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Found 167 results

  1. Now that the NY Jets have traded for WR Brandon Marshall, it seems they will be releasing former Seahawks and Vikings WR Percy Harvin soon. Harvin has been in the NFL for six seasons. During his four seasons in Minnesota, he averaged 70 catches a season. Clearly he is a proven NFL receiver. However, last season Harvin was traded from the Seahawks to the Jets for being a problem in the locker room. "As for why Seattle traded Harvin, several sources confirmed to ESPN.com's Terry Blount that the team had grown tired of the receiver's act, believing he had become too much of a destructive force in the locker room. In addition, two team sources said Harvin had physical confrontations in the locker room with teammates, especially on the offensive side of the ball." The Carolina Panthers released Steve Smith last season for similar reasons, in what may be the most controversial move Panthers GM Dave Gettleman has made to date. So here is the million dollar question, will the Panthers be willing to overlook the infractions of a free agent wide receiver if he can help improve the offense? What say you?
  2. <div>The following is my best guess at what will transpire in rounds 1-3 of the NFL Draft next month as far as the Panthers are concerned. </div><div> </div><div>All three picks are not only the best players available, but also players whose football talents line up perfectly with what the Carolina Panthers do on the field. </div><div> </div><div>So, without further ado... </div><div> </div><div> </div><div> </div><div><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>2015 Panthers Mock Rounds 1-3</strong></span></div><div> </div><div> </div><div><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Round 1 , Pick 25</strong></span></div><div> </div><div><strong>Landon Collins - S - Alabama</strong></div><div> </div><div>Gettleman practices what he preaches in picking the best player available, but also fills a need. Landon Collins is one of those guys that is projected high but could drop in the first round. He ran a good 40, but other than that had a rather average combine. He won’t drop out of the first round, but he could drop to the mid 20s where the Panthers will select him if available. </div><div> </div><div>Collins is a prototype Ron Rivera strong safety. He punishes runners and has sound tackling technique. He is the best run defense safety in the draft, and as Dave Gettleman always says, you have to first defend the run to be able to rush the passer. </div><div> </div><iframe width="300" height="169" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rrewHLPO1b8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><div> </div><div><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Round 2, Pick 57</strong></span></div><div> </div><div><strong>Jake Fisher - OT - Oregon</strong></div><div> </div><div>Fisher had arguably helped himself the most at the combine out of all offensive tackles, which will bump him up into the second round. Fisher isn’t the physical stud that the first round tackles are, but he is a true football player. The Ducks offensive line performance decreased drastically without Fisher in the lineup. Throw in the fact that he is accustomed to protecting a mobile QB, and this is a no brainer for the Panthers. </div><div> </div><iframe width="300" height="169" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HPisipQR_gU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><div> </div><div><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Round 3, Pick 89</strong></span></div><div> </div><div><strong>Nick O’Leary - TE - FSU</strong></div><div> </div><div>If there is one thing Ron Rivera and Mike Shula love, its an H-Back. A guy that can line up as a tight end or fullback opens up plenty of matchups that would be favorable to the Panthers. They tried this with both Ed Dickson and Brandon Williams last season, but had limited success. Nick O’Leary is the best H-Back this year’s draft and a good value in the late 3rd round.</div><div> </div><div>In addition, even though he is not much of a deep threat, he is a reliable receiver with solid hands for Cam Newton to target in mid to short yardage situations. He was a safety outlet for Winston at FSU, he can be one for Newton in Carolina. </div><div> </div><iframe width="300" height="169" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/mg2QmmGlGY8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  3. The following is my best guess at what will transpire in rounds 1-3 of the NFL Draft next month as far as the Panthers are concerned. All three picks are not only the best players available, but also players whose football talents line up perfectly with what the Carolina Panthers do on the field. So, without further ado... 2015 Panthers Mock Rounds 1-3 Round 1 , Pick 25 Landon Collins - S - Alabama Gettleman practices what he preaches in picking the best player available, but also fills a need. Landon Collins is one of those guys that is projected high but could drop in the first round. He ran a good 40, but other than that had a rather average combine. He won’t drop out of the first round, but he could drop to the mid 20s where the Panthers will select him if available. Collins is a prototype Ron Rivera strong safety. He punishes runners and has sound tackling technique. He is the best run defense safety in the draft, and as Dave Gettleman always says, you have to first defend the run to be able to rush the passer. Round 2, Pick 57 Jake Fisher - OT - Oregon FIsher had arguably helped himself the most at the combine out of all offensive tackles, which will bump him up into the second round. Fisher isn’t the physical stud that the first round tackles are, but he is a true football player. The Ducks offensive line performance decreased drastically without Fisher in the lineup. Throw in the fact that he is accustomed to protecting a mobile QB, and this is a no brainer for the Panthers. Round 3, Pick 89 Nick O’Leary - TE - FSU If there is one thing Ron Rivera and Mike Shula love, its an H-Back. A guy that can line up as a tight end or fullback opens up plenty of matchups that would be favorable to the Panthers. They tried this with both Ed Dickson and Brandon Williams last season, but had limited success. Nick O’Leary is the best H-Back this year’s draft and a good value in the late 3rd round. In addition, even though he is not much of a deep threat, he is a reliable receiver with solid hands for Cam Newton to target in mid to short yardage situations. He was a safety outlet for Winston at FSU, he can be one for Newton in Carolina.
