Tag Archives: Carolina
With the 254th and final pick of the 2013 NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts selected South Carolina tight end Justice Cunningham, this year’s Mr. Irrelevant. It’s the second straight year in which the Colts got the final pick of the draft — in 2012, they took Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish. Cunningham was a somewhat productive target in the last two seasons, finishing his four-year stint with 50 catches for 581 yards and a touchdown.
He majored in sport and entertainment management, and has three siblings: a brother named Power, and sisters named Promise and Sincere.
In 2012, Cunningham caught 23 of those passes for 324 yards. But he’s more of a blocker, and with Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen already in the game plan, one wonders where Cunningham might fit. Then again, new Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton ran a few three-TE sets at Stanford, so you never know.
For his role as Mr. Irrelevant, Cunningham will be the star of “Irrelevant Week XXXVIII,” which is a thing that actually happens. From the official event site:
Founded by Paul Salata in 1976, Irrelevant Week is a 38-year-old philanthropic tradition within the Newport Beach community that commemorates the final National Footbal League draft pick each season while simultaneously raising money for charitable organizations. During the summer following the draft, Mr. Irrelevant and his family are invited to participate in a host of events throughout Orange County.
This year, Irrelevant Week XXXVIII is proud to support Special Olympics Southern California.
So, it’s a fun event for a good cause. Fortunately, the players seem to have a sense of humor about it, and get into the feel of things. Harnish actually tweeted a succession welcome to the newest member of the club:
Proud to pass the Mr. Irrelevant torch over @justiceivall87 . Congrats and welcome to the Colts!
— Chandler Harnish (@C_Harnish) April 27, 2013
Believe it or not, some of these Misters Irrelevant have made tracks in the NFL. Kansas City Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop, selected with the final pick in the 2009 NFL draft, enjoyed career highs in field goals attempted (34) and made (28) in 2012. That’s what happens when your offense doesn’t score a lot of touchdowns. Succop signed a $ 14 million contract extension in 2012, so you can make fun of him as he drives past you in his Escalade.
Fullback Jim Finn, taken with the final pick of the 1999 draft, was released by the Chicago Bears, the team that took him, but later played seven total seasons for the Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants. 2008 “winner” David Vobora started some games at linebacker for the St. Louis Rams.
Now, Cunningham isn’t quite the “loser” you might think — he did receive an invitation to the scouting combine, and he did pretty well — ran a 4.90 40-yard dash at 6-foot-3 and 258 pounds, recorded a 31 1/2-inch vertical leap, and managed some pretty decent times in the agility drills. You can see some of his game tape here.
So, welcome to the NFL, Justice Cunningham. You may have come in through the back door, but that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed!
More NFL draft coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Complete 2013 NFL draft breakdown
• Winners, losers from 2013 NFL draft
• New Cardinals DB Tyrann Mathieu continues to raise red flags
• Eagles nab Matt Barkley early on Day 3
Shutdown Corner – NFL – Yahoo! Sports
With the 2012 NFL season in the books, and the scouting combine in the rear-view, it’s time to take a closer look at the 50 players we think will be the biggest difference-makers at the next level from this draft class. To that end, we’re happy to continue this year’s Shutdown 50 scouting reports (Hint: There may actually be more than 50). You can read last year’s group here. The final 50 players were chosen and ranked based on game tape, combine and Pro Day results, overall positional value, and attributes and liabilities on and off the field.
#7: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
We continue this year’s series with North Carolina offensive guard Jonathan Cooper, who has been battling Alabama’s Chance Warmack for the title of best interior lineman in this draft class. After redshirting in 2008, Cooper was named to the Sporting News All-ACC Freshman team in 2009 after he started 10 games at left guard, earned a 73 pecent grade from his coaches, and led the team with 40 knockdown blocks. Though his grades would rise throughout his collegiate career (83 to 86 to 93 percent over the next three seasons), one thing stayed the same — Cooper always led his line in knockdowns, which outlines the most underrated aspect of his play.
