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Carolina Huddle


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About GreeneRockets

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  1. Hey guys, I have a Panthers blog that I started a few weeks back. I got tired of watching David Newton of ESPN butcher our players names and some of fan blogs I've seen can have crazy opinions or entertain all rumors without any basis of fact (like when we were supposedly getting Antonio Brown...hint..we were NEVER getting Antonio Brown). I've been seeing so much back and forth about if the Panthers should draft a QB this year, and if we do, how high should he go. I'm going to copy and paste my blog post I wrote yesterday for you guys to read and comment on. If you guys wanna check out some more of my blog, just go to the link and subscribe. https://richiegreene6.wixsite.com/panthersfanspeak Otherwise, let's hear your opinions on what I have to say! Keep Pounding. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ I've been seeing a ton of chatter since the 2018 season ended that the Carolina Panthers need to address the backup quarterback position in the upcoming draft. This sentiment was popular coming off of a season where Cam, the franchise player, was sidelined early again to heal an ailing throwing shoulder that has been a problem since the end of the 2016 season. In the last two games, backup QB's Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen saw action, with the former getting injured in his first start for the Panthers against the Buccaneers and the latter getting hurt midway through a good performance against the Saints in the last game of the season. While Heinicke didn't impress much against Tampa, Allen did in his debut, albeit against a Saints team that essentially deemed the game meaningless since their playoff seeding was locked up. Kyle Allen's performance led the team to their first win after losing 7 straight games. He showed poise and confidence in the pocket, and there was some really good rapport with our promising young trio of receivers, especially for a third string quarterback. It was a nice highlight reel to wrap up what turned out to be a disappointing season. He did as well as a you could expect a third string quarterback to do in his first start. He exceeded expectations, really. It has been reported that Carolina has met extensively with QB's in this year's draft, including West Virginia's Will Grier, who is predicted to go around the 3rd round. Head Coach Ron Rivera and General Manager Marty Hurney denied that there was any special attention being paid to the quarterback class and insisted that it was no different than any other year, summing it up as normal due diligence. Still, there is a pretty vocal section of Panthers fandom and media that is suggesting that the Panthers NEED to focus on grabbing our backup/potential QB of the future in this year's draft, and that if someone was there in the 2nd/3rd/4th rounds, the Panthers may need to grab him. My opinion? Absolutely not. Before I start, I understand the fears. Cam had surgery on his throwing arm after injuring it near the end of the 2016 season. There have been questions ever since, especially about his patented deep ball. We watched his arm deteriorate after TJ Watt lowered his helmet into his throwing shoulder, and with it, the season collapsed. For every week after that game, we watched Cam unable to throw it past 30 yards. It was disheartening to watch. I get it. But let's calm down. Let's address why we need to be rational about this. 1. Cam Newton's arm health. Cam recently had shoulder scope surgery to remove scar tissue from the previous surgery, and there is widespread belief from the team that this was the last remaining issue hampering Newton's arm. Remember, before the TJ Watt hit, Cam Newton had this team at 6-2, was completing a career high percentage of his passes, and was on pace to potentially eclipse a lot of his 2015 MVP passing numbers. There were a few questionable moments, like why Heinicke was coming in to take Hail Marys in the Ravens game, but that can be explained by the scar tissue issue that is now removed. I realize there were a ton of gloom and doom narratives flying around where David Tepper was misquoted as saying Cam could be out for the entirety of the 2019 season, but those were completely unfounded. The team and Cam himself have said he could very well be ready to participate in Spring OTA's, though it could be in a limited capacity just to be safe. Regardless, there is no reason to think Cam Newton won't be ready to go for training camp and the season opener. We need to chill. 2. We have way more pressing needs. This Carolina team has done a great job of addressing needs this offseason, signing the likes of DE Bruce Irvin, Center Matt Paradis, WR Chris Hogan, and re-signing Daryl Williams and DT Kyle Love. We've set ourselves up in the draft to not be desperate at a number of positions, and in fact, improved some positions as well (center and WR, specifically). But let's not kid ourselves, at the moment, we are still too needy at certain positions to be a top-tier competitor. Our defense is our main concern right now, particularly the defensive line. Most people believe our first round pick will be spent on a young, pass rushing-saavy DE, and I, too, hope that is the case. The Panthers desperately need young talent injected into a defensive line that simply didn't get it done when it came to getting to the quarterback. Bruce Irvin is a great depth piece to add, but he's not a 1A