Tag:Carolina Panthers
Posted on: August 25, 2011 2:39 pm

Richardson says he doesn't want tattooed Newton

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Well, this is an interesting little video of Panthers owner Jerry Richardson talking to Charlie Rose on the set of his talk show Tuesday. In the short clip below, Rose asks Richardson about No. 1 pick Cam Newton and the process of vetting the quarterback.

Before I get into what Richardson’s comments say about Richardson or about his thoughts about a team owner’s relationship to his most marketable star, here’s what Richardson said:

“He was dressed perfectly. I said, ‘Do you have any tattoos.’ He said, ‘No sir, I don’t have any.’ I said, ‘Do you have any piercings?’ He said, ‘No sir.’ I said, ‘We want to keep it that way.”

Richardson continued with a story about Newton saying he, maybe, wanted to grow out his hair but that Newton’s father quickly put a stop to that.

“I said we want to keep no tattoos, no piercings, and I think you have a very nice hair cut.”

Rose then said Richardson sounded a bit like the no-nonsense Vince Lombardi.

“No,” Richardson said, “I just sound reasonable to me.”

I’m not quite sure how to take Richardson’s comments. On the face of it, he comes off … well … I’m not really sure how to put it. It feels vaguely wrong (or perhaps not so vaguely). On the YouTube clip, the description of the video describes Richardson as acting basically like a slave-owner.

I certainly don’t get that out of this clip.

But I do sense an owner who feels he has to create a marketing star out of Newton and that he realizes it’s probably easier to sell to the mainstream a guy who looks “presentable” without tattoos and piercings. I can’t imagine Richardson feels it’s his right to tell players how they should wear their hair* or whether he can hit up the tattoo parlor on his own time. I imagine, after all, there are plenty of Panthers who have tattoos and who have long hair and who have pierced body parts.

*Unless Richardson subscribes with the philosophy of George Steinbrenner.

But if Richardson wanted to come off looking like anything but a meddling owner who inserts himself into a players’ personal lives and their personal choices, he certainly doesn’t succeed here. If anything, I think, it's just kind of weird.   

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Posted on: August 24, 2011 1:59 pm

Jon Beason has surgery, wants to play in Week 1

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Injuries are not only jeopardizing the likelihood some players will be on the field to start the season, they're are also consecutive-game streaks that could be snapped, too.

The most obvious example: Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, who is still recovering from offseason neck surgery, has made 227 consecutive starts. Then there's linebacker Jon Beason, less prominent, but an integral part of the Panthers defense nonetheless. He underwent surgery on his left foot Tuesday and is expected to miss the rest of the preseason.

Beason signed a five-year, $52 million extension the day before training camp, and has played in all 64 games since the Panthers selected him in the first round of the 2007 draft.

The hope, like Manning and the Colts, is that he'll be ready by Week 1.

"We're still hoping for the opener," Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said, according to the Charlotte Observer. "It was to alleviate the discomfort. As he goes through the rehab portion of it these next few days, then we'll see how he is has he's running around."

The Panthers' Week 1 opponent? The Arizona Cardinals, who are hoping to have one of their best defenders back in time for the game, too.

No word on whether team owner Jerry Richardson has questioned Beason about tats, jewelry or haircuts.

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Posted on: August 19, 2011 7:36 pm

Panthers make Ryan Kalil highest-paid center

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It’s pretty clear the Panther see something special in Ryan Kalil, franchise-tagging him before the lockout and promising to pay him $10.2 million just for this season.

Now, the Panthers won’t need to do that. In fact, Carolina is going to pay him even more money.

As Rapid Reporter Steve Reed writes, the Panthers have signed Kalil to a long-term deal, and according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the new contract is for six years and $49 million (including $28 million guaranteed).

In case you’re not sure Kalil is worth the kind of money that makes him the highest-paid center in the league, remember that he’s been a Pro Bowl selection the past two years and that Carolina needed to make a big investment to the person who is going to help protect -- and snap the ball to -- franchise player Cam Newton for the next few seasons.

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Posted on: August 19, 2011 7:35 pm
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Posted on: August 17, 2011 2:14 pm

Cam Newton will start Friday vs. Dolphins

NewtonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Cam Newton, it’s now your time to be in the spotlight.

OK, you’ve already been in the spotlight quite a bit these past few months. Let’s rephrase. Cam Newton, it’s now your time to make an NFL start.

That was the word Wednesday from Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who said after practice that Newton will start Friday’s game vs. the Dolphins.

That’s via Rapid Reporter Steve Reed, who quotes Rivera saying, “It's pretty much following the line of what we had planned throughout training camp, and that's to go back and forth and back and forth with our guys. It's a good opportunity."

That said, Rivera doesn’t know who will start Carolina’s season opener against the Cardinals. He’s not ready to make THAT decision quite yet. But he started Jimmy Clausen in the preseason opener and then brought Newton in to work with the first-teamers midway through the half, and now, he’s going to do the exact opposite thing Friday.