  4. Until the NFL announces the 2015 compensatory picks during the NFL owners meeting, I will only be mocking the picks the Panthers have at this point without speculating on how many they may have. Hopefully they can pick up at least an additional fifth rounder. Round 4 Tyler Lockett - WR/PR - Kansas ST The Panthers address their long term punt return issues in the 4th round with this selection. Lockett could be the best punt returner in the draft. He could drop to the late 3rd / early 4th due to concerns over his size. The Panthers may need to trade up to grab him. Good college production and a solid combine performance keeps him from dropping further. Would also compete immediately as a slot receiver. Has quick first steps to get separation. Known as a student of the game with high football IQ. Quality route runner. Would love to see him develop chemistry with Cam Newton. This pick could change should Ginn or another free agent punt returner be signed by the Panthers. Round 5 Lynden Trail - DE - Norfolk St Lynden Trail is a raw NFL project with tremendous upside. Dave Gettleman won't be able to pass up this chance to discover a late round starting defensive end for the Panthers. Gettleman has also shown a willingness to take on projects if the physical upside is there. 6'7 and 270 pounds he has the frame to compete at this level eventually as a defensive end but could contribute immediately on special teams. Look for the Panthers to have him put on ten more pounds through their training regimen. This kid is pure athlete, can also play tight end. Long story short, Gettleman won't be able to stop himself from taking Trail late in the 5th.
  5. Until the NFL announces the 2015 compensatory picks during the NFL owners meeting, I will only be mocking the picks the Panthers have at this point without speculating on how many they may have. Hopefully they can pick up at least an additional fifth rounder. Round 4 Tyler Lockett - WR/PR - Kansas ST The Panthers address their long term punt return issues in the 4th round with this selection. Lockett could be the best punt returner in the draft. He could drop to the late 3rd / early 4th due to concerns over his size. The Panthers may need to trade up to grab him. Good college production and a solid combine performance keeps him from dropping further. Would also compete immediately as a slot receiver. Has quick first steps to get separation. Known as a student of the game with high football IQ. Quality route runner. Would love to see him develop chemistry with Cam Newton. This pick could change should Ginn or another free agent punt returner be signed by the Panthers. Round 5 Lynden Trail - DE - Norfolk St Lynden Trail is a raw NFL project with tremendous upside. Dave Gettleman won't be able to pass up this chance to discover a late round starting defensive end for the Panthers. Gettleman has also shown a willingness to take on projects if the physical upside is there. 6'7 and 270 pounds he has the frame to compete at this level eventually as a defensive end but could contribute immediately on special teams. Look for the Panthers to have him put on ten more pounds through their training regimen. This kid is pure athlete, can also play tight end. Long story short, Gettleman won't be able to stop himself from taking Trail late in the 5th.
  6. According to Ian Rapoport, NFL wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and Randall Cobb will not be franchised by their respective teams. Panthers fans have targeted both receivers as possible additions in Carolina, but that outcome appears to be highly unlikely. Jeremy Maclin and the Philadelphia Eagles continue to work on a deal. Neither party appear to be interested in parting ways. Randall Cobb will probably not play for the Green Bay Packers next year, but as a top dollar free agent prospect he falls out of the Dave Gettleman budget. I'll spare you the "Tiffanys" label. Don't expect either of these players to be in Carolina this season.
