Carolina Panthers News: Regular Season and Preseason Updates
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6/13/13: Perhaps the biggest key to a successful 2013 campaign for the Panthers is the emergence of a complementary receiver for veteran Steve Smith. Smith has been the go-to guy for a decade. In that time, the team has never been able to find a suitable counterpart. Dominik Hixon and Ted Ginn Jr. were brought in as depth this offseason. Ginn wants to be more than a return man with blazing speed. It will be important to the development of Cam Newton that someone steps up, otherwise every play will be a pass to Smith or a Newton run.
6/6/13: Many may recall that Ted Ginn Jr. was once among the most highly prized wide receivers in the draft. In fact, he was drafted ninth overall by Miami six years ago. Fast forward to the current day and Ginn Jr. has had two three year stints with the Dolphins and 49ers, but has never lived up to his billing as a wide receiver. On the other hand, he has developed into one of the better return men in the league and still has elite speed. Panthers' head coach Ron Rivera is impressed by that speed and may have a bigger role in mind for Ginn Jr. in the receiving game. It would be nice to see Ginn Jr. do more with his talent, and being a deep threat complement to Steve Smith would be a great place to start.
5/30/13: It is probably just speculation, but there has been some talk that a poor 2013 season could spell the end for Cam Newton in Carolina. The team started at 2-8 last season, which was inexplicable considering they finished on a high note in 2011 - Newton's rookie season. The team did rally and finished up at 7-9, but that was not good enough to sniff the playoffs. In the division, the Falcons are still strong, the Bucs are rebuilt, and the Saints have all their pieces back together. So is it possible to trade Newton? Possible yes, likely no. But this team will succeed or fail on their defense and how they play in the division.
5/16/13: Carolina Panthers' wide receiver Steve Smith got praise from a high place in the past week. Recently retired Buccaneer Ronde Barber regarded Smith as the toughest player he played against. Barber's career spanned 16 seasons and included all of the top 10 NFL wide receivers of all time - including Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, and Calvin Johnson. But he said that Smith was the toughest because he just outworked everyone else. Smith currently sits at 27th in the all time receptions list, about 200 behind Reggie Wayne. He has three years left on his contract and has a chance to move up the list even further.
5/9/13: New Panthers cornerback Drayton Florence talks about all the talent in the Panthers' secondary. Carolina will need lots of talent considering they play both Drew Brees and the Saints twice and Matt Ryan and the Falcons twice each year. Even the Bucs have shown they can throw the ball on occasion. Florence also said that he want to help the team make the playoffs. That should seem like a pretty obvious goal. One should be more concerned if a player does not want to help a team make the playoffs. In any case, Carolina seems more ready to play in the NFC South than they have in several years, which makes this division one to watch.
5/2/13: As much as the Panthers fans do not want to hear it, they are still probably a year away still from competing in the NFC South. They did not have a lot of picks this year, but their first pick was a big name. The Panthers took Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei with the 8th overall pick. Star is considered one of the best defensive tackle prospects in a while, with the emphasis on prospect. He has undeniable talent, but is still raw. He also was severely injured. Panthers doctors believe he is healed now. He needs to be for the Panthers to make any moves this season against a stacked division.
4/25/13: The Panthers and their fans must be looking at the just-released NFL schedule and wonder who they angered. Carolina has the toughest schedule based upon 2012 records. Aside from facing the lethal Atlanta Falcons twice, the restored New Orleans Saints twice, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers twice, they face a resurgent NFC West as well as the AFC East. In one brutal stretch, the Panthers play the Vikings, Rams, Tampa (on a short week, Thursday night game), Atlanta, San Francisco, and New England (Monday night game). Carolina must be ready to play every week. If they can survive this schedule, they could be a surprise team.
4/18/13: Panther fans and Cam Newton alike would both probably like another top end wide receiver on the roster when the season starts in September. They have the chance to add that playmaker next week at the draft. Steve Smith has been a great player for a number of years. However, he is getting on in years and teams can easily double cover him and limit his effectiveness. The Panthers may be looking at drafting Keenan Allen or Tayvon Austin with their first pick. Either would bolster the passing game and at least relieve some pressure from Smith, while also establishing an heir-apparent.
