So Smitty Picks The 49ers: Here's What Panther Nation Responded

Agent 89, now an analyst on the NFL Network, came on and predicted the 49ers to upset the Panthers today.  To you, Smitty, I say IceUpSon.  Here’s why I see good things coming today.

Most NFL games come down to QB play.  I see Cam as ready and a full go and to play well. Folks worry about his lack of playing time in the pre-season.  All I have to say to that is 2011 opener where Terry Bradshaw opened the season by saying he was shocked the Panthers took Cam #1 overall and he looked for him to struggle mightily. Then at half time, good ol’ Terry says “I love Cam Newton.”  And Cam went on to a 400+ yard game.  I look for a similar game today.

I do see good things happening today as I believe the Panthers’ offensive line has the ability to be a top 5 unit this season.  Should they stay healthy, Cam and company should return to the swag-waving crew that the folks in Carolina love and opponents fear.  

Two other players I also anticipate big days from are Christian McCaffrey and Julius Peppers. These are two players that add a little somethingsomething to the Panthers and I believe will be keys to the Panthers’ success in 2017.  Here are some of Panther Nations’ tweets feeling the swagger heading into San Francisco:

So, to you, Agent 89:  We love you, but Ice Up Son!

Posted By:

AKA @PanthersDrafter


Former Players Are Talking About Gettleman's Firing

There's been more talk from past players about Dave Gettleman than most GMs. It says something given these guys are generally careful in order to not warn off any suitors. Here's some reactions from former players who may hold Gettleman in the highest regard.

Jordan Gross retired early citing Dave Gettleman's handling of the contract as his reasoning. He's off the grid it appears, but he doesn't work with the Panther media anymore as far as I know. 

Jon Beason was traded soon after Gettleman's arrival. Today, he remarked about the way he parted ways with the organization, stating, "But for me, it kinda came full circle," he said. "The way that the trade went down between the Giants and the Panthers when I moved on from the Carolina Panthers, it was done in a way that wasn't classy. I didn't want to be the disgruntled player who's saying this, saying that because he was traded. But at the end of the day, you're a first-round pick, you played extremely well for an organization, you're one of the key guys on the team, a new GM comes in and doesn't even give you a handshake on your way out the door."

Listen to the full interview below:

Steve Smith was the most controversial of Dave Gettleman's decisions, and one that many have said did not sit well with Jerry Richardson. It clearly didn't sit well with Smitty, who has been waiting to press send on this tweet for a minute.

Then came DeAngelo Williams, which at first looked as if Gettleman had learned to better handle a long-term vet who had deep ties to the organization. Williams held on to it for a moment, or maybe Gettleman got ahead of it, but it didn't take long for Williams to start firing back at Gettleman and the Panthers. Today, he took the team off his hitlist, indicating it was really Gettleman who was the problem. 

Carolina went 15-1 in the 2015 regular season the next year and made a Super Bowl appearance. All was forgiven and forgotten by Panthers fans when it came to Gettleman's turbulent first two years. He seemed to have the master plan until he butted heads with Josh Norman's agent and rescinded the franchise tag. The move left the Panthers secondary in shambles and then forced them to draft three corners, back-to-back-to-back in the 2016 draft. The team stumbled and fumbled through the most severe of Super Bowl hangovers.  Josh Norman is still keeping an eye on the situation from Washington.

Back-peddling from the Norman debacle, Gettleman cut Bene' Benwikere after Julio Jones torched the Panthers secondary to the tune of 300-yds. Benwikere was coming off a major leg injury and was tasked playing the league's best wideout. He didn't have any help either. The move looked like Gettleman needed a scapegoat, while removing some of the blame from his newly drafted corners.

We found a Gettleman supporter. Colin Cole appreciated the second opportunity given to him by Gettleman.

Philly Brown was friendly on Twitter, stating, "before y'all start making stuff up this has nothing to do with my guy Getelmen." He has his account locked to prevent retweets, but I'm thinking he won't mind me quoting him here. 

