Open Mic: Are you interested in the Greg Hardy trial?

Grab the mic Panther fans and let the nation know!  Open Mic is an open discussion thread. Just drop a comment in the comments section below.  Respond to other fans, and as always #KeepPounding.

Are you interested in the Greg Hardy trial? Why or why not?

Are you easy to forgive a troubled athlete?

Grab the mic Panther fans and let the nation know!  Open Mic is an open discussion thread. Just drop a comment in the comments section below.  Respond to other fans, and as always #KeepPounding

Yesterday, the troubled Josh Gordon put out a sincere letter defending his humanity and explaining his fallen nature.  The letter exploded on social media.  Some found Gordon's plea moving, while others found it to be another excuse in a long line of "but what had happened was."  

The Panthers have had a troubled athlete controversy this season.  It's been one of what many believe to be a more serious nature. Greg Hardy's domestic dispute, however, has largely fallen out of the media's focus.  

So do you find yourselves a wanting to forgive these guys for their transgressions?  Does an act like Gordon's come off as sincere or just denial?  Is it better that these guys just keep their feeling close to the vest, or do you like to see this vulnerable side?  Jump on the mic and let us know. 


Which of our 11 Free Agents Should We Re-sign?

Which of our 11 Free Agents Should We Re-sign?

Grab the mic Panther fans and let the nation know!  Open Mic is an open discussion thread. Just drop a comment in the comments section below.  Respond to other fans, and as always #KeepPounding

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Re-sign or Not: A look at the Panther’s unrestricted free agents

Re-sign or Not: A look at the Panther’s unrestricted free agents

This offseason has already gotten off to a better start than last year’s; with nearly half as many players set to be off the books, the talent of 2015’s pending free agents pales in comparison to that of last year’s. Still, there are questions that need to be answered, and players that should be re-signed. Here’s my opinion on what actions Gettleman should take.

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Carolina Panthers State of the Team

Carolina Panthers State of the Team

My thoughts on free agency and the three phases of the Carolina Panthers game as things currently look for 2015. Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly need to be built around and their contracts are nearly up.

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Should Carolina Welcome Back the Kraken?

Grab the mic Panther fans and let the nation know!  Open Mic is an open discussion thread. Just drop a comment in the comments section below. Respond to other fans, and as always #KeepPounding

The Carolina Panthers began their off season yesterday. Now the rampant speculation and conjecture begins. One matter that is long overdue for resolution is the Greg Hardy situation.

Hardy has been on the commissioner's exempt list for domestic violence allegations filed this past summer. This has prevented Hardy from playing in all but one game this season, while collecting a whopping $13 million dollars. He will finally have his day in court February 9. So what are your thoughts Panther Nation? Are you for signing the Kraken to a long term deal, or are you in favor of letting him walk? We want to hear what you have to say. Post your opinion in the comments section below.

Hardy or Gettleman: Who Has Leverage Now?

Hardy or Gettleman: Who Has Leverage Now?

There are differing opinions on Hardy's overall ability, his stopping the run, and/or his disappearing in certain games last year, but the fact is he WAS the guy on the defensive line that other teams had to work their game-plans around. Hardy had developed into an elite pass rusher as well as a very above-average player setting the edge against the run.

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To Release or Not to Release The Kraken

This Panther season looks like it may be remembered most for the Kraken being on the Commissioner's exempt list.  And that loss has had a direct impact on the #2 ranked Defense from 2013 falling to 29th.  I won't say that his being out is the sole reason we are struggling.  But I will say he is is the biggest reason we are not still in first place in the NFC South.  His 15 sacks from a year ago, along with his fiery persona and constant pressure is sorely lacking.  Below is a brief discussion on both for and against bringing him back to the Panthers both immediately and long term.  Then I want to hear your thoughts.

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A Quarterback's Worst Nightmare

There will be a reunion this Sunday when Julius Peppers and the Green Packers meet the Carolina Panthers at Lambeau Field. Julius Peppers or “The Freak of Nature” left the Carolina Panthers in the 2010 NFL season because he was being ignored about his contract.