  7. According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers have begun contract negotiations. Apparently, both sides are happy to let the dust settle on the upcoming Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson contracts before talks get too serious. Then, they will use those contracts as a reference for Newton's upcoming deal. Don't be shocked if Cam Newton insists on more money than both Luck and Wilson, as Newton was a much larger part of any success his offensive unit had. He may have a point, Cam Newton and his legs are a big reason that the anemic Panthers offense led by Mike Shula scored any points at all. Don't expect a deal to come any time soon, but the fact that both sides are in long term talks should be comforting enough for Panthers fans.
  8. The most important measurable for Offensive Tackles in the NFL Combine, in my opinion, is the shuttle drill. This drill incorporates getting out of the 3 point stance, lateral movement, and pivoting. All things that translate well at their position. 40 yard dash and bench press... not so much. If you want to get a glimpse of what these kids can do physically that translated to the NFL, watch the shuttle. Here are the top 5 shuttle performers from the combine.... Jake Fisher - Oregon - 4.33 seconds T.J. Clemmings - Pittsburgh - 4.54 seconds Laurence Gibson - Virginia Tech - 4.56 seconds Ty Sambrailo Colorado State - 4.58 seconds Rob Crisp - NC State - 4.6 seconds (As a reference, Byron Bell's shuttle time was 4.76) There are two guys here I think the Carolina Panthers may target. Jake Fisher nailed this drill, demolishing everyone else. You may remember that I talked up Jake Fisher last month as a guy I would like to see the Panthers target. At the time he looked to be about a 3rd round pick. He may move up now in to the late second round, exactly where the Panthers will be picking. This would allow the Panthers to possibly pick up another weapon for Cam Newton in round 1 of the draft. Rob Crisp is another guy to keep an eye on. I first noticed him in the NC State v Florida St game this year. This kid is flying completely under the radar. He is 6'7 with a 34.5 inch arm length. For him to perform that well in the shuttle at his height is pretty remarkable. Before the combine he was looking like a UDFA... he may be drafted now. The Panthers could spend a seventh rounder on him, and I would be happy if they did.
  9. It is obvious to even the most casual fan that the Carolina Panthers need a major upgrade at left tackle in 2015. Not so clear, however, is where to find that player. I decided to take the top ten left tackles, as graded by Pro Football Focus, and see if a bit of profiling could help determine where elite left tackles come from and how they got there. (Yes, I am aware PFF is not the absolute truth in terms of performance, but for this exercise it is good enough) Turns out, the results were a mixed bag. Jason Peters - Philadelphia Eagles - Arkansas - UDFA 2004 - 6'4 328 Peters spent some time on the Buffalo practice squad early, was cut once, and eventually earned time at right tackle. He started at right tackle for the Bills in 2006. In 2007 he was a pro bowl left tackle. He has been a stud ever since even after an achilles injury in 2012. Andrew Whitworth - Cincinatti Bengals - LSU - Round 2 (55) 2006 - 6'7 334 Whitworth spent most of his time at left guard until 2009, three years after being drafted late in round two. He then moved to left tackle and performed well. Joe Thomas - Cleveland Browns - Wisconsin - Round 1 (3) 2007 - 6'6 313 Joe Thomas started at LT from the moment he was drafted third overall and performed well ever since. Joe Stayley - San Francisco 49ers - Central Michigan - Round 1 (28) 2007 6'5 306 Joe Stayley started at right tackle after he was taken late in the first round of 2007 where he performed well. He started at left tackle one year later in 2008 and had mixed results. He didn't come into his own at left tackle until 2012 (5 years after being drafted). Kelvin Beachum - Pittsburgh Steelers - Southern Methodist - Round 7 (248) 2012 6'3 306 Kelvin Beachum saw some playing time at right tackle after he was drafted in 2012, where he performed poorly. In 2013 he moved over to left tackle due to injuries along the line. He actually performed adequately then. Beachum started every game in 2014 and had positive numbers in every game. Tyron Smith - Dallas Cowboys - USC - Round 1 (9) 2011 - 6'5 307 Tyron Smith started at right tackle for the entire 2011 season where he performed well. He started at left tackle in 2012 and had mixed results. In 2013 he performed much better and ended with high ratings. Donald Penn - Oakland Raiders - Utah State - UDFA 2006 - 6'4 317 Domald Penn too over at left tackle in 2007 due to injuries for Tampa Bay and performed well. He was an above average left tackle from then on. He had his best season as a pro in 2014 with Oakland. Branden Albert - Miami Dolphins - Virginia - Round 1 (15) 2008 - 6'6 309 Branden Albert started at left tackle right of the gate in 2008 and has had mixed results until 2010 when he started to improve. He was having the best season of his career in 2014 until he tore his ACL and MCL in week 10. Jared Veldheer - Arizona Cardinals - Hillsdale - Round 3 (69) 2010 - 6'6 315 Jared Veldheer was actually slated to start at center, but was moved to left tackle his rookie year. He won the starting job by midseason. Duane Brown - Houston Texans - Virginia Tech - Round 1 (26) 2008 - 6'4 315 Duane Brown split time at left tackle and ended with poor grades overall his rookie season. He started performing well in 2010, two years after being drafted, So what information can we draw from this if the Panthers aspire to have a top ten left tackle? I would say.... - If you have a top ten pick, you might get a stud left tackle right out of the gate. Unfortunately, the Panthers pick much later - Half of the top ten left tackles are first round draft picks. That is a pretty strong trend. - Three of the top ten left tackles are either a 7th round pick or undrafted, emphasizing the fact that once you leave the first round... there is little difference in the rest of the prospects. Whats the difference in a 4th round tackle and a UDFA tackle? Not much, apparently. - The left tackles taken near the Panthers selection either played at right tackle or struggled a bit their rookie year at left, but ended up being well worth the wait. Luckily for the Panthers, this years draft is said to be especially deep for offensive tackles. It is very possible that a top 15 pick in other years could fall to 26 this year, increasing the chances for a franchise left tackle. - Jason Peters early career resembles that of Panthers right tackle Mike Remmers.... (just sayin), So the Panthers might actually have their future LT on the roster already, crazier things have happened. Remmers played well once he was called upon, just like Peters. Conclusion? It seems like there may be another perfect storm for the Panthers. Last year a top need was receiver, and the best player available was a receiver. This is an ideal scenario. This season the best player on the board could very well be an offensive tackle. If that ends up being the case, the Panthers will pull the trigger on a tackle. From there, it would be wise to start the rookie tackle at right tackle and allow Remmers and possibly a free agent compete for the left tackle position. This arrangement would at the very least be a marked improvement over the Chandler/Bell experiment from last season.
  10. First, when will the compensatory draft picks be announced? While I could not find an exact date for the 2015 NFL compensatory draft picks announcement, I did find when they were announced in previous years. 2013 - March 18 2014 - March 24 These are the Mondays of the week of the NFL Owners Meeting. So it's a safe bet to expect the announcement for the 2015 compensatory draft picks to come on March 23. (The Owners Meeting is March 22-25 this year.) I've seen a lot of information floating around out there about the compensatory draft picks the Carolina Panthers may get. Some say one, some say three. Well, Sport Trac says zero. They posted their projected picks for 2015 and Carolina, much to the dismay of Panthers fans, are projected to receive none. What is more frustrating is the fact that they project the Seattle Seahawks to receive a total of four. However, they did an update and gave Panthers fans some hope for a 5th round selection. Sport Trac goes really in depth about the projections. It's worth a read if it interests you. There will only be 32 picks awarded to the entire NFL. While Carolina could be eligible for picks, they may not be among the top 32 and therefore not awarded to the team. If the Panthers miss out on an extra fifth round selection because of Joe Webb's salary and 2% overall snap count I would be surprised, but it could happen. You will only find speculation floating around out there as the formula that decides compensatory picks isn't made public. So prepare yourself, it is possible (hopefully unlikely) the Panthers will not be receiving any compensatory picks this year.
  11. According to NFL.com and the Charlotte Observer, the Carolina Panthers do not intend on having defensive end Greg Hardy back for the 2015 NFL season. "Greg Hardy is expected to receive significant interest on the free-agent market, but don't expect it to come from the Carolina Panthers." http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000469366/article/are-carolina-panthers-finished-with-greg-hardy It has been the Huddle's understanding that this is the case since training camp of 2014. It was difficult to find any Panthers staff member who thought Hardy may be brought back. The Panthers now allowing their sources to be confirmed in the local established media only solidifies the notion that Greg Hardy will not be a Panther in 2015. Discuss....