Hit me up @Cat_Chronicles or if you run across any other player reactions. 

By Tony Dunn
Follow @Cat_Chronicles for the latest Panthers news and opinions from the fan perspective. 

Steve Smith Sr.'s Retirement Letter Will Go Down As One Of The Best.

Steve Smith finally called an end to his illustrious career after this season. Early this morning he posted his retirement letter on Twitter and it's in true Steve Smith Sr. fashion.


Smith finished his career with 1,031 Rec. for 14,731 yards and 81 touchdowns. He's the only player in league history with 1,000+ catches, 1,000+ punt return yards and 2,000+ kick return yards. He's also one of 14 players to hit 1,000 receptions in his career. Of the other 13 members in that 1,000 receptions club, six are in the Hall of Fame.

Steve Smith could certainly join them one day.

Written by Tripp Morgan- Follow Him on Twitter @TrippMorgan6

5 Possible Trade Targets for the Carolina Panthers

5 Possible Trade Targets for the Carolina Panthers

In August, imagining Dave Gettleman looking to make a mid-season move in hopes of making a Super Bowl run seemed a near impossible scenario. He’s repeatedly stated that it’s a dangerous mistake to believe a team is “just one player” away. 

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Is a Steve Smith Return to Carolina in the Works?

Is a Steve Smith Return to Carolina in the Works?

80s Big Hair band Cinderella said it best, “Don’t know what you have until it’s gone.”  Well Panthers fans loved who they had and love what they lost, Carolina legend and greatest all-time offensive player, Steve Smith.  Like any break-up with a true love, things didn’t go well when Carolina parted ways with Smitty last season.  Like any break-up with a true love, we continue to Facebook and Twitter stalk our lost love.  Well love may just prevail if there is truth to this tweet that Carolina is working to bring Steve Smith home:

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Open Mic: Is Steve Smith Greatest Receiver Under 6'?

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.

It's been tough watching Carolina's greatest offensive player ever rip it up on another team. If there is one consoling aspect, it's that he has devasted the NFC South, and somehow simultaneously kept the Panthers in the division race.

It's his play this season that has C3 asking, "Is Smitty the all-time greatest receiver under six feet tall?"

Steve Smith's Baltimore Massacre Exposes Terminal Illness

"Blood and guts," Steve Smith calmly promised on WFNZ's "Bustin' Loose," payback for the painful cut administered by GM Dave Gettleman.  Adorned in goggles, Panther fans witnessed, as promised, a bloody massacre led by a motivated and rapacious Steve Smith. Not only did he deliver on his promise, but the +Baltimore Ravens full-out butchered the +Carolina Panthers (38-10). Yesterday's carnage, however, wasn't because of Smith's desire for revenge. Sure he proved inspirational, but the Ravens onslaught was all-consuming and indicative of Carolina's maladies as a team. Gashing Carolina's defenses and punishing their offensive line, the Panthers didn't look good in any phase of the game.  Most worrisome, Carolina's defense has been its prevailing weakness.  A confused secondary, a defensive line that doesn't generate any pressure, and an inability to stop the run has produced an easy victim for the slaughter.

Overshadowed the Steve Smith storyline, this game may have revealed problems that are actually symptoms of a terminal illness.  Ron Rivera's Carolina Panthers health is in question. There are a lot of questions to be answered before a full diagnosis can be given, but Dave Gettleman and personnel problems have to be considered.  Perhaps, Panther fans have too easily let Gettleman off the hook for the Steve Smith situation and addressing personnel weaknesses, particularly at offensive line.

In typical fashion, Smitty perfectly captured the moment in a few words, "put your goggles on, there's going to be blood and guts everywhere."  It was ugly, and I'm not talking about the game  Fans stood shocked as the organization poorly handled the situation.  The local media scrambled to rationalize the move as an aging receiver decreased production was no longer enough to counter his giant personality, one so big it was impeding the team's development.