Why did Julius Peppers leave the Carolina Panthers?

Julius Peppers said, “How can you say you want to be somewhere when you’re not really sure if they want you there because they’re not even talking to you?” There was a lot of confusion during the 2007 NFL season because he only had 2.5 sacks that season, and the Panthers ignored his contract talk in the offseason. The next season he recorded 14.5 sacks and the Panthers wanted to talk. By then it was too late and Peppers wanted out of Carolina. The 2009 season came around and the Panthers put the franchise tag on Julius for $16.683 million. The hiring of defensive coordinator Mike Trgovac destroyed any hope of Peppers returning to the Carolina Panthers. Julius said, “In my eyes I didn't see us getting any better on that side of the ball.” In 2010 Peppers left for the Chicago Bears.

Did the Carolina Panthers draft anyone in 2010 to fill the void?

In 2010 the Carolina Panthers drafted Greg Hardy in the 6th round and it wasn't until the 2012 season that he finally came out of his shell. He recorded 11 sacks that year and turned into “The Kraken.” The following year he had 15.0 sacks and once again the Panthers put a franchise tag for $13.116 million on their star defensive end. I thought the front office learned their lesson?

Who is better Greg Hardy or Julius Peppers?

Julius Peppers is 6, “7”, 287 lbs and recorded 40.5 sacks during his first four NFL seasons. Julius Peppers came storming out of the gate and is one of the best athletes in the NFL. Brian Urlacher is one of the best linebackers to ever play the game and he agrees with me. In 2010 he said, "I'll say this about Peppers, he's the best football player I've ever seen. He's 300 pounds. He does things DBs are doing. I don't know how we got him, but I'm glad we did.” Julius is quick like a defensive back, elusive like a running back and big like an offensive lineman. If I was protecting the quarterback I would run the other way.

Greg Hardy is 6’ “4”, 275 lbs and recorded 33 sacks during his first four seasons in the NFL. Hardy is not as big as Peppers but still as elusive. He has good athletic abilities and natural strength. Hardy uses his alter ego “The Kraken” to fuel his fire and get to the quarterback.

When an NFL scout is looking for that next best defensive end in the NFL, they are comparing them to Julius Peppers. Peppers is bigger, stronger and has better hands than Hardy. Having Julius Peppers on your NFL roster is a great accomplishment. If the Panthers were able to sign Peppers in the offseason they wouldn't have to worry about Hardy’s issues.

If the Carolina Panthers don’t resign Hardy due to his recent case, would you consider this the Julius Peppers curse?

Justin Raymond

Follow me on Twitter @JayRay19

Carolina Panthers: C3 Three Up and Three Down

Three Things The Carolina Panthers Did Well

I had the pleasure of going to this game so I got to see firsthand what the Carolina Panthers did very well! It wasn’t exactly easy to see because I was in the nosebleeds, but the new big screens helped! Going into this game I was really worried that it was going to be a shootout. The Detroit Lions offense has a lot of weapons and the best wide receiver in the NFL. I didn’t think that the Panthers could matchup with all of the talented players on the Lions. I predicted the Panthers losing this matchup 28-17 and I was wrong… but it feels great to be wrong! The Panthers defense was able to tame the Lions and shutdown Megatron! This game was a great test and it showed our true colors.

So, what three things did the Carolina Panthers do well?

1.    Super Mario – I was tailgating and I felt my phone vibrating. I reach into my pocket and read the message from ESPN. The message said, “Greg Hardy will not play today.” We all know what is going on with his case, so the Panthers would have to shut him down at some point. If Hardy wasn’t going to start, then who was? The answer was Mario Addison. Addison was a force all game, racking up 2.5 sacks and getting in Matthew Stafford’s face. The defense did a great job of pressuring Stafford and keeping his fantasy football numbers down.

2.    Calvin Who? -
I cannot say enough about how well the Carolina Panthers defense covered Calvin Johnson. He might have had 83 yards but for him that is less than normal. Melvin White and the Panthers defense did not let him get in the end zone, and that was the recipe for success! 