  12. It is now being reported on NFL.com that the Panthers will not seek to sign Greg Hardy. There seems to be a lot of confusion and doubt as to why the Carolina Panthers will pass on trying to re-sign Greg Hardy. Casual observers tend to want to point to one reason or another, but as usual the decision is made up of more than one factor. Here is the reasoning, as I see it, in our favorite method of display... the pie chart. COST Believe it or not, signing Greg Hardy to a deal that would allow him to play in 2015 was always doubtful. Dave Gettleman decided to franchise Hardy for a season, hoping it would be enough to keep the Panthers competitive another season while he groomed a possible replacement (see selecting Kony Ealy in round 2). Greg Hardy's salary was never in the books for 2015. With contract negotiations looming for Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly, a long term big money deal for Hardy was a pipe dream from the start, PAST BEHAVIOR The Panthers felt greatly embarrassed by the situation around Greg Hardy and his domestic abuse case. Facilitated by the media, the damage the entire avoidable situation cost the Panthers brand last year was obvious. Seeing the Panthers logo on the national news for a month in association with domestic abuse did damage. After the incident, his strange training camp press conference, interesting tweets, non participation of workouts, god awful rap video, among other questionable acts aren't exactly what the team would have liked to have seen from Hardy. These things put together show an employer that maybe a lesson was not learned. FUTURE DOUBT This is the "fool me once" dilemma. I don't think anyone could say with a straight face they are positive Greg Hardy will have no more issues in his future. A common comment heard about this is a "behavior clause" in his contract would remedy the problem. The issue is, these clauses do not repair brand damage that is done, which in the long term can be much more costly to and organization. They also do not repair the embarrassment and distraction a team is forced to deal with in the media. COURT OUTCOME The court outcome here is irrelevant. Mainly because this entire situation was avoidable. All that is required to stay out of the national spotlight for negative reasons is good judgement. Yes, people make mistakes. Should Hardy be given a second chance if found innocent? Sure, but not on the Panthers squad. That ship has sailed.
  13. Dallas is in quite a conundrum this off season. They are in the rare position of having two starting caliber right tackles on the team, but both will be free agents come March 10. Doug Free was the starter most of the 2014 season with the Cowboys until a foot injury sidelined him. Then, Jermey Parnell stepped in and played just as well as Free, including starting the two playoff games. It is doubtful that Dallas will sign both players, as both know now that they are starters in the NFL. So one of these guys will be available. Most agree Free is the better player, but not by much. Parnell is 3 years younger, the Cowboys may go with youth. The Panthers look like they have a solid player in Mike Remmers, but there is no depth at tackle on the squad. The idea of bringing in another right tackle to compete, or possibly even toying with either at left tackle may be enticing to Dave Gettleman.
  14. Dallas is in quite a conundrum this off season. They are in the rare position of having two starting caliber right tackles on the team, but both will be free agents come March 10. Doug Free was the starter most of the 2014 season with the Cowboys until a foot injury sidelined him. Then, Jermey Parnell stepped in and played just as well as Free, including starting the two playoff games. It is doubtful that Dallas will sign both players, as both know now that they are starters in the NFL. So one of these guys will be available. Most agree Free is the better player, but not by much. Parnell is 3 years younger, the Cowboys may go with youth. The Panthers look like they have a solid player in Mike Remmers, but there is no depth at tackle on the squad. The idea of bringing in another right tackle to compete, or possibly even toying with either at left tackle may be enticing to Dave Gettleman.
  15. Thomas Davis accepted his Walter Payton Man of the Year Award at the 4th annual NFL honors ceremony on Saturday evening. Davis fought back tears as he challenged the NFL and its players to provide more positivity for the media to write about. Davis receives two standing ovations during his speech. Davis has been a favorite for Panthers fans for years, many feel this recognition now is long overdue.
