Tag Archives: Carolina Panthers

Best Fits For Colin Kaepernick

That is if he isn’t REALLY being blackballed by NFL owners and executives.

Colin Kaepernick still has something left in the tank, but where will he get to display it next is the question. Photo Credit: NFL

Colin Kaepernick deserves a chance to play in the NFL. I won’t go over the list of quarterbacks who can’t compare to him that have already been signed this offseason. That angle has been beaten to death. Rather I’d like to look at the team’s that should be in demand of his skill set.

Let me also set this up by acknowledging that Kaepernick is in starting QB purgatory. He’s like an award winning lead actor who’s had several Box Office flops and now studios only inquire about his interest in a supporting role until he can get that “it” back that sold out theaters. It’s like that episode of “Entourage” when Vincent Chase had to settle for the supporting role in the “Smokejumpers” film after his fallout with Alan the head of Warner Brothers over the “Aquaman” sequel and “Medellin.” Like Vince’s agent Ari Gold told him “you’re in movie star jail.” That’s Kaepernick’s situation now.

Even though the last few seasons with the San Francisco 49ers wasn’t Colin’s fault, you can blame Owner Jed York and General manager Trent Baalke for that, Colin has to accept the fact that he’s not a starting QB right now. I put emphasis on right now. That’s not to say he still can’t be, it’s just that no team is going to invest in him being their starter at this point.

As far as his play, Colin is the definition of a dual threat quarterback. He’s not the historic prototype like Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck. So he can’t fit into any system and thrive. Think of the trouble Michael Vick had finding a team in his latter years. Kaepernick needs to be in a system where the incumbent starter does many of the same things he does best and the offense resembles the read option that helped him when he led the Niners to the Super Bowl and the NFC title game the season after.

The goal for him should be to get on a team that will help him best show that his skills haven’t eroded, just the situation around him in “The Bay” did, and possibly gain a starting offer for 2018.

With that being said, these are the teams I think he’ll be a great fit for as a backup. All of these teams have entrenched starters who play similar to the way Colin played in his best days. None of these teams would have to change their offensive schemes to fit Colin if he were called upon. That’s the “football reason” many are using to avoid signing him.

Seattle Seahawks. Can you name the Seahawks backup QB? Didn’t think so. It’s Trevone Boykin who has some off-the-field issues he has to deal with this offseason. You wouldn’t know that because Russell Wilson hasn’t missed much time since he took over in the great northwest. However, their offense suits the superior athleticism and improvisation both Wilson and Kaepernick thrive on. Wilson also struggled with some lower leg injuries last season that he played through when he probably shouldn’t have if they had a capable backup on the roster.

Plus, that locker room and head coach Pete Carroll is tailor made to handle the “distractions” that will come with signing Kaep. Plus many of the guys in that locker room agree with his anthem protest, which he says he won’t continue this season.

Carolina Panthers. Cam Newton takes a beating, which is why he just had shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum. Derek Anderson is currently his backup. He’s a totally different QB than Cam, thus the Panthers would have to drastically alter their gameplan  if he’s needed to take snaps. Anderson is more suited to be Andrew Luck or Ben Roethlisberger’s backup. Kaep would allow Carolina to keep their same physical run first style in any absence of Newton.

Tennessee Titans. Marcus Mariotta is coming off a late season broken leg that could slow him down to start the 2017 season. His understudy is Matt Cassell. Those two couldn’t be any different. The Titans are also a run first offense with read option concepts. They rely heavily on their running backs DeMarco Murray and 2-year back Derrick Henry.

Buffalo Bills. If Tyrod Taylor really is their franchise QB, it makes more sense to have Kaepernick behind him than Cardale Jones, who I love, but is more like Roethlisberger or Carson Palmer. The Bills also have a strong running game led by LeSean Mccoy. Notice a theme here?

Miami Dolphins. Despite his size (6’4″ 216) Ryan Tannehill, a former wide receiver at Texas A&M, plays a more mobile game than pocket passer. Miami’s a more heavy rushing offense with Jay Ajayi in their backfield, with many read option concepts. Their backup is Matt Moore, who is more of a pocket passer. Moore is a career backup, which is why he’s in Miami, but as he showed when Tannehill was injured late last season, he can’t duplicate the success of the starter that helped get the Dolphins into the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.

Dallas Cowboys. With Tony Romo retired that leaves a significant void behind Dak Prescott. Right now the backup is Kellen Moore. You sure you want him to be the 2nd option? Remember how he fared in 2015 when Romo was injured for most of the season? You may say “the Cowboys wanted to move on from Romo because they don’t need Dak looking over his shoulder.” Like I said previously, at this point Kaepernick is a backup. Romo had shown when he is healthy that he’s a starter. That’s why there was a distraction, because everyone assumed Dallas would be better than they were with Dak if Romo was in the lineup. No one would be making those assumptions with Kaepernick. But Cowboy fans would feel much safer with him on the roster in case Dak were injured or suffered from a “Sophomore Slump.” Plus they have 2016 NFL rushing leader Ezekiel Elliott, keeping with my run first theme.