3.    Cam Staying Safe – It was Cam Newton’s first game of the season and he looked a little rusty at first but then he figured it out. He did not try to overdo it and he made a lot of smart plays. He did not try to force it and it looked like he has matured as a quarterback. As long as Cam doesn’t turn the ball over the Panthers will be successful. The Panthers will look to Cam to manage the game throughout the season and rely on our defense to carry the workload.

Three Up by Justin Raymond
Follow me on Twitter @JayRay19

Three Things the Panthers Didn't Do Well

The Panthers looked dominant against the Detroit Lions yesterday at "The Vault".  Fans had so much to cheer for. In a 24-7 beat down it would seem there is not much that the winners would have done that needs improvement. Well that was not the case in this win. Carolina did many things exceptionally well but here are three things they will need to work on.

1. Mike Tolbert- The "the fire hydrant" or "bowling ball" did not have a good game. As a whole Carolina did not run the ball well, again, only 62 yards rushing. Now the negative number of yards for Tolbert may just be bad play calling or bad offensive line play. Whatever the case it is something  Carolina must improve.

2. Average yards per rush- The Panthers had a dismal 2.6 yards per carry average. Last week vs Bucs Carolina only averaged 3.4 yards per rush. Some work to do in this part of our offense. For Carolina to achieve maximum success this season an effective running game must be established. 

3. Cam sacked 4 times- This is not good. Cam already has a bad ankle. We have to protect Cam and make sure he stays upright. Due to his surgically repaired ankle he has lost some of his giddy up. It does not show when he is going but right as he is right before taking off that burst of speed just isn't there.

Great win for the team this week. But like with all great teams Carolina can't become complacent. These are areas we can improve on. Not trying to bring everyone down but it is only week 2. Let's celebrate but keep a clear perspective as well. 

Three Down by "that Freak'n Puerto Rican" aka @JoeRiollano

The Kraken Gets Shelved. Did the Panthers Do The Right Thing?

I had a bad feeling this was coming.  What happened to due process?  His conviction is under appeal which means he is still innocent.  So why did the Panthers do it?  I'm sad to say the Panthers have caved to public pressure.  Or at least that is how it seems.  Do you agree?

C3 FANatics Open Discussion: Rice Ruling on Hardy's Future

The "FANatics Open Discussion" is a place for Panther fans to direct the discussion.  Just leave a comment a comment below.  If not on Google, you can select to leave your Name/Url.

How will the Rice Ruling weigh on Greg Hardy's future with the Carolina Panthers?

What should the Panthers do about Greg Hardy?

Greg HardyGreg Hardy's knack for getting bad publicity has come to an ugly head as a judge found him guilty of assault on a female and communicating threats. Hardy has appealed for a jury trial and the legal process will continue to play itself out. The NFL will likely wait for the legal process, but the Panthers are faced with a decision concerning the future of the franchise.

Panthers GM Dave Gettleman placed the franchise tag on Hardy in hopes on working on a long term deal, but the deadline passed as Hardy sat on the stand giving his testimony of the events that transpired that fateful early morning. Hardy is due $13.1 million this season so cutting him out right as a lot of fans are calling for is out of the question.

This could possibly be Hardy's last season with the Panthers organization as owner Jerry Richardson is having flashbacks of Rae Carruth. The Hardy situation is nowhere near as egregious as Carruth, but that type of situation and the allegations facing Hardy has got to raise some eyebrows.

Gettleman is known for rotating fresh defensive line and ends as he did in New York with Strahan, Kiwanuka, Umenyiora and Justin Tuck. Charles Johnson is not young anymore, but he likely has a couple of good seasons left in the tank. Currently on the roster are young guys Frank Alexander, Mario Addison and Wes Horton who combined for 5.5 sacks and 15 QB pressures. Alexander is suspended for the first four games this season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, but the 2012 fourth round draft pick showed promise in the 12 games he appeared in.

Rookie Kony Ealy will be thrown into the fire early and often this season. The First Team All SEC selection has the physical tools to compete at the highest level, but the jump from the SEC to the NFL is still significant.

