Carolina Panthers, NFL

Panthers experiencing an EPIC Superbowl Hangover  

You know that hangover when you can feel the pulse is in your head and you just want to curl up in a ball because your eyes are so sensitive to light. That’s how I would describe the play of the 2016 Carolina Panthers. It’s been absolutely atrocious opposing quarterbacks are playing seven on seven against our defense on top of that we become colorblind and have butter fingers. Those factors add up to a 1-5 record and the faintest chance to reach the playoffs at this rate.

This is coming off a magical year where it seemed we couldn’t do anything wrong with a 15-1 and looked primed to claim the franchise’s first championship but we ran into Von Miller and the Denver Bronco defense. This just proves it’s hard to win consistently in the NFL matter how good you were a new year can change everything you think you know about the National Football League and the Panthers are learning a brutal lesson about that.

 

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The Norman Effect

The first thing people are going to talk about is the team’s gamble to rescind the franchise tag of all Pro cornerback Josh Norman. That gamble has definitely not paid off our secondary is like Swiss cheese there are so many holes with two rookies on each side and they are getting schooled.

I backed our decision to let Norman walk the reason why was our front seven wreaked havoc, creating money pockets forcing bad throws allowing Norman and other defenders to take advantage. This year our defensive line is like where’s Waldo all of our pass rush has completely disappeared, forcing Sean McDermott are defensive coordinator to bring extra guys on blitzes causing a weakness to become weaker. Our defense has gone from number six in the league to an atrocious 29th and that fear that opponents had when facing our defense has quickly evaporated now quarterbacks are licking their chops and they are absolutely picking us apart.

While I agree, that Norman is a factor in our struggles we also lost veterans like Charles Tillman, Jared Allen and Cortland Finnegan have played a vital role in the defense of success last year. I think the lack of pass rush has been a bigger factor than the loss of Norman because it’s put even more pressure on the rookies having to cover for so much long has exposed the fact that they are young and don’t know the speed of the NFL. There’s no doubt this gamble has backfired, but you’ve also got to put it on the execution by the players just as much the decision of the organization.

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Under Pressure

The offense has had its share of struggles I think the big reason why is because they understand they have to match the opponent score for score to even feel like they have a chance to pick up the victory. Thus causing Newton and Anderson to force things resulting in turnovers and bad decision-making. The team had a league-leading +20 turnover ratio in 2015 and now has a terrible -7 ratio giving opponents short fields and more possessions digging deeper holes for us to come back from.

Not only that, our offensive line has been less than desirable, causing quarterback Cam Newton to run for his life and he has suffered a concussion this season because of that. Ultimately that cost us a big chance of victory against division rival Tampa Bay. Additionally the wide receivers haven’t made the plays to help Newton. We look to be pressing and there have been way too many negative things on the offensive side of the ball despite our ability to put up points. If we can get healthy and somehow keep Cam Newton upright we can put up points we proved that it’s just a matter of stopping the opponent that’s been the issue.

Honestly we’ve looked absolutely terrible and frankly deserve to be where we are at 1-5. However, we’ve lost three games by field goals a missed 52-yard field goal as time expired in game one. A game-winning field goal by Tampa as time expired and a game winning field goal with 11 seconds left against the Saints. The reality is we are those three field goals away from possibly having a 4-2 record. That’s the way the NFL goes and it’s been gut-wrenching to watch, but it is what it is. To be honest, I’m losing a little confidence in Graham Gano he’s missed 2 extra points and three key field goals that could’ve changed the result of games.

The season has no doubt been disappointing, but it’s not over yet the Kansas City Chiefs were able to overcome this start and make the playoffs so anything can happen, but we have to play with a sense of urgency and desperate the rest of the way to give us the best chance possible to make the playoffs.

I just want people to stop playing the blame game we haven’t played good football at all in the execution from the coaches and the players has been subpar and that’s why we are struggling not because Josh Norman isn’t a Panther anymore. I bleed black and blue every season no matter the circumstances even if I’m frustrated that’s what we have to do Keep Pounding!!

 

 

 

 

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NFL

Carolina Panthers doing it old school

The Carolina Panthers are off to the best start in franchise history at 6-0, a season that has seen this team battle through adversity and doubters. The Panthers are doing it old school with a smash mouth brand of football wearing down opponents and are just a pain to face. The running game has been phenomenal through the first six games and allowed us to play this brand of football.