“We want to make sure everybody gets a chance to play and work with the guys and keep that competition going,” Rivera said.

In that first game, Clausen completed 4 of 7 passes for 69 yards, a touchdown and an interception while Newton’s accuracy was off (he was 8 for 19 for 134 yards). He’s hoping he can make a better impression when he’s the first Panthers quarterback to take the field Friday. And perhaps even solidify his chances of starting the regular season?

“Just know that we have a plan and we're sticking to it,” Rivera said. “And as we go through the process sometime next week, we'll have a real good feel for what we're going to do as we go into the regular season.”

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Posted on: August 16, 2011 10:39 am
Edited on: August 16, 2011 11:02 am

Rivera to name Panthers starter by Bengals game

Posted by Will Brinson

In the third week of the preseason, the Carolina Panthers will face off against the Cincinnati Bengals. Who'll be starting at quarterback for that game isn't just anyone's guess -- it's everyone's guess.

That's because, according to head coach Ron Rivera, the starter for that game will be the Panthers starter for the regular season.

Some folks are saying it should/will be Cam Newton. Others believe it should/will be Jimmy Clausen. There's a tiny Ron Paul-like contingent screaming for Derek Anderson. (OK, I haven't heard them, but surely they're out there.)

For now, Rivera is staying mum on what he's thinking. But give him credit, because he really does seem to have the "only speak in vagaries" thing that was so popular for head coaches prior to Rex Ryan bursting on the scene.

"It's all the same. We're going to continue to do that until we make that decision," Rivera said, per Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer.
Panthers Preseason

See? What does that even mean? Nothing is what.

Speaking of meaning nothing, don't read too much into Newton likely starting the second week of the preseason against the Dolphins. I mentioned this yesterday when I hopped on the horn with our friend Bob Haynie of 105.7 the Fan, but you can go ahead and mark Newton to take the field with the first team during the upcoming trip to South Beach.

Rivera's said all along that his intention is to divide the "practice reps" available on a strict 50/50 split between Newton and Clausen; that Clausen started and then Newton saw the majority of playing time against the Giants should be indicative of exactly what will happen in the next game, only in reverse.

Our Panthers Rapid Reporter Steve Reed confirms that Newton is indeed running with the first-teamers in practice, which is a logical lead-in to the fact that he'll start for the Panthers on Friday.

As for who'll take the first offensive snap against the Bengals, well, that's still up in the air.

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Posted on: August 15, 2011 12:05 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 12:23 pm

Week 1 review, NFC South podcast preview

Posted by Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

The podcast preview train has pulled into the NFC South and, quite conveniently, we also have a full week of NFL preseason games in which we can judge the nature of every single team without fear that things will change later.

I kid, I kid. But we do debate whether Cam Newton was awesome or overrated, how much of an impact Julio Jones will have on the Falcons, whether people are sleeping on the Saints, and whether or the Buccaneers are due to regress.

We also do the over/under thing for the teams (Panthers, 4.5; Saints/Falcons, 10; Bucs, 8), we rank the running backs in the division in order of best-to-worst and we guess who the impact player in the division will be. Also, Ryan chides Will for trying to talk about the Panthers too much. But that happens every week.

All that -- and much, much, more -- by clicking the play button below. Also, SUBSCRIBE VIA ITUNES.

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download.

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Posted on: August 13, 2011 11:10 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 2:17 am

How 2011's rookies fared during the first week

Posted by Will Brinson

Rookies are at a disadvantage during the 2011 season, because of the shortened amount of time they were given to prep for the season due to the lockout. As such, they're likely to struggle substantially early.

But not every rookie will struggle.

For instance, in the Falcons preseason opener on Friday, Julio Jones flashed enough explosiveness to warrant Mike Smith describing him as "outstanding" after Atlanta loss against the Dolphins.

Had the first teams stayed in, we likely would have gotten more glimpses of the reason Thomas Dimitroff traded up 21 spots to nab the Alabama product -- he turned a pair of short grabs into 43 yards quickly and a reverse for 12 yards looked like it could have easily gone for more.

Atlanta believes the reason the missed a shot at the Super Bowl in 2010 was their lack of big playmaking. And correctly so. Jones appears -- in an admittedly small sample size -- to be very nice remedy for that problem.

Things didn't go quite as swimmingly for Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, who managed to post somewhat decent stats -- 11/15, 69 yards and an interception. But don't listen to me on that.

Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden's description (he said Dalton's start "wasn't a total debacle") probably summed it up best.

Dalton struggled mightily, and not just because Gruden put him in tough spots by trying to take shots downfield with Ndamukong Suh breathing down his neck (he did). Of course, it didn't help that Suh popped his helmet off and chunked him to the ground late in the first quarter either. That's enough to make a man quit his job for good, especially on the first day.
NFL Preseason Week 1

Dalton doesn't have the arm strength or athleticism to just step in and overcome inexperience. Even some of his completions -- including a quick out to Jerome Simpson from the shotgun set -- were off and didn't do his receivers any favors.

