE-R84 Ed Dickson38016166-1.7-