  16. With the next significant NFL date being the start of Free Agency on March 10, I thought I would take a look at the NFC South and see what teams are dealing with. Carolina has the fewest amount of Unrestricted Free Agents in the NFC South at 11. The Atlanta Falcons have the most at a whopping 19. I am not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing for their new coaching staff. It may help a great deal in molding the team they want. Here are the Unrestricted Free Agents by team... Atlanta Falcons - 19 UFA Osi Umenyiora Sean Weatherspoon Kroy Biermann Matt Bryant Jacquizz Rodgers Corey Peters Robert McClain Gabe Carimi Antone Smith Mike Johnson Cliff Matthews T.J. Yates Josh Wilson Javier Arenas Dwight Lowery Eric Weems Bear Pascoe Charles Godfrey Jonathan Scott Carolina Panthers - 11 UFA Greg Hardy Byron Bell Dwan Edwards Colin Cole Chase Blackburn Joe Webb Ed Dickson Kevin Matthews Garry Williams James Dockery Chris Scott New Orleans Saints - 13 UFA Patrick Robinson Mark Ingram Luke McCown Ramon Humber Parys Haralson Jonathan Goodwin Cheta Ozougwu Robert Meachem Shayne Graham Brandon Deaderick Jamarca Sanford Moise Fokou Greg Romeus Tampa Bay - 12 UFA Adrian Clayborn Mike Jenkins Mason Foster Dane Fletcher Da'Quan Bowers Luke Stocker Oniel Cousins Major Wright Larry English Jason Williams Lawrence Sidbury Greg Ellingson info provided by sport trac
  17. I realize many want to quickly forget the Friday night game in Foxboro, and while much of the game can (and should) be thrown out, there are a few things worth mentioning and remembering. No one should ever question the skill level or importance of Luke Kuechly to the Panthers defense. Over the past two seasons, media voices have said he has benefited from an excellent defensive line and simply pads his numbers based on that fact. However, when Kuechly left the field on Friday night, there was a huge drop in defensive performance. I noticed Luke was wearing extra padding on his right wrist and thumb. Kuechly usually does wear wrist braces, but this was something else. It looks as though he may have seen limited play as a precaution. See for yourself... Star Lotulelei was one of the bright spots on defense. He posted a couple of tackle, an assist, and this hurry on QB Tom Brady. Another bright spot was rookie Kelvin Benjamin who had five receptions. I noticed a familiar face tackling Benjamin. Former Panthers linebacker James Anderson (55 below) was signed by the Patriots in June. Benjamin continues to improve and refine his game as the preseason progresses.Things like pointing our the line of scrimmage marker and making sure he is lining up absolutely perfect shows he understands how much of his position are about the small details. The Patriots tried shutting Benjamin down by placing veteran CB Darelle Revis on him. The result was an 11 yard reception and a first down. Jonathan Stewart once again had the best performance of the running backs, but that isn't saying much considering the poor performance by the entire offense that night. But Stewart did manage to almost get 3 yards per carry, while Deangelo Williams averages less than 2. Stewart is strong enough to power through initial contact.... ...and nimble footed enough to avoid it. Cam Newton had a rough night, but still managed to post a respectable 88.2 QB rating. I wonder what his rating would have been without Kelvin Benjamin on the field. Cam was under pressure for 8 of his 17 snaps. The most troubling statistic is that Cam was only blitzed twice by the Patriots defense. That means the Patriots were able to apply pressure 6 times from their base defense. Not good. On one awkward fall, Cam strained a back muscle. Noticing he was unable to get up out of the huddle, Greg Olsen motioned for a trainer. Along the sidelines, Ron Rivera was not satisfied with Cam's performance. Rivera has said Cam will play in the last preseason game. He needs as many snaps as possible with his completely new receivers before the season starts. Thomas Davis posted six tackles on the night. While others are getting up, walking away, Davis remained intensely focused on the first down marker, making sure his man didn't get there. Tom Brady was free to throw the ball all night long, only being pressured four times by the defense. Only one of those pressure came when the Panthers played their base defense. For a team built on applying pressure with only four down lineman, that is not a good showing. If there is one thing Brady does extremely well and Cam needs to improve on it is moving in the pocket while under pressure but still making the throw. Brady is a master at moving his feet just enough to stay in the protection, but never taking his eyes off his receivers. The turf at Gillette Stadium is very soft, packed with plenty of small rubber granules that act as soil. Kicks resemble a golf swing as the rubber divots fly. Brenton Bersin was targeted twice, had two receptions, and racked up 42 yards. People laugh when Bersin is mentioned as a number two receiver, but I don't understand why. He does everything well, from catching.... ... to run blocking. People overlook the fact that Bersin is 6'3 and 210 pounds. Bigger and stronger than Brandon Lafell. At the end of the night, the entire Panther bench looked deflated. Notice all of the pursed lips..... Psychologists will tell you that particular facial expression means the patient is feeling unsure, frustrated, or disappointed. I'd say that sounds about right.
  18. Who: Carolina Panthers vs Kansas City Chiefs Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte NC When: 8:00pm TV: FOX Radio: 1110WBT Twitter: Follow @CarolinaHuddle for tweets from the sidelines starting an hour before kickoff. The Carolina Huddle Chat Room will be open during the game. Players to watch: Cam Newton: Newton has been running in practice and appears to be 100%. I don't expect him to run tonight however. Look for him to throw the ball away to avoid contact with defensive players. At least, I hope he does. Philly Brown: If Brown can control all punts well and get a nice gain or two, he will solidify his place on the roster. Kony Ealy: Ealy was back at practice on Thursday. If he plays tonight it will be interesting to see how he builds on last week's impressive performance Offensive Line: Can they improve on the poor run blocking last week? Jonathan Stewart: After sitting much of training camp, can he provide the spark in the offense's running game and remain healthy?