Speaking of his receivers, A.J. Green looks like the real deal, insomuch as one could determine that from the shorter passes he caught from Dalton. Not to sound weird, but I'd be cool with just watching him run and jump all day. (That's weird, isn't it? Crap.)

Point is, Green's athletic as hell and all the hype about him before the season might not be that overblown.

Also not overblown? Cam Newton's athleticism. Whooooo-boy. But Newton's a good-news/bad-news situation. See, his athleticism is unquestioned. He's a freak. A totally different package of size, strength and speed than we've ever seen in the NFL. But as expected he isn't precisely polished. That's the bad news.

The good news is that Newton has clearly progressed from where he was when we last saw him (read: the combine). If Newton can make strides like that without serious hand-on guidance from the coaching staff, I'm willing to bet he can eventually become a great quarterback. He's got a cannon for an arm, but his touch was clearly off on some throws.

That may not matter for Carolina, though, as even though Jimmy Clausen played pretty darn well after throwing a pick six on his second throw, there could be riots in Charlotte if Newton doesn't start right away simply because he oozes potential.

Blaine Gabbert also oozed enough of something for the Jaguars to trade up for him. Could it have been composure, perhaps?

"I thought [Gabbert] was composed and did a good job making decisions," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said following Saturday's blowout loss to New England. "He looked like he belonged. It was a good beginning."

Gabbert finished 9/16 for 85 yards with no touchdowns (but no picks) and got hosed by a number of drops from his wide receivers. That being said, he looked like most of the other rookies we saw, in that he struggled at times to step up and complete passes in the pocket.

Gabbert definitely showed some flashes that should give the Jaguars optimism for his future, but if you go back and watch the game (or, if you prefer, just scan the play-by-play), you won't many combinations of the words "complete" and "deep." The Jaguars kept things short, as one might expect, particularly given the dearth of weapons available to the rookie on Thursday.

Speaking of that Patriots-Jaguars game, um, Ryan Mallett's really good. OK, "really good" might be a stretch but how about good? Or good? One of those should work well enough to emphasize how he might be the most pro-ready quarterback in this rookie class.

Mallett's got poise in the pocket, doesn't seem scared of pressure, knows when to run, has a big arm and confident in moving through his progression. Plus -- and this might have to do with his familiarity in a pro-style system -- you do just don't see him float throws like other rookie quarterbacks.

I mean, yeah, it doesn't hurt that he's being mentored by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and, yeah, we're not like five years away from watching the hoodie stroll the sidelines with a crooked cane while Mallett and a gorgeous mane of hair takes down a Super Bowl win, but -- surprise, surprise -- New England might have found a steal in the draft with their third-round nab of Mallett.

It's definitely too early to call Titans rookie Jake Locker a "steal" (and, I'd argue, he was taken too meet such qualifications, barring an absolute blowup), but he looked particularly comfortable in going 7/10 for 89 yards and a teeter while running the Titans offense on Saturday night.

The play that clearly stood out? Locker fumbling the snap on the first play after Tennessee's defense forced a turnover, recovering his own fumble, rolling out right, setting his feet and chucking a 45-yard bomb Yamon Figurs for his first professional touchdown.

For whatever reason, Locker seemed to fit the bill for "prepared" in a completely different way than Mallett. Thrust into a difficult situation with no real weapons -- paging Chris Johnson! -- and pressure as the not-too-far-off future of the franchise, Locker seemed to manage the game in a hyperactive, scrappy kind of way.

That's not to say that he's the NFL's David Eckstein or anything, obviously. And maybe it's just that the Titans know what to do with him. (Credit to Doug Farrar over at Shutdown Corner if this happens -- he's been driving the Locker bandwagon, based on his situation, for a while now.) Obviously they didn't plan to have him fumble, recover and scramble, but you could see that when Locker rolled out he could sling darts.

Christian Ponder's first career completion in the NFL was also a rollout. The rookie out of Florida State hit fellow rook Kyle Rudolph for a 10-yard gain, but that might have been the highlight for Ponder. He never really had the poise that we expected from the most "ready" (theoretically) quarterback in the first round, and at times he looked a bit lost and/or overwhelmed especially at first and, surprisingly, seemed to have his most success when on the move, outside of the pocket.

One of those on-the-move plays should have resulted in a first down on a 3rd-and-16, but was called back for a personal foul penalty. The interesting thing is that Ponder managed to avoid a sack, buy time and made a crucial throw on the move; yes, it was pretty surprising given what we expected from him.

It was also surprising considering Ponder faced off against the third-string defense.

On the bright side: it's just one game. And it's early. That's the beauty of preseason.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com