Carolina's front office, however, remained steadfast throughout the fallout, claiming that this was just an organization in transition making a difficult, but necessary move.  Gettleman rationalized:

To move on from a storied veteran player is probably the most difficult of all. A decision not to be taken lightly. However, after much thought I feel very strongly it’s the right one.
 As I’ve stated many times, all decisions I make will be in the long term best interest of the Carolina Panthers. Decisions, either popular or unpopular, have to be made for the greater good and it is imperative to take an unemotional global view.
Ron Rivera found himself, as any head coach would, defending the team's ability to move on by really noting that they were only losing 10 total catches on average in losing the entire 2013 receiving core.  Move on the Panthers did.  A dismally quiet free agency period, where Carolina acquired less than sexy wide receiver replacements, near lulled Panther fans to sleep.  Followed by what was thought to be solid draft, the Greg Hardy scandal, and typical training camp optimism, Panther fans started to buy into the parting ways with Steve Smith. Gettleman's talking points and the dazzling 1st round selection Kelvin Benjamin's early emergence helped fans work through their grief.  The team's 2-0 start made all of it look perfect.  Gettleman committed to younger leadership, grabbed defensive end Kony Ealy in the 2nd round, and hit on Trai Turner and Bene Benwikere in the 3rd and 5th rounds.  It all looked to be paying off.  Carolina's defense was stifling and fast in the first games, and the offense played well-enough.  After beating the +Detroit Lions in convincing fashion in Week 2, it seemed that Carolina was better positioned than in 2013.

As Carolina appeared to have plugged the hole left by Smith's departure, Smitty was settling nicely in his new Baltimore home.  The two seemed to have near perfectly matched identities--a tough salty receiver in a tough salty town.  Smitty raged in Baltimore as Panther fans marveled at their new toy Benjamin.  Exploding in Week 1 against division rival, the +Cincinnati Bengals, Smitty looked refreshingly youthful and expectedly scrappy, reigning in 7 catches for 118 yards and a TD.  His big touchdown had the toughness that we always associate with Smitty as he threw a poor corner to the ground in the process.  Some were surprised by Smith's production, but few were surprised that he had something to say about it:

Smith's production didn't slow after Week 1.  He's been among the top performing wideouts in the NFL and the leading receiver on a surging +Baltimore Ravens team.  We all know who he was talking to in this video, but here's a few stats to put a little money where Smith's mouth is:

It's pretty clear there's still gas left in Smith's tank.  This massacre wasn't just indicative of Smith's continued capability, however. Yes, he balled more than anyone today, but Baltimore didn't win  because of Smith, Sr.  They won because Carolina played as poorly as Baltimore played well. The Panthers lost every battle. Joe Flacco stood undisturbed, surgically dismantling the secondary, in the few moments that the Ravens running game wasn't gashing the Panthers. The dominance wasn't any less on the defensive side for Baltimore.  Cam Newton and the air attack was reasonably effective, but the offensive line was so horrendous it was just a matter of time before the wheels came off. It was a train wreck, a wreck that has lasted two weeks now.

So how bad is this?  Sunday's carnage represents more than Smitty's departure from Carolina potentially being an unwise move.  This game highlights serious personnel errors Dave Gettleman has  over the past year--most significantly failing to field an adequate offensive line.

Nearly the first day on the job, Gettleman bumped heads with lifelong Panther Jordan Gross--suggesting he wasn't worth the money that he demanded.  Gross later joked about this, but it was clear his retirement was because Gettleman wasn't interested in providing what Gross thought adequate compensation to a reliable veteran, who just had strong season.  Gross chose to leave on the high not, rather than playing another year for less money he believed fair with likely less on-field success.  What's "gross" about all of this is that Gettleman was wrong.  Maybe not that Gross's production would likely decline and not really live up to the pay he was demanding, but Gettleman was wrong in believing Carolina could dollar cost average and make due with a mix of UDFAs tackles. It's not working.