4/11/13: Carolina is a bit of a mystery right now. Are they the team that could not move the ball the firsrt half of the year or are they the team that won five of their last six, including one against the NFC runner up Atlanta Falcons. Also, Coach Chud (Rob Chudzinski, offensive coordinator) is gone to be the head coach in Cleveland. The Panthers and their fans believe it is the latter. Cam Newton has developed into a quality quarterback. As for draft needs, they could use another defensive lineman and a complementary receiver to take the pressure off of Steve Smith.
4/4/13: The Panthers already have a pretty good defense, featuring Jon Beason, Thomas Davis, and AP Rookie of the Year Luke Kuechly. Now they have added veteran Chase Blackburn, formerly of the New York Giants to the mix. Blackburn has played all eight of his seasons with the Giants and won two Super Bowls. He is primarily known as a special teams guy, but did start 15 games last season at middle linebacker. He may not be able to break into the Panthers rotation, but will provide depth and leadership on special teams for the young Carolina squad.
3/28/13: The Panthers understand that the NFC South is an arms race. The starting quarterbacks are Cam Newton (Panthers), Drew Breese (Saints), Matt Ryan (Falcons) and Josh Freeman (Bucs). That means that each of these teams can score in bunches. But the Panthers may be the only one really taking defense seriously. The team is trying to upgrade their secondary, hoping that will help them win more of the six games they must play within the division each season. Carolina signed former Oakland Raiders defensive back and safety Mike Mitchell to help shut down the big time arms they face each week.
3/21/13: Former Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski is generally creditted with bringing the zone read offense to the NFL. He did it as a way to help acclimate QB Cam Newton into the league and be successful off the bat. It worked. Now, several teams - most notably the San Francisco 49ers - employ the system. But Coach Chud (now head coach of the Cleveland Browns) thinks that Newton will shed the 'run first' label and eventually be known as a pocket passer. Newton has the arm strength to do so. With the type of maturity that Chud speaks of, Newton could be very dangerous once defenses forget that he can run like the wind.
3/14/13: Carolina is having some cornerback issues, but seemed to have solved one of them by agreeing to a one year deal with veteran Drayton Florence. The Panthers cut solid contributor Chris Gamble, who has opted to retire (he may resurface in a couple months for a contending team that needs some veteran help). Florance played last season in Detroit, but has spent time with many teams, including San Diego where he was drafted in the second round and played under Carolina head coach Ron Rivera. He is not the flashy signing, but he will lend a steady hand until the team's youngsters can develop.
3/7/13: A few months ago, the prediction about the Panthers would be that they may blow up the team and rebuild with a new roster and coach. But the Panthers rallied late in the season, showing they have the talent to compete in the NFC South. That will be needed, as New Orleans will be strong and Atlanta had the best record in the NFL last season. Carolina did release starting defensive lineman Ron Edwards, a stout tackle that consumed two blockers. However, Edwards was often injured, and the move clears up $2.5 million in cap space.
2/14/13: The Panthers' late season surge was enough to save head coach Ron Rivera's job, and the jobs of his coaching staff. The only change was resignation of offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski to accept the head coaching position of the Cleveland Browns. Rivera and the Panthers interviewed several candidates, including Bengals' assistant coach Hue Jackson and deposed Cleveland head coach Pat Shurmur. Had they hired Shurmur, they basically would have been trading coaches. Instead, they stayed in-house and promoted quarterbacks coach Mike Shula to the OC position, and will keep the same offense they have run for the past few years.
2/7/13: Assuming he continues his production arc, Cam Newton should be a force in 2013. After an electrifying rookie campaign, Newton started slowly. Perhaps defenses figured him out, perhaps the offense was too complicated, or perhaps he just was not prepared. In any case, then offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski scaled back the playbook and gave Newton more latitude on the field. He took off in the second half of the season - enough to save Ron Rivera's job and reclaim his own title as the Next Big Thing. At this pace, Newton could become an elite quarterback. Now he just has to keep it up.
1/31/13: Panthers players and fans should be disappointed in the teams 7-9 record. Carolina showed much improvement in 2011 with rookie QB Cam Newton and the future looked so bright with a year of development and a full training camp under his belt. But the team regressed early, though they did go on an impressive streak at the end of the season. Still, too little, too late. But the Panthers have shown they know how to draft, from Newton to Johnathan Stewart to Jeff Otah. So there is little reason to expect anything different this April. The Panthers have some holes to fill, but expect those to be filled and for the Panthers to be competitive in the NFC South next season.
