3 Players to Watch in Panthers Debut in San Francisco

3 Players to Watch in Panthers Debut in San Francisco

The Panthers take the field today at Levi's Stadium today and I'll be keeping an eye on three players specifically. Sure Christian McCaffrey will like dazzle and distract us in a good way but I want to know about the following players: 

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FFL Participants Need to be Careful Drafting Panthers in 2017

FFL Participants Need to be Careful Drafting Panthers in 2017

The C3FF Mega-League is around the corner and more importantly, so is the unveiling of the "new look Carolina Panthers" -- especially on offense -- which is exactly why those who want to dominate their FFLs of ANY sort need to look for VALUE in Carolina's players' picks...especially in 2017.

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Four Reasons The Panthers Will Make The Super Bowl

Four Reasons The Panthers Will Make The Super Bowl


This is the Panthers’ year.  Yes, Super Bowl 52 is my prediction.   With Thomas Davis, Julius Peppers, Ryan Kalil , and Greg Olsen nearing the ends of their career, our time is now.  The stars seem aligned for a Panthers run.  Here are the four reasons

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Panthers Practice in Pads for First Time in 2017

Panthers Practice in Pads for First Time in 2017

The Panthers put the pads on for the first time today. After yesterday's big media day, where Newton described trying to stop him from running was like trying to stop a lion from roaring and Thomas Davis reminded that his business took place on the field not in the front office, the guys were surely ready to get the pads on and let out a little aggression.

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Five Things To Watch For At Panthers' Training Camp

Five Things To Watch For At Panthers' Training Camp

I am more excited and intrigued about Training Camp this year than ever before.  There is so much yet to play out and every day is going to be like watching an epic game of Jenga.  So many pieces impact the entire team and there are so many possibilities.  Super Bowl 52 Champions is one of those possibilities and...

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Predictions and Statistics for the Final Roster: Quarterbacks

Predictions and Statistics for the Final Roster: Quarterbacks

In this series, I will predict the final 53-man roster and a rough estimate of the statistics each player will produce. Though it is impossible to predict either of these two areas at this point of the offseason, this will loosely gauge what kind of impact you can expect each player to make this upcoming season.

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Picking Boogers: Cam Newton Continues to Reveal People's Lunacy

Picking Boogers: Cam Newton Continues to Reveal People's Lunacy

It's that time of year where a member of the national media singles out Cam Newton as an overrated player who isn't a leader in the locker room, and even worse a problem in that locker room. Many of the usual suspects have moved on to guys like Blake Bortles or Carson Weintz. This year, the hot-take came from an unsuspecting foe--Booger McFarland. Maybe we shouldn't be so surprised given McFarland is a former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and LSU Tiger. 

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Carolina Panthers Ranked In Top 10 Of NFL's Most Talented Teams

Hope's are high once again for the Carolina Panthers heading into 2017 following a slew of strong free agent signings in the off-season and bolstering up the offense in the recent draft with play makers and protection for franchise quarterback Cam Newton. 

The media has taken notice as well and some are liking a bounce back year for Cam Newton and the Panthers new-look offense. Big free agent signings such as bringing back home Julius Peppers and Captain Munnerlyn have many seeing this defense getting back into the top ten after being one of only two teams to be there for three consecutive years before dropping back last year.

In a recent rankings article, Gil Brandt has the Panthers ranked 9th on his top ten list of most talented teams in the NFL heading into 2017. Only the Atlanta Falcons (3rd) also made the list, although I imagine the Buccaneers weren't far outside of the top ten. Here's what Brandt had to say. You can read the full article here.

9) Carolina Panthers

 

 

 

It can sometimes seem as if quarterback Cam Newton is perpetually at a career crossroads, but I think he'll have a big year this year. He's certainly not lacking for weapons, with rookie matchup nightmares Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel joining running back Jonathan Stewart and tight end Greg Olsen on offense. Signing Matt Kalil to protect Newton's blind side was a key improvement. This team looks capable of scoring 500 points. On defense, Carolina helped itself by bringing back defensive end Julius Peppers and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn and signing safety Mike Adams. If healthy, linebacker Luke Kuechly is one of the best at his position, while there's no reason defensive tackle Kawann Short shouldn't perform.

 

It was clear following a highly anticipated 2016 season with a losing record that Carolina had to make some changes. They did just that in one the busier off-seasons Panthers fans have seen in years. 

If everyone pans out and can stay healthy, the Panthers could be right back playing again in January for the fourth time in five years.

Written By Tripp Morgan

Follow @TrippMorgan6 and @Cat_Chronicles for the latest surrounding the Carolina Panthers.

Do These Prospect Visits Show Carolina Panthers Want To "Evolve?"

One word has summed up the Carolina Panthers off-season for fans, media, and analysts alike... "EVOLVE." Ever since Rivera muttered the phrase in regards to the offense at the end of the season, the outside world has been trying to figure it out. As we have gotten closer to the draft, we may be getting a pretty good idea judging by a few of the prospect visits the Panthers have brought in.

Each season NFL teams are allotted 30 draft prospects to bring in for visits and/or workouts at the team facilities. In most cases, in the Panthers case anyway, these are the players you can start getting the best judge of interest in. There have been three particular players the Panthers have shown interest in that fit roughly the same mold and could help "evolve" this offense and give Cam Newton another weapon. They are RB/WR Christian McCaffrey, RB/WR Curtis Samuel, and RB Alvin Kamara.

In a year where Jonathan Stewart is turning 30 and has battled injuries, seeing Dave Gettleman and Ron Rivera hosting running back prospects isn't surprising. But each of these running backs offer something new to the Panthers offense, and that's the ability to line up outside or in the slot at receiver.