This is a failure, one that cannot be denied. Carolina ranks 30th in run blocking and 28th in pass protection. They've allowed 9 sacks, 11 QB hits, and 26 hurries.  Most despairingly is the team's horrible failure to get the run game going.  Carolina backs average 2.98 yards per carry and find themselves entirely "stuffed" 28% of the time.  Yes, getting stuffed at the line of scrimmage is a stat, and Carolina is ranked 31st in being run-stuffed, second worst to only Philadelphia who averages only 2.29 yards per carry.

This offensive line has just been atrocious.  Much has had to do with poor play, but just as much has been because of inadequate personnel. Add in a couple of nicks and bangs, and Carolina is fielding a less than talented line running at 3/4 speed.  Gettleman's plan was predicated on this working perfectly.  Unfortunately, Nate Chandler and Byron Bell have to play career games each week to meet the demands placed on them.  It's too much to ask.  The most absurd part of this is imagining one of these guys going down to injury. How bad would Carolina be then?  If this is the best the Panthers can muster, I'd hate to see the second and third stringers on a team where the starting tackles would be a second or third stringer on most other teams.

Similar problems exist on the defensive side also.  Perhaps, not as apparent looking at the roster, but the problems are ther--specifically in the secondary.  A group of cast offs, UDFAs, and players in the twilight of their careers, Carolina's secondary is good enough when the pass rush is productive.  Like any secondary, they are going to struggle when asked to do too much. Right now, Carolina is asking them to carry their weight in lieu of the disappointing performance of the front seven. Personnel limitations also dictate Panther coverage schemes, lending to a lot of zone defensive plays because the guys struggle matching up one-on-one.  Everyone thought Gettleman was pushing the limits last year with this formula, but it worked.  He looked genius.  He was a guy that could spy system talent.  Well Carolina's system isn't working right now, and it shows with the 75 points allowed in the last two games. Carolina just isn't generating the pass rush necessary for Gettleman's secondary potion to work.

The scariest part of this is that Carolina has been getting thrashed even worse on the ground, where the real defensive backbone was supposed to be.  Currently, the Panthers allow a demoralizing 5.1 yards per carry, the leagues worst.  Carolina's secondary hasn't really been exposed yet because teams have been bludgeoning the Panthers on the ground.  Carolina's losses have really come from the side of the ball everyone thought would be the greatest strength.

I'm not ready to say it's over, but the past weeks have revealed that there are deep personnel weaknesses where ultimately Dave Gettleman has to shoulder responsibility.  True this team has suffered its share of injuries and been sapped with distractions, but so have other teams--like Baltimore who just put the stomping on Carolina. Missing Greg Hardy has been more devastating than anyone expected, particularly because of Charles Johnson's disappearance. This isn't just because of one player, though, Steve Smith included.  In the most perfect of worlds, Gettleman would have pulled another rabbit out of the hat. The slight of hand in this magic trick would have come from an all-consuming defense that won games near single-handedly.  The trick is busted right now, however, Gettleman should get a decent share of the blame.  If we are going to trounce on Philly "Clappin Seal" Brown because he dropped a punt or on Wes Horton because of an encroachment play, we need to trounce on Gettleman for asking Rivera to turn a tin can offensive line and secondary into gold.

Parting ways with Steve Smith clearly isn't the cause of Carolina's woes, but it may be badly symbolic.

By the Professor

My Take On Watching Smitty Going Against Us On Sunday. Who Owes Who What?

All those years when Steve Smith played for us, we defended his temper and his antics.  Friends of mine that are fans of other teams would text me when we played them to tell me that Smitty needed to "shut up and play football."  I always responded by saying how much I loved his passion.  All of those battles with DeAngelo Hall, all of the X-Clown type plays, and all of those "Ice Up Son" moments will forever be etched in his legacy as a Panther.  Without question, he is the greatest Panther to ever play and 89% of me wishes he was able to finish his career here.  He is the Panthers all-time leading receiver with  854 receptions and 12,487 yards and he will always have a special place in my heart.