Cooper is a very physical blocker, and the only reason that fact gets second billing is because he’s so very athletic. At 6-foot-2 and playing anywhere from 290 to 310 pounds, Cooper comes into the NFL as athletically gifted as any guard currently playing in the pros. It’s why he’s gaining momentum among the analysts are studying him, and it’s also why some seem to believe that he might be able to switch to center at the next level.
“I’d say I’m a combination of power and athleticism,” he said at the scouting combine. “I can, especially with the addition of weight, I can run power. You can look at it from my first three years of film where we’re a pro-style offense where power was our staple play. And then this year it really showed my athletic ability, getting out in space. We ran a bunch of screens and a lot of things where I was on the second and third level getting on linebackers and defensive backs and such.”
The tape proves every one of Cooper’s points — whoever selects him in the upcoming draft could very well have themselves a franchise anchor from Day 1.
Pros: Amazingly quick, agile athlete for his size. Sets up in his pass pro like a tackle — comes up from excellent leverage, establishes a side base, gets a good kick-step going, and stones defenders with an outstanding hand-strike. Pulls with impressive speed and agility from left guard all the way around to seal the right edge, and has the ability to read, stop, and block along the way. Also pulls with great speed and agility from left guard outside left tackle and into space upfield. Tremendous lateral agility and power allows him to excel in slide and zone slide protection. Gets upfield to linebacker depth in a hurry, but with leverage and power, to beat defenders downfield.
As a pure gap blocker, works into a low, wide base with great leverage and a very nasty attitude. Keeps his hands moving and forces defenders to re-set and re-direct over and over. Has the upper-body strength to push linemen back and out to the side from two-point and three-point stance. Latches on inside his defender’s pads and wrestles with strength, persistence, and passion. Able to deliver knockdown blocks consistently and really seems to enjoy physical dominance — has the right kind of aggressive attitude and almost plays like a defensive tackle at times when firing out on the run. Strong enough to open gaps in red zone situations. Has the awareness to hold one defender at bay while controlling another a gap away, and hands off from one to another — could be completely dominant in a zone scheme. Durable player who gives his all, play after play, in a high-volume, no-huddle offense.
Cons: Inaccurate with cut blocks, especially in space — tends to lunge instead of targeting and will whiff as a result. Played at under 300 pounds at times and may struggle to maintain weight if he’s in a high-volume offense similar to the one he was in before. Gets rocked back at times if he comes off the snap too high, but adjusts and re-sets on the fly. Underwent shoulder surgery before the 2012 season to relieve chronic inflammation.
Conclusion: Cooper could do a lot of things in the NFL, but I hope he isn’t asked to put on too much weight to run power all the time, and I think he’d be wasted to a degree by moving to center — his combination of athleticism and pure power is rare and makes him a very interesting player from a schematic sense. When the New Orleans Saints selected Jahri Evans in the fourth round out of Bloomsburg, they wound up with the most agile and effective downfield guard in the game, as well as a man who simply likes to dominate the linemen he faces. Evans has been a deserving Pro Bowler each of the last four years, and Cooper seems ready, willing, and able to have a similar impact. This is a player with a rare and highly valuable skill set, and I wouldn’t be surprised if, when all is said and done, Cooper isn’t the jewel of the 2013 NFL draft.