to Mario Addison's 1B, and that's exactly what we need. If we don't hit on this pick, we can expect more of the same for the upcoming year. It's as simple as that. After that, FS may truly be our most desperate need. There is really no player I would feel confident putting back there right now. Who are our options? Da'Norris Searcy, who essentially missed the entire season due to concussion. Rashaan Gaulden, the 3rd round pick from last year who the team doesn't seem to know what to do with. The team has suggested they will try him anywhere from FS to nickel CB. Gaulden barely saw the field last year. A potential free agent? The likes of Eric Barry, Tre Boston, and Mike Mitchell are still available, but the team hasn't had stability in the secondary in years and needs coverage skills to compliment Eric Reid's box skills. Former Panther Tre Boston would be the most obvious choice if we were to go into free agency, but I'm not sure he's the long term answer we should be looking for to finally hit on. After DE and FS, I would argue that offensive line (left guard and tackle, especially), LB, nickel CB, and DT are all much more pressing needs than a QB. I could even make the argument that a backup RB to compliment and mimic Christian McCaffrey's skill set and give him a break on the field is more immediately pressing. Our WR group is set. DJ Moore, Curtis Samuel, Jarius Wright, Torrey Smith (if he survives after June 1st), and Chris Hogan is one of the best groups we've had in years. Our tight end group is set, assuming Greg Olsen's foot is truly healed as he has said. My point is, the Panthers seem very confident that Cam Newton is good to go, and there is no reason to think they are wrong. They need to load up on positions of need while he has so many young, cheap, explosive weapons right now to play with, which leads me to my last point. 3. If we are going to spend high on a QB, it better be THE QB of the future. Let's be real. If Cam goes down, our team's season is done. I know we just saw Philadelphia defy all odds and win a Super Bowl with their backup QB, but that is infinitely more the exception than the rule. Outside of Nick Foles, who else has done this? Tom Brady? Tom Brady is the most "exception-to-the-rule" example in the world: a 6th round nobody who is playing under the greatest coach and team the NFL has ever seen, while also being the greatest quarterback/winner to ever play. It was truly a perfect recipe for success...but that is just two extreme examples. You might as well play the lottery and hope for the same kind of outcome. At this stage, wasting high draft picks on a QB to either be the backup or the potential heir down the road is just hurting your chances at winning with your proven MVP-caliber, "face of the franchise" superstar QB right NOW. For the first time in his career, Cam Newton has dynamic, explosive, and potentially dominant weapons to play with. An offensive core of Christian McCaffrey, Dj Moore, Curtis Samuel, Greg Olsen, Jarius Wright, and Ian Thomas are all a perfect blend of game-breaking and efficiently reliable. The offense Norv Turner has created is perfectly tailored to a QB like Cam. The offensive line, if they can stay healthy, has tons of talent right now and may offer his best protection since 2015. With Ron Rivera calling what could be a hybrid defense next year, Luke Kuechly, Kawaan Short, and Mario Addison being the proven veterans with star power, and with the expected, continued improvement of players like Donte Jackson, Bradberry, Eric Reid, and Shaq Thompson (fingers crossed), the Panthers are 1-2 big impact draft hits away from being a top tier team. My Final Thoughts: It would simply be unfair and reckless to waste draft capital on a quarterback that would essentially just be insurance. Is it risky to think this way? It just depends on how you think, I suppose. My philosophy on drafting quarterbacks is this: if you're going to draft one, draft THE guy you think is your immediate future. Spend high and go all out to get the best player at the most important position in the game. The Panthers are nowhere near in a dire situation at QB. If it's strictly for a backup role, would anyone we draft be instantly better than what we could have in Kyle Allen, and even if they were an upgrade, isn't it much smarter to spend that pick on a player with the same caliber of talent at a position that isn't so vital to a team as quarterback? And if it's for the future down the road, would the team be giving up on Cam Newton prematurely and thus sabotaging his best chance at continued success as it currently stands? Would the team be selling itself short and being negligent, even, by not doing everything possible to land the BEST option available to them at that position? 9 times out of 10, if you're going to groom a quarterback to be the true successor, you find that guy in the 1st round after meticulous planning and with conviction. You do it as your current guy is in the twilight of his career or the end of the road can be seen, like an Aaron Rodgers or Patrick Mahomes situation. You go all in with that guy, because that guy will basically determine your future success. The Panthers need to be all in with Cam Newton. Stop fussing over the "but what if" and "but down the road!" nightmare scenarios. The overwhelming odds are that if Cam goes down, we go down for the immediate future anyway. Neither Kyle Allen nor our random mid round pick rookie QB will be our savior. Until next time...and next week's draft!.. KEEP POUNDING
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