The Panthers face a tough season breaking in new weapons at wide receiver and two new pieces on the offensive line. A mediocre to semi successful season could lead to draft choice in the 2015 NFL draft that is rich with pass rushers.

The season is a long way away, but DEs such as Mario Edwards, Markus Golden, Noah Spence, Jermaurio Rasco and Shilique Calhoun all await to hear their names called and if the Panthers chose to part ways with Hardy one of them could be suiting up to play at Bank of America Stadium.

By: +Justin Davis.  You can find his work at  Be sure to give him a follow on Twitter @JerseyMikeJr

Odds are High this is Greg Hardy's Final Season as a Carolina Panther

I've said David Gettleman, General Manager of the Carolina Panthers, doesn't look at the short term when making his decisions. He doesn't look at "just" this year OR next; he looks at the very long-term, multi-year picture.

He's a "forest" guy, not a "trees" guy like Marty Hurney was.

The reason is he "gets it" as far as the salary cap goes. He knows you have to take the very long-term view into account in order to keep a talented team on the field while not breaking the bank as his predecessor did and his penny-pinching ways have this organization pointing in the right direction after last year's 12-4 season.

Gettleman and Rivera are big on team chemistry and don't like the applecart being upset. With that in mind, one Greg Hardy has found himself in quite the offseason mess.

Just a day or two ago, Hardy pled "not guilty" to the charge of criminal domestic violence stemming from the 911 call about two months ago when his then (now ex) girlfriend claimed Hardy "threw her on a couch covered with guns" while boasting "every single one of them (guns) is loaded." 

As it turns out, any firearms the police found were all legally owned by Hardy but certainly doesn't make his case look any better.

He has since been found guilty of Assault on a Female and, as such, will likely be found in violation of the NFL's "personal conduct" policy.

In the 911 call, Hardy said the girlfriend was on drugs. Ouch.

You see, even if SHE were the one strung out on drugs and even if SHE made up the entire incident, the fact that Hardy is cavorting with such unsavory people as drug abusers, it reflects poorly upon him. Remember the saying...."You are known by the company you keep?" 

Being known for dating women who do hard drugs isn't something that impresses most people. It's not like the woman simply had a few drinks or smoked a joint - alcohol is a legal substance and if she had smoked a joint, I seriously doubt she'd have been so agitated. One got the impression the drug was cocaine from the circumstances, and that's most definitely not a good thing. And she apparently didn't make it all up as Hardy's "guilty" verdict attests.

Dave Gettleman kept Hardy this offseason and used most of the available cap space to do so. If memory serves, he'll be making more than $11 million this year under the franchise tag as a defensive end. 

(No word yet about any clamoring to be franchised as a wide receiver...)
Greg Hardy
At any rate, I think this somewhat telegraphed Gettleman's intentions in two different ways. First of all, he could have signed The Kraken to a long-term contract...and those are usually back-end loaded, which would have given Hardy a smaller salary cap footprint for 2014. Instead, he was signed for the higher amount, but just for the one year. It gives Rivera and Gettleman an extra season of production to see without locking him into a big-money deal, coming off a franchise-record 15 sacks.

Yep...even Julius Peppers in his prime only had 14.5 sacks for his season-high as a Panther back in 2008.

This is a nice segue into the drafting of Kony Ealy out of Missouri in the second round this year. Yes, Gettleman knew the team needed 1st-round talent at both WR and OT, but could obviously take only one or the other. With the tackles gone, he went with the huge-but-raw young receiver in Kelvin Benjamin. 

However, Ealy fell down the draft board and well out of the first round because of a poor 40-yard dash time. I've been over the fallacy of this reasoning (how often do DEs have to run 40 yards?) as Ealy's position-best 3-cone drill showed the guy is quick as a cat and can probably do both bull- and speed-style rushes as he changes direction very well and could be one of those pass rushers that "makes the blocker miss" with his quick feet.