NFL Comparison: Jahri Evans, New Orleans Saints
More Shutdown 50:
#50: Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State | #49: John Jenkins, DL, Georgia | #48: Cornellius “Tank” Carradine, DE, Florida State | #47: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State | #46: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse | #45: E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State | #44: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU | #43: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson | #42: Kyle Long, OL, Oregon | #41: Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State | #40: Jonathan Cyprien, SS, Florida International | #39: Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame | #38: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU | #37: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama | #36: Johnthan Banks, DB, Mississippi State | #35: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama | #34: Matt Barkley, QB, USC | #33: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas | #32: Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford | #31: Matt Elam, SS, Florida | #30: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas | #29: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M | #28: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State | #27: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia | #26: Robert Woods, WR, USC | #25: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU | #24: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama | #23: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington | #22: Keenan Allen, WR, Cal | #21: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame | #20: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas | #19: Sheldon Richardson, CB, Florida State | #18: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State | #17: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU | #16: Datone Jones, DL, UCLA | #15: D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston | #14: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee | #13: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU | #12: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia | #11: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia | #10: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia | #9: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama | #8: Dion Jordan, OLB/DE, Oregon
With the 2012 NFL season in the books, and the scouting combine in the rear-view, it’s time to take a closer look at the 50 players we think will be the biggest difference-makers at the next level from this draft class. To that end, we’re happy to continue this year’s Shutdown 50 scouting reports (Hint: There may actually be more than 50). You can read last year’s group here. The final 50 players were chosen and ranked based on game tape, combine and pro day results, overall positional value, and attributes and liabilities on and off the field.
41. Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State
We continue this year’s series with North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon, one member of a quarterback class that has been perhaps unfairly maligned, standing in the shadows of a 2012 class that gave us Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson. At least the 6-foot-7 Glennon is used to standing in the 5-foot-11 shadow of Wilson; he had to wait until Wilson transferred from N.C. State to Wisconsin in 2011 before he could be a starter in college. Glennon showed flashes of the ability that made him one of the most prized high school recruits in the country in 2007.
In his first year as a starter, Glennon completed 283 passes in 453 attempts for 3,054 yards, 31 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. However, the burden of production shifted far more to Glennon’s shoulders in 2012, and that wasn’t always a good thing. He led the ACC in interceptions with 17, while attempting over 100 more passes and throwing for over 1,000 more yards. Estimable production and frustrating mistakes? That was the snapshot view of Glennon’s time in Raleigh.
At the Senior Bowl, Glennon looked great in practices, when he didn’t have pass rushers bearing down on him, and he could show off his amazing throwing arm. But in the game itself, that old bugaboo of his — severe inconsistency under pressure — reared its ugly head. Glennon completed eight of 16 passes in the game for 82 yards, no touchdowns and a pick. Teams in love with pure physical attributes will surely value Glennon highly, but when you watch the game tape, there’s a lot to worry about. The version of Mike Glennon we see in the NFL will depend a great deal on coaching, scheme and personnel.
Pros: Glennon displays a smooth and consistent dropback form on long passes that require five-and seven-stop drops. His footwork isn’t choppy, and he times the rock from his back foot to the throw on his plant foot well. More mobile than he looks; will bail out of pressure, especially to his right, and make throws (though accuracy is something we’ll talk about later). When moving in and around the pocket, tends to reset pretty quickly and keeps his eyes downfield. Can roll right off of boot action and make tough throws downfield. Has an easy, quick, relatively compact delivery (a little hitch when he’s bringing the ball back to the side of his head), and the ball just zings off his hand.
Can make deep and stick throws with relatively little effort. Good touch on those deeper throws — he doesn’t hang everything on a rope, and he has a decent (if spotty) sense of timing up his receivers on vertical routes. When he’s in a rhythm, can make every throw on the route tree. Experience in a West Coast-style offense; will be more comfortable with NFL verbiage and concepts than some other quarterbacks in this draft class.
Cons: While Glennon has good overall technique on longer throws, his ability to read more advanced coverages — blitzes, corners jumping routes, and things like that — remains very much a work in progress. Will throw into multiple coverages with obviously converging defensive backs, and you have to wonder what the heck he’s thinking at times. Tends to plant an idea in his head of where a receiver should be, and throws there whether said receiver has been disrupted from his assigned route or not.
More a “see it and throw it” player than the kind of quarterback who will re-cock and adjust on the fly. That works pretty well for quarterbacks in offenses with a lot of shorter timing throws (Brandon Weeden was a prime example at Oklahoma State), but I think it explains a lot of Glennon’s really questionable throws in NC State’s deeper passing offense. Tends to be wildly inaccurate when throwing under pressure — that’s a debit which shows up on tape and also was very obvious during Senior Bowl week.