  19. Joe Webb joined the Carolina Panthers in March of 2014, presumably as a stand in for Cam Newton. While Newton recovered from surgery, Webb could run the same plays in OTA's and training camp. Webb is every bit as elusive as Cam in the pocket and can also run the read option. Unfortunately, the comparisons end there. Webb has struggled greatly throwing the ball, especially in camp when facing the Panthers first and second string defense. There has been much talk in the media about Joe Webb being kept on as a third quarterback. It is not uncommon for the Panthers to keep three quarterbacks, although David Gettleman ended that trend last season with the release of Jimmy Clausen. Clausen is now looking like the second string QB for the Chicago Bears. For comparison sake, Jimmy Clausen, even though he was released, performed better last year in training camp and the 2013 preseason for the Panthers than Joe Webb has in 2014. This media chatter stems from David Gettleman not committing publicly to a two quarterback roster. Smart on Gettleman's part, because stating only two quarterbacks will be kept has zero upside. The only thing it would do is demoralize the two quarterbacks on the roster not named Newton or Anderson. It is a given than Newton and Anderson are on the team. Any mention of only having two quarterbacks is essentially telling Joe Webb to pack his bags. With three preseason games left to play, that would be anti-productive. Keeping Webb hungry is in the best interest of the Panthers, who want to get a close look at all of their young receivers. It is also in Webb's best interest, as he is auditioning for other NFL and CFL teams. This year the Panthers have a good number of young players with high upside on the cusp of making the roster. Philly Brown, Marcus Lucas, Darrin Reaves to name a few. Keeping a third quarterback, who would remain on the inactive list for the vast majority of the games if not all of them, will lessen the Panthers chances of developing a young player in a position of real need. In short, I am not buying into the three quarterback talk. When all is said and done, I feel there will be two quarterbacks on the roster.
  20. As you all know, Peter King recently published an article where he discussed the maturation of Cam Newton. After spending time interviewing Luke Kuechly on the record one on one, King decided to write about an off the record discussion centered on Cam Newton. It recently occurred to me that Peter King completely missed the opportunity to discuss an actual maturation example in a player. That player is Luke Kuechly. What? Luke Kuechly has matured? Hasn't he always been a mature player? Well, yes and no. For some players maturation means developing into a quality starter. For others, it means developing into a team leader. In 2012, Luke Kuechly came into the league as "pro ready" as any college player could be. Still, he was a rookie, and rookies need mentors. Former Panthers middle linebacker Jon Beason was that mentor for Luke. Beason, who missed most of the season due to injury, took the time to mentor his eventual replacement. In fact, Panthers fans should thank Beason for not only his play on the field, but also the accelerated development of Kuechly. During Luke's rookie season, Beason predicted to me that Kuechly would be a great player in this league. Fast forward to 2014, the student is now the teacher. During the Friday night Bills preseason game, Luke was coaching up his crew on the sidelines well into the 4th quarter. Kuechly has developed his own unique leadership style, different from Jon Beason's but just as effective. Panthers linebacker Chase Blackburn recently described it. "Fantastic. Quiet most of the time, but when it comes time to talk his words are powerful because he talks so little" Blackburn remarked. "He leads with his play. How he practices, how he prepares, and how he plays the game." Kuechly has become the leader that every franchise in the league would love to have. Quiet but powerful, leading by example. These are the leaders that make every player around them better. Now that is an actual maturation of a player worthy of discussion.