When Ealy was drafted, I immediately connected the dots. If nothing else, Gettleman plans on using him as leverage with Hardy in contract talks following Ealy's rookie campaign and, if he pans out the way I think he will as the top substitution off the bench, Gettleman could just let Hardy go outright if he thinks there won't be much drop by saving ten million dollars a year in going with Ealy as the starter for the 2015 campaign.

Hardy's recent legal troubles just complicates things that much more, but possibly makes the decision to let him walk after this season an easier one to swallow and for fans to see the logic in. Do we really want to invest that kind of money in someone who gets in fairly serious legal trouble? It's not just the "legal trouble" but the hint of violence directed against a woman that makes things so politically charged.

Last but not least, Gettleman has not one but two massive deals to get done over the next two seasons without Hardy in the first place. By sometime next season at the latest, he has to sign Cam Newton to a massive raise if he wants to keep him around as the franchise QB - something he appears willing to do after Cam's continued improvement last season.

Next season or the one after, he'll have to sign Luke Kuechly to likely unheard-of money for a middle linebacker and "Luuuke" will be worth every penny, whatever the cost is. In just his first two seasons, he has won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and NFL Defensive Player of the Year. 

Folks, there just ain't no doin' no better than that. Kuechly has not only led the NFL in tackles over his first two seasons, but actually tied for the team lead in interceptions last year with four. That's unheard of for a middle linebacker!

He's also a player with unique skills with elite instincts and speed and has already become the head and shoulders leader of the NFL's second-best defensive unit....and a unit that has some great young talent when you consider Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short - two other players the Panthers would probably like to keep over the long term if their rookie seasons are an indication.

Then, there's the issue of Hardy's production. Yes, he had 15 sacks last season for a franchise record, but he'd get them in bunches while vanishing in some games.

For instance, Hardy was shut out in the sacks department in five of his first six games this season while putting up three on Eli Manning in that 38-0 rout of the New York Giants. That's nice, but something tells me the Panthers probably would have still won that game if Hardy hadn't made any sacks.

He finished the season strong, to his credit, putting up seven sacks in the final two games when the division title was on the line, so that's one strong thing he does have in his favor. 

"Great players make big plays in big games" has been a longtime mantra among NFL players, but Hardy once again vanished in the home playoff loss to the Niners. He had 1 tackle with 5 assists and no sacks...although he faced off against a team built very similarly to that of the Panthers on both sides of the ball: Play strong defense and pound the rock. Throw in Colin Kaepernick's elusiveness and speed and you have a difficult recipe for racking up sacks in general.

The defense wasn't to blame for the loss as the Panthers scored only 10 points again - the same as in their 10-9 victory earlier in the season at San Francisco - but the defense gave up 23 in the playoff loss. A monster game from Hardy probably wouldn't have turned the loss into a win, but it might have kept the game a bit closer for a bit longer, changing the play calling on offense by keeping more of the playbook in play, and who knows what could have happened if Hardy had another 3- or 4-sack game?

Well....perhaps one could have been a sack/fumble, wiping out 7 points from the Niners' total while flipping the field and Carolina scoring a TD instead of having to punt on a series. That's a 14-pt swing and would have made the score Carolina 17, San Fran 16.

None of any of this is lost on David Gettleman or Ron Rivera, and Hardy's legal issues have made him rather radioactive in the offseason. 

If Kony Ealy can show the promise that recent defensive draftees like Star, Kawann, and Luke have shown, Hardy could be unceremoniously shown the door.

Don't forget, if Gettleman has made up his mind (or makes it up) before the trade deadline arrives this season, he's in perfect position to trade Hardy away, likely for a second round pick plus a mid-round pick, while at the same time making the trade partner be the one who has to ink Hardy to that mega-deal he is going to want with a fifth consecutive double-digit sack year.

I don't think it's something Gettleman is willing to do, especially given all the circumstances I've listed.

No, the more I think about it, the more I'm thinking Gettleman lets Hardy go and saves that cap space for his two impact stars - Cam and Luke - and it's exactly what he should do.

"Release the Kraken?"


Follow me on Twitter @Ken_Dye