Doesn’t throw his receivers open — there’s not a lot of tape in which he’s throwing with anticipation on or before a breaking route. Has a tendency to step back in the pocket on pressure throws, which throws off his footwork and leads to still more inaccuracy.
Conclusion: I started my study of Glennon with the tape of his 2012 game against Florida State because he had to deal with Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine as pass rushers. I had serious questions about Glennon’s ability to deal with pressure. Safe to say, my concerns were not minimized as that was by far the worst game I watched in which he was the primary subject. Against teams exhibiting less pressure on a snap-to-snap basis, however, Glennon is a very good ball distributor, capable of carrying and extending drives in an offense that places serious volume demands on the passer. Glennon attempted more than 40 passes in 10 of his 13 games in 2012, and more than 50 in four of those.
The Wolfpack were 18th in passing yards and 111th in rushing yards last season, which gives you a good example of their priorities. That didn’t serve Glennon very well. When you have a tall, gangly quarterback who is a completely different player under pressure, you want to establish a running game to switch the focus and allow him to use play action. That’s what the Baltimore Ravens did with Joe Flacco, the man to whom Glennon is most often compared. I don’t yet see that level of proficiency, but had Flacco gone to a team with a less-interesting running game, he might look a lot more like Mike Glennon. I like Glennon’s arm, delivery, relative mobility and toughness. But the stuff that happens when the ball leaves his hand — well, that gives me pause.
I believe that in time and in the right system, Glennon could be a franchise-level NFL quarterback, but that characterization requires a lot of projection at this point. He is far from the scheme-transcendent quarterbacks we saw in last year’s draft. Like every other signal-caller in his class, Mike Glennon needs a little more help around him to make it all go. For now, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he reminds me of a very average NFL quarterback in his best season. We’ll see if Glennon grows as a player, and whether there will be more in line to help him succeed. Put him in a three-digit vertical system with extra blockers, and you might have something.
NFL Comparison: Derek Anderson, 2007 Cleveland Browns
More Shutdown 50:
#50: Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State | #49: John Jenkins, DL, Georgia | #48: Cornellius “Tank” Carradine, DE, Florida State | #47: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State | #46: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse | #45: E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State | #44: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU | #43: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson | #42: Kyle Long, OL, Oregon
Carolina Panthers refute claims they were making money hand over fist while asking for public funding
As we’ve all found out in the last decade, you can make a balance sheet say pretty much anything you want it to. The Carolina Panthers franchise is having a bit of a problem with that fact right now, as the result of a Deadspin report that claims the Panthers were crying poor and begging for public funding for stadium improvements — at the same time the team was practically printing money.
According to the report written by Deadspin’s Tommy Craggs, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson ran a team that could brag a total operating profit of $ 112 million in 2010 and 2011. At the same time, Richardson was playing hardball with the players with the lockout at its peak, and insisting that his team would need public money for any stadium renovations.
The statement is for the years ending March 31, 2011, and March 31, 2012. Over the first period, as Richardson argued that the NFL’s business model was hopelessly broken and steered the owners toward a showdown to extract more money from the players, the Panthers recorded an operating profit of $ 78.7 million. The team had gone 2-14 on the field, but Richardson and his partners were able to pay themselves $ 12 million.
Over the following year, after the owners had won their lockout and reduced the players’ share of league revenue from 50 percent to 47 percent, the Panthers brought in $ 33.3 million in operating profit. Richardson began lobbying for public subsidies to renovate his 17-year-old stadium. The team went 6-10.
Richardson certainly wasn’t feeling that financial warmth. According to Yahoo’s Mike Silver, he told his fellow owners in 2010 that the expired CBA that led to the 2011 lockout was “a [expletive] deal last time, and we’re going to stick together and take back our league and [expletive] do something about it.”