HOWEVER, there is always another side to the story.  Now that he plays elsewhere, his yelling into the camera and throwing former teammates under the bus does wear thin (he said recently that he was glad to finally have a QB that was calm in the huddle).  I have a new appreciation for what my friends saw when texting me about Smith's antics.  Though the Blood and Guts comments seem funny (and in many ways are), there is more to talk about with this comment.  You see 89 is saying that Carolina mistreated him and he deserved better.  He's saying that he was taken out like a bag of garbage.  Though there is a hint of reality in his statements, they do not reflect the entire story.  Carolina drafted him in the 3rd Round when other teams did not see what our organization did.  We gave him the chance to succeed.  And very pertinent to this discussion is the fact that the Panthers stuck by his side when many teams would have shown him the door. Breaking a team-mate's nose and sending him to the hospital while watching film is inexcusable.  The Panthers stuck by their man and helped him restore his reputation.  He then went on to breaking another teammate's nose in Ken Lucas.  Ken Lucas single-handedly saved that Panther team's locker room by being the bigger man and accepting Steve's apology and for saying and doing all of the right things.  That is why I have a #21 Ken Lucas jersey in my collection.  Smitty also was seen cursing out team mates on a regular basis.

Get your Goggles Ready:

So my point here is that Steve Smith should be extremely grateful to the Panther's organization for giving him a shot and for not throwing him out years ago.  The Kraken would love that same opportunity now, wouldn't he?  And #1 resurrected Smitty's career that had collapsed when paired with Jimmy Clausen.  Yea, we all would have loved to see 89 stay here forever, and I hope that he retires a Panther and that no one else wears 89 in Carolina. However, this year he is against us and any smack talk about our organization should be kept in perspective. We owe Smitty our respect, but he owes the Panthers more respect than he is giving at the moment as well.

And I love Steve Smith, but I do hope Harper clean's his clock this week (Seems so weird to say that doesn't it?)


C3 Podcast: Blood and Guts (Week 4)

Tune in at 10 pm
C3 Crew in the anguish of the Week 3 prime time beat-down administered by the +Pittsburgh Pirates to the +Carolina Panthers , the Crew will sift through the Blood and Guts to see if the Panthers can bounce back against the +Baltimore Ravens .  There were blood in guts all over the field, and Steve Smith has forecasted more in Baltimore....will it be bird blood or Panther guts.  Guest Host +Jason Oppel from 

My All-Time Carolina Panthers Squad

I'm sure every fan of the Carolina Panthers has had this discussion, in one form or another, with other fans.

"Who would you say are the all-time greats of the Carolina Panthers?"

Since this is the Panthers 20th anniversary as a franchise, the list is going to necessarily be somewhat short of HOF-level talent, but is rather a look at top players by position over the years. Also, a couple of people are in here for name-recognition and overall publicity's sake as much as anything - people know of them. 20 years isn't very long in the NFL...really only 2 "generations," if that, of playing time.

QB: Jake DelHomme

RBs: Stephen Davis, DeAngelo Williams*

WR1: Steve Smith (duh)
WR2: Mushin Muhammed
WR3: Ricky Proehl

LT: Jordan Gross
LG: Travelle Wharton
C: Ryan Kalil
RG: Kevin Donnalley
RT: Chris Terry

TE1: Wesley Walls
TE2: Greg Olsen

LDE: Julius Peppers
RDE: Mike Rucker (Big Money is a LDE and The Kraken is moving up rapidly here)
NT: Kris Jenkins
DT: Brentson Buckner

OLB: Kevin Greene
OLB: Thomas Davis
ILB: Dan Morgan
ILB: Luke Kuechly**

CB1: Chris Gamble
CB2: Eric Davis
CB3: Doug Evans

SS: Mike Minter
FS: Deon Grant

P: Todd Sauerbrun
K: John Kasay

KR: Michael Bates
KR2: He Hate Me

* Yes, 2 HBs. If you want a FB, go with Tolbert....he has a skill set as vast as his waistline.
** Sam Mills could well be one of the LBs, but with Kuechly's rapid rise and high level of play in his first two seasons, he gets the nod. Mills did play most of his career in New Orleans with his final 3 seasons in Charlotte.