  21. By now you have seen the amazing touchdown grab by Kelvin Benjamin. After stepping on the back of a defender's foot, he stumbled, recovered, and curled the ball to his chest just before he hit the ground. You can watch the video here.... That was probably the single most impressive touchdown catch in several years.... and it was only his first game. There are some things you may have missed, however. When asked about the difference in his catching ability from college to pros, Kelvin replied "You catch the ball with your eyes". That is one thing I have noticed both in camp and now during a game. Kelvin always has laser focus on the ball. "People think you catch the ball with your hands, but its your eyes." Kelvin Benjamin I did not think it was possible to overthrow Kelvin, but Derek Anderson (under heavy pressure) managed to. Still, Kelvin almost was able to bring in a terribly overthrown ball. "Its football, that happens sometimes" Kelvin remarked. At one point, Buffalo Bills corner and former Gamecock Stephon Gilmore was tasked with pressing Benjamin at the line. The result was Gilmore being thrown to the ground as Benjamin effortlessly completed his route. The last place a NFL defensive back wants to be just after the ball is snapped is on his back. It's not a good look. Keep in mind Gilmore is a respectable six foot one inch corner. Along the sidelines, Kelvin Benjamin stayed focused on the game. When others on the team were enjoying more lighthearted discussions with their fellow Panthers, Benjamin studied the game both on the field and reviewing the new and improved video screens. Coaches have remarked positively on just how "coachable" Kelvin is. I am trying to put aside notions of yet another Panthers rookie of the year, as such things are a bit premature. I'm not sure how much longer I can hold out.
  22. Tonight the Carolina Panthers take on the Buffalo Bills in the first preseason game of the season. Expect Bank of America Stadium to be half full of transplanted Buffalo fans who gloat about how great Buffalo is but would never actually move back there. Kickoff: 7:30pm Weather: Chance of rain TV: WCCB Radio: 1110WBT Follow @CarolinaHuddle on twitter for live tweets from the sidelines before and after the game. The Huddle Chatroom will be open during the game for out of towners to keep up live with the action. I don't expect Cam Newton to play. Derek Anderson will play the first series or two with the first string. The most interesting action of the night for die hard fans will come in the second half. Young prospects will be playing their hearts out for a chance at a roster spot. Players to Watch: - Kelvin Benjamin: Will his camp success translate to actual football games? - Marcus Lucas: 6'4 UDFA looking like a gem in Camp - Offensive Line: Will they hold up against the formidable Buffalo attack? - Bene Benwikere: The most promising CB prospect since Chris Gamble. - Kony Ealy: Has had mixed reviews in camp, is he more of a gameday player? Please use this thread to post your general thoughts throughout the day and during the game.
  23. Tonight the Carolina Panthers take on the Buffalo Bills in the first preseason game of the season. Expect Bank of America Stadium to be half full of transplanted Buffalo fans who gloat about how great Buffalo is but would never actually move back there. Kickoff: 7:30pm Weather: Chance of rain TV: WCCB Radio: 1110WBT Follow @CarolinaHuddle on twitter for live tweets from the sidelines before and after the game. The Huddle Chatroomwill be open during the game for out of towners to keep up live with the action. I don't expect Cam Newton to play. Derek Anderson will play the first series or two with the first string. The most interesting action of the night for die hard fans will come in the second half. Young prospects will be playing their hearts out for a chance at a roster spot. Players to Watch: - Kelvin Benjamin: Will his camp success translate to actual football games? - Marcus Lucas: 6'4 UDFA looking like a gem in Camp - Offensive Line: Will they hold up against the formidable Buffalo attack? - Bene Benwikere: The most promising CB prospect since Chris Gamble. - Kony Ealy: Has had mixed reviews in camp, is he more of a gameday player? Please use this thread to post your general thoughts throughout the day and during the game. Click here to view the article
  24. Carolina Panthers rookie defensive end Kony Ealy has had mixed reviews in camp. Ealy spent the first week looking out of place, unable to match up well against even the third string offensive line. Since then, Ealy has made progress. Progress is exactly what you want to see from a rookie. I asked Head Coach Ron Rivera his thoughts on Ealy's performance. "I thought Kony showed up" Rivera said. "He applied some pressure on the outside. He a did nice job of getting in the fold on the bootleg. Made a couple nice knifing tackles on some runs. He made some mistakes obviously that will get corrected, but he showed why we drafted him." "I'm very pleased of the effort we got from him today." Rivera added. Defensive ends rarely make an impact their rookie season. Starting veterans Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy also went through transitional periods from the college ranks to the pros. It is expected. What coaches are looking for from Ealy is progress and the occasional flash of what he can grow to be. In this regard, Ealy is showing exactly what the coaches want to see. "It's been a tough battle for him just getting used to the way we do things." Rivera remarked. "He came through for us today." Ron Rivera was not the only one who noticed the improvements Ealy showed on Friday night. As Ealy came off the field after showing real effort in a goal line defensive stand, Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis was sure to let Ealy know his efforts were noticed. If Kony Ealy's play was good enough for Thomas Davis's attention, it should most certainly be good enough for yours.
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