The owners certainly [expletive] did, reducing the players’ percentage of total revenue when the new CBA was ratified in July, 2011. But in one rather interesting January, 2011 press conference, Richardson tied to claim enormous operating losses based on a pie chart he (or somebody) had drawn. According to a balance sheet assembled by the firm of Deloitte & Touche, and analysis given by University of Oregon business prefessor Dennis Howard at Deadspin’s request, Richardson’s attempt to cry poor and extract $ 200 million in public funding for stadium renovations that he estimated would cost $ 300 million total, may have been based on something called Roster Depreciation Allowance.
From Craggs’ report:
The RDA is an accounting gimmick whereby a new owner of a sports franchise gets to write off 100 percent of the purchase price of the team over a 15-year period, on the specious logic that a roster depreciates the same way, for instance, that your office’s new fax machine does. That tax deduction shows up on the books as an operating expense, even though it’s a pretend-loss that exists only in the quirks of the tax code. Thus, Stephen Ross, who purchased the Miami Dolphins for $ 1 billion, can claim an operational hit of nearly $ 70 million. “It has a huge impact on the bottom line,” Howard says. “You’re able to transform a real profit into an operational loss.”
In the end, as Howard wrote to Craggs, it’s almost impossible for an NFL team to lose money.
“Based on the team’s financial condition, there is absolutely no justification for such a large public subsidy,” Howard writes in an email. The financials “show unequivocally that the team has the capacity to finance the improvements on its own. The team could easily pledge a portion of the anticipated increase in TV revenues to finance the debt service for the improvements.”
Remember, Jerry Richardson was the same guy who allegedly sat across a table from Peyton Manning and Drew Brees at the height of the lockout and condescendingly said that they’d need help reading a revenue chart. Brees later downplayed the supposedly contentious nature of the meeting, but if the Deadspin report is correct, it would seem that Richardson doesn’t think the state in which he operates knows how to read financials, either.
On Thursday, the Panthers organization released a rebuttal to the Deadspin report through the team’s official website:
The Deadspin story presents an incomplete picture of the Carolina Panthers profitability. The figures offer an isolated snapshot of the team’s financial situation during an unusual time as the NFL lockout loomed. At the time, the team had strategically reduced its spending because of the uncertainty and as part of a long-term plan to secure the team’s best talent once a collective bargaining agreement had been reached.
The team’s actual operating cash flow, even before federal and state tax payments were made, was significantly less than the accounting income reported in the story. The most meaningful reflection of a company’s profitability is cash flow, and the team’s operating cash flow fluctuated between pre-tax figures of $ 26.7M in fiscal year 2011 and $ 39.8M in fiscal year 2012.
A detailed review of the financial statements demonstrates the difficulty of being competitive in the NFL, paying players to the cap, and trying to add the financing of a major stadium renovation.
Over the next few weeks, “Shutdown Corner” will pay homage to “Office Space” (TPS reports) as we take a quick look back at each team’s 2012 season and a look at what lies ahead for the 2013 offseason. We head to the NFC South and begin with the Carolina Panthers.
2012 record: 7-9
What went wrong: The Panthers had one win entering November and were 2-8 by the time they carved their Thanksgiving turkeys.
Part of the reason for the early-season struggles were on offense, as the Panthers scored 14 points or less five times, including one game where the offense was outscored 9-3 by the defense and special teams in a 16-12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 7. The Panthers also struggled on third downs in many of their losses, going a combined six-of-43 in losses to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos.
The Panthers took a step back on offense, averaging 30 fewer yards per game on offense, including rushing for 20 yards less per game in 2012 than they did in a 2011 season where DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Cam Newton had 700 or more rushing yards. According to Football Outsiders’ opponent-adjusted metrics, the Panthers dropped from fourth in offensive DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) to 10th last season.