Having a running back with the ability to line up as a receiver can create all kinds of mismatches for opposing defenses. Many question whether offensive coordinator Mike Shula can properly use a player like this, but who really knows as the most versatile player he has had with Carolina was Ted Ginn, who now resides with NFC SOuth rival New Orleans. Between Shula and Cam Newton, Ginn has had the best years of his career in Charlotte. During the 2015 season Shula constantly used Ginn's speed to create mismatches. Like the one here (fast forward to 1:55) where a linebacker was covering Ginn. Good times.

With Ginn in the slot and the Falcons sending a blitzing safety from the left, it left Ginn matched up alone with the linebacker. There was one safety left up top, but Ginn is the only receiver on the three wide set who crosses field, leaving the safety in no man's land with two other receivers to his right. As soon as Newton realizes the safety doesn't adjust, he lofts it up downfield for Ginn to use his speed to go get it. 

Now, I'm not comparing Ginn to prospects like McCaffrey, just simply showing what the use of proper mismatches with players who create separation can do. The hottest name surrounding the Panthers draft right now, Christian McCaffrey, has been a master of this in college. You can look up highlights all day, but here's one where he runs a route out of the back field and breaks a linebacker down one-on-one and takes it all the way after finding the seam.

Alvin Kamara shot up teams boards after posting explosive combine numbers. His versatility in both the running and receiving game is what helped land him at Tennessee. That along with his combine performance is what will help him in the NFL as well. 

This isn't the big play like McCaffrey's above, but it's a good example of the mismatch caused by the running back motioning out of the backfield. Tennessee scored twice in this game on this exact same play. You'll notice two defenders on one receiver near the back of the end zone leaving Kamara wide open. 

Chances are you saw Curtis Samuel of Ohio State play at some point last season. He dominated the final drive in double overtime that propelled the Buckeyes over arch rival Michigan.

Another play where the linebacker matches up with the running back coming out of the back field. The quarterback slightly under-throws the pass here causing a contested catch that Samuel still comes down with. A little more on the pass and it's an easy touchdown catch.

The Panthers have visited with all of these running backs along with Leonard Fournette, who is another hot name associated with the Panthers. These takes here are not a spite to Fournette and his game. I still like Fournette and think he can be successful in the NFL. I also believe he has better hands than many anticipate, but the Panthers need versatility if they are going to truly "evolve" the offense. Having another power running back wouldn't really do that. 

With that said, it's also entirely possible Carolina brought in the likes of Curtis Samuel and Alvin Kamara in case they chose not to go McCaffrey at eight. It seems pretty evident the Panthers like Fournette just as much as they do McCaffrey and if he falls to eight, we could see them take him and get either Samuel or Kamara later. They could also go defense at eight if a guy they really like is still there and get one of the two later. The only problem with that is McCaffrey is much more polished in running, receiving, and returning than the other two. Not to mention you are then tying up two draft picks on running backs.

When it all boils down to it, we can only guess what Rivera meant by "evolve." Hell, Gettleman said in his post season presser that it wasn't really the proper term to use, so who knows? Nobody but the people in the front office really know what direction they want to go a week out from the draft. Even they probably still don't know. It could all come down to who falls and who doesn't. 

Written By Tripp Morgan

Follow @TrippMorgan6 and @Cat_Chronicles for the latest news and updates on the Carolina Panthers.

Article thumbnail photo by Jesse Fraetis. 

 

Christian McCaffrey To The Panthers Just Gained More Steam.

The last few weeks have been full of mock picks by analysts and fans alike for who the Panthers will take at pick eight. A popular name lately has been Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey.

McCaffrey was being mocked in the late first, early second round before the combine but has steadily gained steam since his combine and pro day. Visits  and talks with teams have certainly also played into that.

Stats like how he had more yards per carry versus eight man boxes than any other running back in the nation, including LSU's Leonard Fournette, have also pushed it.

More and more mocks seems to be following Josh Norris' and Jourdan Rodrigue's early prediction of him fitting in with the Panthers at the eighth pick. Now NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah has him to Carolina in the same spot with his mock draft released Wednesday. Then this tweet later on the night from Peter Schrager really got the tweets flowing.

 

Sure, McCaffrey could go to one of the seven teams before Carolina, but the fit here just seems to perfect for a team looking to "evolve." Throw in the fact that Panthers recently wide receivers coach Lance Taylor was McCaffrey's running back coach during his tenure at Stanford and it makes even more sense. 

McCaffrey would bring versatility to a Panthers offense that needs another weapon for Cam Newton. His running and receiving ability being used the right way could be tough to plan for on opposing defenses. I know what you're thinking, "Would Shula know how to use him correctly?" I believe so, and that's also where his former coach Lance Taylor comes in. If anyone know how to use him, it should be him.

This will likely grow the closer we get to the draft and could even change between now and then like it has drastically since the combine, but one things for sure, whatever name is announced at pick eight should be one we've all heard. 

Written By Tripp Morgan

Follow @TrippMorgan6 and @Cat_Chronicles for news and updates surrounding the Carolina Panthers.

Article Thumbnail Image by Jesse Fraetis

Cam Newton to Have Shoulder Surgery, and He's Not the Only One in Pain

Cam Newton to Have Shoulder Surgery, and He's Not the Only One in Pain

Cam Newton took a beating last season. At one point, he got literally knocked out, causing him to miss time due to a concussion. In Week 14 against the Chargers, Cam Newton suffered a shoulder injury after being slammed to the ground. He looked in pain then, and it turns out he is still in pain.

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