1/24/13: Carolina filled their empty offensive coordinator position by promoting Mike Shula to the position. Shula, of course, is the son of legendary Dolphins and Colts head coach Don Shula. Previously, he had served as the quarterbacks coach for the team. Not too many years ago, he was a head coach himself. However, he has proven himself as an offensive guru, better serving in positions than as the main man. The Panthers also interviewed former Cleveland head coach Pat Shurmer, who mentored current St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford, as well as former Raiders coach Hue Jackman.
1/17/13: Cam Newton and the Panthers will have to evolve their dynamic offense without their chief architect from now on. Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski has accepted the head coaching job in Cleveland after two offensively successful years in Carolina. Under Coach Chud, the Panthers were among the league leaders in many offensive categories, even if the team was under .500. The Panthers were particularly strong in the second half of this season. He adapted Newton's strengths and college game plan to the pro level - a technique that several others, such as the Redskins and Seahawks, have copied to spur early success among rookie quarterbacks.
1/10/13: Ron Rivera was on the hot seat and the subject of much firing speculation once the Panthers got off to a slow start this season. Hopes in Carolina were very high after the Panthers turned into an exciting team behind Cam Newton last season. Those hopes were dashed early and often in 2012. The personnel was almost the same, and the team did show flashes of greatness, but could not seem to win. Once the team was eliminated from post season consideration they went on a winning streak, including beating the NFC's best team, Atlanta, at home. Apparently that streak was enough to save Rivera, as it was announced that he would return next season.
1/3/13: The Panthers' late season resurgence seems to have saved head coach Ron Rivera's job - at least for now. The Panthers were 2-8 after their first 10 games, but rallied to a 5-1 finish to end the season at a respectable 7-9. The final game against New Orleans was a offensive classic, with the Panthers coming back from a 17-13 halftime deficit to a thrilling 44-38 win at New Orleans. DeAngelo Williams rushed for 210 yards and two touchdowns, while Cam Newton threw for about 250 yards but no TDs. If Carolina can build on the late season flourish, then they will certainly be a playoff team next season.
12/27/12: The Panthers continue their strong play down the stretch, winning 17-6 over Oakland. While these teams are not traditional rivals, there was plenty of heat between players, that resulted in six unneccessary roughness penalties - including one that knocked Raiders QB Carson Palmer out of the game and finished him for the season. Panthers QB Cam Newton accounted for 231 of the team's 271 offensive yards. Carolina is now 6-9, and may have shown enough to save head coach Ron Rivera's job over the past month. Carolina wraps up their season with a trip down to the Bayou to face New Orleans.
12/20/12: Give the Panthers credit, they will not go quietly to end a disapointing season. A week after dismantling the NFC South Champion Atlanta Falcons, the Panthers overwhelmed the host San Diego Chargers 31-7. The Panthers scored three quick touchdowns in the first quarter to take a 21-0 lead and never looked back. Cam Newton threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns and Mike Tolbert added two TDs to bury the Chargers. The Panthers are now 5-9, but are showing that they have the talent to compete. Carolina now returns home to host the hapless Raiders on Sunday.
12/13/12: Much like the Detroit Lions, the Panthers had big expectations in Cam Newton's second year. And similarly, the team has fallen short on most expectations. But the Sunday game against the Falcons was a bit of redemption. Carolina pulled out to a 16-0 halftime lead, and held off a late Atlanta rally to win 30-20. Cam Newton showed the talent that made him such a sensation last season by throwing for almost 300 yards and two touchdowns. The Panthers are now 4-9 on the season, but are positioning for next year. The team travels to San Diego this Sunday to try for their fifth win of the season.
12/6/12: Carolina flew to Kansas City for a game just one day after Chiefs' linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend then himself. The Chiefs won the game 27-21, which was probably a lot more important to them than to the Panthers. Cam Newton threw for 232 yards and 3 touchdowns, and added 78 yards on the ground. But Cam needs help on defense. With a 3-9 record currently, a high draft pick is very likely, and equally likely will be Panthers trying to rebuild their defense in order to compete in the NFC South . With four games left, there is some time for a partial redemption. Carolina hosts division champion Atlanta this Sunday.