The Panthers once again ranked near the bottom of the league in special teams, ranking 29th in Football Outsider’ special teams DVOA. The Panthers released kicker Olindo Mare and went with the inexperienced Justin Medlock, who would miss three straight field goals and be replaced by Graham Gano. Among qualifying punters, rookie Brad Nortman was last in the league in 2012 with a net punting average of 36.5 yards.
What went right: The Panthers finished strong, winning five of their last six games, saving Ron Rivera’s job. A tangible reason to keep Rivera around was the improvement the team made on both sides of the ball during the season.
Newton, the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2011, struggled for the first part of his sophomore season, but finished the season on a high note. In his final nine games, Newton passed for 2,168 yards with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions with 431 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
Carolina’s gave up a lot of big plays, but improved significantly in 2012. After ranking 28th in 2011, and 27th in scoring defense, the Panthers ranked 10th in total defense and were 18th in scoring defense. According to Football Outsiders, the Panthers ranked 32nd in defensive DVOA in 2011, but improved to 11th in 2012. Spearheading the defensive improvement was first-round linebacker Luke Kuechly, who had 164 tackles, including 12 for a loss, one sack, with two interceptions, eight passes defensed and recovered three fumbles. Defensive end Greg Hardy had a breakout season with 11 sacks, which was second behind defensive end Charles Johnson’s 12.5 sacks.
Coaching/front office changes: The Panthers fired Marty Hurney early on in the 2012 season. To replace Hurney, the Panthers hired David Gettleman, who had been a senior personnel executive with the New York Giants. After a strong finish, the Panthers are giving head coach Ron Rivera a third season on the sidelines. Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski left the team to accept the head coaching position with the Cleveland Browns and was replaced by Mike Shula.
Estimated 2013 cap space: $ 9.3 million over the cap
Possible cap casualties: With Stewart injured in 2012, DeAngelo Williams finished second on the team behind Cam Newton in rushing with 737 yards with five touchdowns. The Panthers are financially committed to Stewart, which means Williams and his $ 5 million cash compensation ($ 4.75 million base salary, $ 250,000 workout bonus) and $ 8.2 million cap number will be let go this offseason. The Panthers are likely to use a “post-June 1″ designation on Williams, which frees up $ 5 million in cap space. Otherwise, Williams would count $ 9.6 million against the cap this season, a $ 1.4 million bump over his current number.
The Panthers have already freed up $ 3.4 million in cap space by renegotiating the contract of center Ryan Kalil and are also expected to renegotiate the contract of linebacker Thomas Davis, who overcame three torn ACLs in three years to start 12 of 15 games and post 105 tackles in 2012. Davis, who turns 30 in March, is scheduled to earn $ 5.5 million from the Panthers, a sum largely comprised of “per game” roster bonuses totaling $ 3 million.
Veteran Chris Gamble landed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury and the 30-year-old cornerback has a $ 10.9 million cap number this season. Releasing Gamble would save $ 7.9 million in cash and cap space. More big savings could be had if the Panthers released left tackle Jordan Gross, who is due $ 8.7 million in cash with an $ 11.7 million cap number. A renegotiation is more likely, but releasing Gross would save $ 6.7 million in cap space.
Unrestricted free agents
Derek Anderson, QB
Antwan Applewhite, DE/LB
Gary Barnidge, TE
Dwan Edwards, DT
Ben Hartsock, TE
Sherrod Martin, S
Captain Munnerlyn, CB
Louis Murphy, WR
Jason Phillips, LB
Mike Pollak, C/G
Jordan Senn, LB
Restricted free agents
Andre Neblett, DT
Nate Ness, CB
RFA tender amounts in 2013 are:
• $ 1.323 million for right of first refusal and/or original draft round compensation
• $ 2.023 for right of first refusal and second round draft selection
• $ 2.879 for right of first refusal and first round draft selection
Franchise Tag candidates: The Panthers lack the cap space to use the franchise tag this offseason. Fortunately, they do not have an unrestricted or restricted free agent who would warrant the use of the franchise tag.