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We lead the league in rushing yards with 144.7 yards per game and attempts at just over 33 per game it’s just great to see this team frustrate opponents game after game. The best part about it is it’s not just been one guy it’s been the three-headed monster of Cam Newton, Jonathan Stewart, and Mike Tolbert complementing each other nicely giving opponents many different looks allowing the passing game to open up. Here are the stats for each of them to demonstrate the balance and continuity in the running game. Newton has 54 attempts for 245 yards and four touchdowns on the ground thus far in 2015. Jonathan Stewart has taken advantage of becoming the lead dog out of the backfield, he has 101 for a team-leading 423 yards and two touchdowns he is also accounted for 17 first downs.

Although, Deangelo Williams was our franchise leading rusher I think it’s been great for the team and Stewart not having to split carries and allowing him to get in a rhythm and the coaching staff to establish the running game without having to worry so much about getting them both carriers. Lastly, “Tub of GOO” Mike Tolbert is not only a great blocker, but is like tackling a tree making him a great option in the red zone and even on short screen passes. He has 20 attempts for 92 yards and two touchdowns, one rushing one receiving.

This definitely is the best part of our offense, so far this season a credit to everyone from the offensive line to offensive coordinator Mike Shula, who has been under fire over the last couple of seasons with questionable play calling, but it’s time to give him some credit being innovative with the formations and play calls putting this team in the best position possible to succeed on that side of the ball.

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This team also relies heavily on this great defense that has been built since coach Rivera came to the Queen city. This year has been domination by that group led by the ageless wonder Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly flying all around the field and you add budding stars in Josh Norman, Shaq Thompson, Kawann short and many more. Just a nightmare for opposing offenses to face and the last time I checked a good running game and defense will play anywhere a recipe for success the rest of this year and beyond. This team is very special and live by the saying KEEP POUNDING Sam Mills would be proud! Go Panthers!

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Carolina Panthers, NFL

A Panther for life

The Panthers have had a great off-season in my opinion. They have been able to address weaknesses that were exposed during last season. They have also been able to upgrade the special teams and offensive line with low-cost veteran players that have been around the block and are proven. They have also been able to sign quarterback Cam Newton and linebacker Thomas Davis to contract extensions. These two players are field generals and I don’t know where this team would be without them. This off-season shows that the Panthers understand loyalty and are doing everything they can to put another winning product out on the football field.

Thomas Davis Impact on Panthers

Thomas Davis signed a two-year $18 million dollar contract extension a few weeks ago, ensuring that he will be a Panther for his entire career!! In sports that is rare nowadays to see a player stick with the team that drafted him, with the amount of money that is thrown at players’ faces these days. I’m glad Thomas Davis decided to stick around the Queen city because he would be a pain in the neck to face as an opponent!! It’s a relief to know we won’t have to worry about that. Loyalty is just one of the many qualities Thomas Davis has.

Another quality that Davis exemplifies is never giving up, because his career has not been smooth sailing. He has torn his ACL three times; yes I said three times. Many athletes struggle to come back from one ACL tear and be as effective as they were before the injury. That is not the case for Thomas Davis at all, he has come back from all three injuries and coming back stronger than ever. A remarkable feat for anyone to overcome, but he had the best attitude and wasn’t going to take no for an answer. That’s just another thing that makes you love Thomas Davis even more.

Through all that adversity he has become one of the best linebackers in the NFL today! The stats prove that in his 11-year career, he has totaled 739 tackles, 17 1/2 sacks and six interceptions those are the stats that will give opposing quarterbacks nightmares and they will be happy when he decides to hang them up. He not only lets his play do the talking on the football field, he is a great leader and is not afraid to tell you when you messed up or give you advice to get better. He is definitely the full package on the field with his play and leadership a career that many would envy!

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He not only does it on the field, but he does it off as well. Helping the Carolinas thrive with he and his family’s charitable organizations, that allows families and children to have a place to learn and develop a bright future for themselves. He is so kind with his time and wants to see kids succeed; he will do anything to help foster that. For that he was awarded the 2015 Man of the year award and it couldn’t have happened to a better person.

As you can see, Thomas Davis is not only a great player but also a better person. I’m so glad he has worn the blue and black while doing it!! He is one of my favorite players and I’m glad he will be in the Queen city for the rest of his illustrious career!!!! Go Panthers!!!

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