The Carolina Panthers told sources on Thursday that they are not interested in signing free agent wide receiver Plaxico Burress. Burress, who spent last season with the New York Jets after being released from prison, caught 8 touchdown passes to go along with 612 yards for Gang Green and is now a free agent currently shopping around for a team. The Panthers, despite being rather anemic at the wide receiver position with Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell as their top two players at the position heading into the season, have no interest in Burress, leaving him to pursue other options.
The Carolina Panthers were founded in 1995 and just one year later, the Panthers fought their way to the NFC Championships led by Pro Bowl QB Kerry Collins. Early greats on the Panthers include Michael Bates, Wesley Walls and Reggie White. Buy Panthers tickets and enjoy Bank of America Stadium in the heart of uptown in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Carolina Panthers Tickets - The Players
Jimmy Clausen has done nothing for the Panthers. That's why they drafted Cam Newton. The Heisman Trophy Winner has a lot of hype following him and has been talked to by various veterans and retired QB's giving him advice and ways to handle the pressure. Steve Smith is hoping for Cam to come in and immediately contribute to the Panthers who are in desperate need of an answer to all of their troubles. Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams work as a strong tandem in the back field but still cannot carry the weight of the team on their back. The defense for the Panthers also needs to be vastly improved. With no strong identity, the Panthers have been struggling in the NFL for many years now and it looks as if there is much rebuilding to be done.
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Carolina Panthers Schedule & Key Dates
Opening Day / Carolina Panthers First Game 2013
Carolina Panthers Preseason Beginning 2013
Dec 30, 2012 Carolina Panthers 44 - 38 New Orleans Saints Dec 23, 2012 Oakland Raiders 6 - 17 Carolina Panthers Dec 16, 2012 Carolina Panthers 31 - 7 San Diego Chargers Dec 9, 2012 Atlanta Falcons 20 - 30 Carolina Panthers Dec 2, 2012 Carolina Panthers 21 - 27 Kansas City Chiefs Nov 26, 2012 Carolina Panthers 30 - 22 Philadelphia Eagles Nov 18, 2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27 - 21 Carolina Panthers Nov 11, 2012 Denver Broncos 36 - 14 Carolina Panthers Nov 4, 2012 Carolina Panthers 21 - 13 Washington Redskins Oct 28, 2012 Carolina Panthers 22 - 23 Chicago Bears Oct 21, 2012 Dallas Cowboys 19 - 14 Carolina Panthers Oct 7, 2012 Seattle Seahawks 16 - 12 Carolina Panthers Sep 30, 2012 Carolina Panthers 28 - 30 Atlanta Falcons Sep 20, 2012 New York Giants 36 - 7 Carolina Panthers Sep 16, 2012 New Orleans Saints 27 - 35 Carolina Panthers Aug 30, 2012 Carolina Panthers 16 - 17 Pittsburgh Steelers Aug 26, 2012 Carolina Panthers 17 - 12 New York Jets Aug 17, 2012 Miami Dolphins 17 - 23 Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers vs. Chicago Bears Carolina Panthers vs. Philadelphia Eagles Carolina Panthers vs. Baltimore Ravens
Aug 9, 2013 Chicago Bears vs Carolina Panthers Aug 15, 2013 Carolina Panthers vs Philadelphia Eagles Aug 22, 2013 Carolina Panthers vs Baltimore Ravens Aug 29, 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers vs Carolina Panthers Sep 8, 2013 Seattle Seahawks vs Carolina Panthers Sep 15, 2013 Carolina Panthers vs Buffalo Bills Sep 22, 2013 New York Giants vs Carolina Panthers Oct 6, 2013 Carolina Panthers vs Arizona Cardinals Oct 13, 2013 Carolina Panthers vs Minnesota Vikings Oct 20, 2013 St. Louis Rams vs Carolina Panthers Oct 24, 2013 Carolina Panthers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Nov 3, 2013 Atlanta Falcons vs Carolina Panthers Nov 10, 2013 Carolina Panthers vs San Francisco 49ers Nov 18, 2013 New England Patriots vs Carolina Panthers Nov 24, 2013 Carolina Panthers vs Miami Dolphins Dec 1, 2013 Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Carolina Panthers Dec 8, 2013 Carolina Panthers vs New Orleans Saints Dec 15, 2013 New York Jets vs Carolina Panthers Dec 22, 2013 New Orleans Saints vs Carolina Panthers Dec 29, 2013 Carolina Panthers vs Atlanta Falcons