Previous installments of the “Offseason TPS Reports” series:
AFC East: New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills
AFC North: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns
AFC South: Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans
AFC West: Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos
NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Redskins
NFC North: Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers
Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has tabbed New York Giants senior pro personnel analyst Dave Gettleman to be the team’s next general manager.
“I am honored and thrilled to have the opportunity to work in the Panthers organization,” Gettleman said in a statement released by the Panthers. “It is similar to the Giants organization in which I have had the privilege of working the last 15 years and has a lot of pieces in place for success. I am excited about getting started.”
Gettleman, 61, has worked in an NFL scouting capacity since 1986. Originally hired by the Buffalo Bills, Gettleman spent six seasons in western New York before working as a regional scout for BLESTO scouting service for one season before spending four seasons as an area scout with the Denver Broncos.
Gettleman was the Giants’ director of pro personnel for 13 seasons before spending the 2012 season as the team’s senior pro personnel analyst. The Giants playing in three Super Bowls between 2000 and 2011 and winning a pair of Lombardi Trophies during Gettleman’s tenure in New York were a factor in Richardson’s decision.
“I was very impressed with Dave’s experience and think he will be a very good fit for our organization,” Richardson said. “He has an extensive background in personnel and comes from an organization in the New York Giants that I hold in high regard and played an instrumental role in their success.”
Former Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi consulted with Richardson during the Panthers’ search for a new GM.
Gettleman was one of six candidates for a position that opened up when Marty Hurney was fired on Oct. 22 after the Panthers had opened the 2012 season with a 1-5 record. Panthers interim GM Brandon Beane was one of the candidates and reportedly interview for the permanent position earlier this week. Also interviewed was Montreal Alouettes GM Jim Popp and the club had Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross, Minnesota Vikings assistant GM George Paton and Tennessee Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson on its list of interview candidates.
While Panthers coach Ron Rivera believes a strong finish is crucial for his team’s confidence heading into next season, he’s not sure if winning three of the last four games will be enough to save his job.
“I think we have to keep going,” Rivera said.
By that he means it’s important the Panthers beat Oakland and New Orleans to finish the season 7-9, which would better last year’s record by one game.
Carolina (5-9) enjoyed its first blowout win Sunday, crushing San Diego 31-7. That came one week after a decisive 30-20 upset win over Atlanta
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The Carolina Panthers have lost eight of their games this season, but there isn’t much their fans can do to change that record. But the Panthers are hoping the fans can help with another losing record — the team is 0-12 in coin flips.
In 11 pregame and one overtime coin flips, the Panthers haven’t made the right call once. To change their luck, they want their fans’ help. The Panthers posted this question on their Facebook page:
The Carolina Panthers are an astonishing 0-for-12 on coin tosses this season, so we want you – the fans – to call heads or tails for Sunday’s game vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.
A poll is also posted on the Facebook page. As of this writing, the voting is deadlocked between heads and tails.
Winning the coin flip does more than give the winning team the decision on taking the ball or choosing an end zone. A 2011 study found the coin-flip winner won the game 52 percent of the time during the regular season.
The Panthers will play the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, so devious-minded Kansas Citians could take to the poll to push the coin flip one way or another. Nah, Kansas City fans are too busy doctoring up paper bags to wear at Arrowhead Stadium.
Thanks, Kissing Suzy Kolber.
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Shutdown Corner – NFL – Yahoo! Sports
By Michael Brennan
The Carolina Panthers (2-8) are looking at a premium opportunity to steer their season in the right direction; the stage – Monday Night Football, the opponent – the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles (3-7) have experienced much of the same disappointment that the Carolina Panthers have this season. It’s the story of two teams, one ensuring a “dynasty”, the other, ensuring a Super Bowl. While most of the nation will find this Monday night alignment irrelevant, both teams are bringing everything to the fight in this very “winnable” matchup.