All these teams I’ve looked at are heavy rushing offenses. That’s what the 49ers were in their best days with Kaepernick under center with the franchise’s all-time leading rushing Frank Gore in the backfield. Also with their style of play, they put the starter in harms way often. Signing Kaepernick would be the best insurance policy out there. After a season excelling as a backup it’s likely he’d get one of those deals Mike Glennon jut got.

Now that there is one less quarterback option on the market for teams in need, Kaepernick’s name should be coming up more. Hopefully his unemployment will end very soon, if not then we know what it is.

Buckeyes in the NFL (Week 5, 2016)

Bosa made his long overdue debut with the Chargers and had a career day. Photo Credit: Chargers.com

The highest Buckeye selected in the 2016 draft–3rd overall–made his long awaited debut in week five and appeared to be well worth the wait. Defensive end Joey Bosa lined up for the San Diego Chargers against the rival Oakland Raiders after missing the entire preseason to a contract holdout, and the first four games of the regular season to injury. Bosa had 5 tackles (2 solo) and two sacks in the Chargers 34-31 loss to the Raiders. His fellow rookie, linebacker Joshua Perry, had 3 tackles.

Ezekiel Elliott had another explosive day for the Dallas Cowboys. The 4th overall pick in the 2016 draft rushed for his third consecutive 100+ yard game. Zeke had 134 yards and 2 touchdowns on 15 carries. He also added 3 receptions for 37 yards in the ‘Boys 28-14 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. On the other side, kicker Mike Nugent only score 2 points for the Bengals on two extra points and he missed a 50+ yard field goal.

Elliott tied with Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith for the most consecutive 130+ rushing yard games vs. the Bengals. Photo Credit: Cowboys.com

The week got off to a good start on Tuesday for former Buckeyes with the news that 11-year linebacker A.J. Hawk signed with the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday after being without a team for the first four weeks. Hawk was drafted number 5th overall in 2006 by the Green Bay Packers where he played until 2014 and won a Super Bowl ring (SB XLV). He spent the 2015 season with the Cincinnati Bengals. Hawk didn’t register any stats in the Falcons 23-16 upset victory over the previously undefeated defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos.

There was supposed to be a prime Scarlet and Gray match up on the field in the trenches in Pittsburgh when the New York Jets faced off against the Steelers; center Nick Mangold versus defensive lineman Cam Heyward. But, both left the game with injury. Heyward left in the first half with a hamstring injury and did not return. Mangold left in the second half with a lower leg injury. Meanwhile, Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier was inactive for the second straight week, while the guy who replaced him at Ohio State, Darron Lee had 4 tackles (4 solo). Lee continues to be New York’s leading tackler on the season. The Steelers won 31-13.

Terrelle Pryor seemed the be only Cleveland Brown to show up in their blowout loss to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Pryor had 5 catches for 48 yards and 2 rushes for 3 yards, he also had to play quarterback as the starter Cody Kessler and his backup Charlie Whitehurst were both knocked out of the game with injuries. TP was 1 of 3 passing for 5 yards as Cleveland lost 33-13. Special teams ace and U.S. Olympic Rugby player Nate Ebner had 3 tackles for the Patriots in the victory.

Running back Carlos Hyde of the San Francisco 49ers rushed for 78 yards and earned his lead leading 6th rushing touchdown on 22 carries Thursday night against the Arizona Cardinals. The self-proclaimed “El Guapo” also caught 6 passes for 36 yards in the Niners 33-21 loss to the Cardinals.

Rookie Wide receiver Braxton Miller of the Houston Texans made his return to the lineup after missing the last two games with a hamstring injury. He had one catch for 12 yards in the Texans 31-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Linebacker John Simon had 6 tackles (3 solo) for Houston in the loss.

Other OSU Alumni news of note, New York Jets rookie wide receiver Jalin Marshall was inactive for the loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, while rookie defensive back Eli Apple of the New York Giants missed the Sunday night matchup with the Green Bay Packers with a hamstring injury. Rookies Vonn Bell, Michael Thomas and veteran linebacker James Lauriniatis of the New Orleans Saints were on a bye this week. Their next game is next Sunday versus the Carolina Panthers in Nawlins.

Several Buckeyes hit the field in primetime on Monday Night Football. Ted Ginn Junior, Corey “Philly” Brown, Kurt Coleman, offensive lineman Andrew Norwell of the Carolina Panthers face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Charlotte.

The Carolina Panthers Mt. Rushmore

The Panthers franchise has enjoyed a lot of success in its 21 seasons in the NFL, long before last season’s Super Bowl run.

The Carolina Panthers, the third youngest franchise in NFL history, is coming off one of the best seasons in team and league history. in 2015, the Panthers made their second Super Bowl (XL, XXXVIII) in their 21 year history after having a 15-1 regular season and one of the most dominate postseasons in recent memory (excluding the Super Bowl).

It didn’t take long for this barely legal organization to make history in the League. A 7-9 record in their first season (1995) is the best ever for an expansion franchise, and they followed that up with 12-4 season, winning the NFC West division title before losing to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers led by Brett Favre.