Remember, Ricky Proehl had a 17-year career as well. Rod Smart's was much shorter but more publicized than Bates' was, largely in part to the single season in the "XFL" and the notoriety of his jersey I included them both for fun's sake.

I'll finish with lyrics to a song made before the Panthers were even a thought: Hit me with your best shot....Fire away!!!

Do YOU have a suggestion?

Follow me on Twitter @Ken_Dye

Steve Smith Tells Charlotte Observer Reporter His Article "Sucked"

He’s right, it sucks.  Cutting Steve Smith, the greatest Panther ever, sucks.  Oh wait, he was talking  Rick Bonnell’s article “Steve Smith release hearkens back to Bobcats’ Gerald Wallace trade?”  Well, that sucked too!

I don’t follow the NBA all that closely.  But reminiscent of Gerald Wallace?  Gerald Wallace...Gerald #$%#$%^ Wallace!

Look, at this point we don’t have any choice as fans but to let this play out.  We’ve been reminded numerous times that Gettleman has a plan and that cutting Smith was necessary.  I’ve been opposed to this move from the beginning, but Gettleman has made the decision to move on and it is what it is.  

Let’s be real though, this isn’t like cutting a journeyman player like Gerald Wallace.  Sure the guy is talented, and I’m not trying to trash on him, but he’s no Steve Smith.

Honestly, I really don’t know much about Gerald Wallace, but it’s obvious that I know more about Steve Smith than Rick Bonnell knows about Gerald Wallace.  

Remember how Steve Smith threatened to “bust,” Janoris Jenkins, “in the f------ mouth” for Googling his wife? Well, I had to Google Gerald Wallace because I knew about him as about I knew about Janoris Jenkins, Steve Smith’s wife, or Rick Bonnell (Syracuse Orange, Charlotte Observer reporter).  

Wallace looks to be a solid player who has managed to play a productive role on numerous teams, 5 of them in 12 years to be exact.  He wasn’t really the signature player on any of those teams except for the Bobcats, and they were terrible….really terrible.  He’s a journeyman—a professional, but never a superstar.

I’m not trying to trash on Wallace, but it’s whack that Bonnell is trashing on Smith here. Steve Smith is in a different league than Wallace, and I don’t mean a different sport. I mean a different league--like stratosphere.

I’m not talking about a good player, I’m talking about a great player.  Bonnell stated, that Wallace was “like an iconic player.”  Well Mr. Bonnell, Steve Smith was an iconic player. He is a hall of famer and Carolina’s only real superstar before Cam Newton. He’s been among the top players at his position for a decade, and at times arguably the best at his position (2005-103 receptions 1563 yards 12 receiving touchdowns).  

Gettleman made the choice to part ways with Smith, and all of us have to live with it--Gettleman, Rivera, Smith, and the people of Charlotte and Baltimore.  Some people outside the capital are all smiles right now I guessing.  Smith may be a little salty, but he has to live with being 3.5 million richer right now too.

Smith has handled this as best as he could.  He’s expressed his gratitude to the organization, Jerry Richardson, the people of Charlotte, and his fans.  He’s given a ton to the community and pledged to continue to in the future.

Sure, my man has punched the occasional dude in the face, but he has also been the backbone of this Carolina Panthers team  for more than a decade.  He’s matured a lot in that time. He’s more reserved these days.  Now he only punches dudes in the face via the media.


Follow @Cat_Chronicles