Unfortunately for Philadelphia, they will be without Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy, both ruled out because of concussions. Rookie quarterback, Nick Foles, will get the start in place of the injured Vick while Bryce Brown replaces fellow running back LeSean McCoy. The Eagles will need to produce some offense with this pair of rookies. Philadelphia has averaged only 16.2 points per game all season, managing to only score six points in Nick Foles’ only start this season.
Carolina is still recovering from a fourth quarter meltdown that they suffered at home against the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Panthers have been unable to get the running game going this year and haven’t had a 100-yard rusher in 21 games. Steve Smith has had an incredibly quiet season in comparison to the resurgence he had in 2011. Smith has only one touchdown on the season but has managed to rack up 710 receiving yards.
Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are 1-3 on the road this season which doesn’t help their chances against the Eagles in Philadelphia. Both teams badly need a win in this matchup to give them some pride and momentum for the rest of their schedule.
It will be interesting to see the way that the Carolina Panthers manage the pressure of a primetime game, their only other primetime appearance this season, a 36-7 mauling in Charlotte, NC, at the hands of the New York Giants.
The Bucs travel to Carolina on Sunday for a NFC South battle between two teams whose seasons have not exactly gone like the script that many felt it would.
The Panthers were expected to take a big step forward after their 2011 season in which Cam Newton shined as a rookie star in the making. Instead, he and the team have struggled, and the Cats sit at 2-7.
A rookie head coach in Greg Schiano has energized the Bucs, and they are sitting right in the thick of things at 5-4 in the NFC. Not so much in the South, but possibly for a wild card.
The Bucs stumbled to a 1-3 start, but since then QB Josh Freeman has been solid, throwing for 13 touchdowns and posting a 115.9 rating in the last five games. He hasn’t been picked off in his last 151 attempts.
“I think he understands better what we’re doing and what we’re asking of him,” Schiano said. “He’s playing within himself. He’s not trying to make plays. He’s just trusting his training and the plays come when you’re as talented as Josh Freeman is.”
Freeman went 14 of 20 for 210 yards and a pair of TDs in a 34-24 win over San Diego last week. Tampa Bay has averaged 37.5 points in its last four victories and has scored at least 28 points in a team-record five consecutive games.
The Bucs also got a blocked punt return for a score from Adam Heyward and an 83-yard interception return for a TD from Leonard Johnson versus the Chargers.
“What we’re trying to do is get guys loose and playing free, knowing what they’re doing instead of having to think about it,” Schiano said.
Tampa Bay, seeking its first four-game win streak since Nov. 2-30, 2008, has gone 1-3 in its last four visits to Charlotte.
The most recent of those was a 48-16 Panthers win Dec. 24 as Newton passed for three TDs and ran for a 49-yard score.
The Panthers, though, come in having lost six of seven and a 36-14 defeat to Denver on Sunday led to another change, as the team fired special teams coordinator Brian Murphy the next day. Carolina let go general manager Marty Hurney on Oct. 22.
“This is a production-based business, and in the end, winning and losing is what it comes down to,” coach Ron Rivera said.
To get that much-needed win, the Panthers could use a much better performance by the offensive line. Carolina gave up seven sacks last week, tied for third most in team history.
Recently signed guard Jeremy Bridges, who made 28 starts for Carolina from 2006-08, might replace struggling starter Jeff Byers on Sunday after Rivera said Byers was ”exposed” by the Broncos.
Newton threw for two touchdowns for the second time this season last week but was intercepted twice, giving him five in the last four contests. The Panthers (2-7) were held to 14 or fewer points for the fifth time in 2012.
“It’s very embarrassing, but things are going to change – hopefully,” Newton said. “I can’t keep saying that and not holding up to it, but there are brighter days ahead for the Carolina Panthers.”
Tampa Bay has been very good, and they should have the edge here against Newton, who just can’t seem with the rest of his mates to get on track.
Look for a Bucs win, and for the Panthers to continue wondering why their season just hasn’t gone their way.
Tampa Bay 24 Carolina 20