Overall Carolina has won 2 NFC Championships, 6 division titles, while making the playoffs seven times. Just like my post on other young franchises like the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens, When you have a team this young, its difficult to identify and label guys as worth of immortal status. But not with the Panthers. It’s clear who their most important players are in team history. The following are the ones who make the cut for the Panthers Mount Rushmore.

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

Steve Smith Sr. (2001-2013) is still going at the age of 37, but with the second youngest franchise the Baltimore Raves. However, before his time ended in “The Queen City,” Smith became the Panthers all-time leader in catches (836), receiving yards (12,197), receiving touchdowns (67), punt return yards (1,652), punt return touchdowns (4) and yards from scrimmage (12,584). In total, he has 11 franchise records; his name is littered in the team’s record book. With Carolina, Smith Sr. became a 5-time Pro Bowler, 2-time 1st-team All-Pro, and one-time 2nd-team All-Pro and twice named to the Pro Football Writers Association All-NFL team.

Cam Newton (2011-present) is already the franchise’s 2nd all-time leading passer in yards and touchdowns behind Jake Delhomme (19,258 and 120) with 18,263 yards and 117 touchdowns. He’ll become the franchise leader early in his 6th season. Cam is also already 4th on the Panthers career rushing list with 3,207 yards, and is very likely to move into 3rd place in 2016. Newton is the team’s first NFL MVP Award winner (2015) and won the 2015 NFL Offensive Player of the Year. He led them to their second ever Super Bowl appearance after the 2015 season. Newton is a 3-time Pro Bowler and a 2015 1st-team All-Pro.

John Fox (2002-2010) is the team’s leader in wins with 73, and led the team to its first Super Bowl appearance after the 2003 season (SB XXXVIII). Coach Fox is the second coach in NFL history to take over a team that won 1 game the season before he was hired and take them to a NFL Championship Game, the other is the legendary Vince Lombardi.

Julius Peppers (2002-2009) For a majority of the Panthers 21 seasons in existence they’ve been known as a defensive first team. With all due respect to long-time Panther great Thomas Davis and his up-and-coming linebacker running mate Luke Kuechly, Peppers is the symbol for what Carolina fans are accustomed to. Peppers still holds the franchise records for sacks (81) and forced fumbles (30). He’s the 1st player in NFL history with 100+ sacks and 10+ interceptions, majority of which was done as a Panther.

Panthers’ fans I want to hear from you. Did I get it right? Who would you have put on Carolina’s Mount Rushmore?

Cam He Keep Rolling?

This Sunday Cam Newton will play in the biggest game, in the most important season of his pro career.

20131110-065615.jpg

Cam has looked Super through the first half of 2013. Photo Courtesy: Jeremy Brevard/US PRESSWIRE

When the 5-3 Carolina Panthers put their four game win streak on the line up against the 6-2 San Francisco 49ers, it will serve as a litmus test for both the Panthers and Newton as to where they stand amongst the NFL’s best.

Year three for a quarterback in the NFL has been called the most critical season of their career. The “experts” say this is the defining moment in which a player who was drafted as the franchise guy, can validate his draft status or be exposed as a flash in the pan who is no longer hot.

In the “Franchise Issue” (09/30/13) of ESPN The Magazine, Peter Keating wrote “Rookie Quarterbacks who start well tend to fall back the next season, and those who start poorly can bounce back; their third years, then, show where their performance likely will settle.”

Newton was the former before disappearing from the national spotlight in 2012 behind Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson—his younger contemporaries from the draft class after him. halfway through his third season, Newton appears to be justifying his selection as the 2011 #1 pick and franchise QB status he gained in his record setting rookie season.

Of the big name QBs from the 2011 NFL Draft playing in their 3rd season—Colin Kaepernick (although he’s only really played one and a half seasons), Andy Dalton, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder—Newton is the most scrutinized because of his draft status, sensational rookie season and being a former Heisman Trophy Winner.

Right now his Carolina Panthers are sitting in good position to make the playoffs, his first and their first since 2008, and he is the key reason for their success.

At the midway point in 2013…. Cam is on pace to throw for 3,602 yards, 26 TDs, 14 Ints on 64.4 % passing and 8 rushing TDs. He currently maintains a 59.0 Quarterback Rating, also an improvement on his 56.2 and 54.1 QBRs in 2011 and 2012. The 3,602 passing yards would be his lowest total of his three year career, but the 26 TDs and 64.4% complete rate would be career highs and more important to the overall goal of winning.

20131110-063405.jpg

Photo Courtesy: NFL.Com

Newton has also taken shots about his attitude. His critics have poked at this attribute going back to his days coming out of Auburn and his brief stint at The University Of Florida. He appears to be more of a leader now, he’s more active on the sidelines communicating with teammates and they’ve rewarded him by naming him team captain for the first time in his pro career.

Ultimately wins, championships and to an extent individual awards will be the determining factor in what label Newton’s career should have. But for all those who were as quick to call him a bust as those were to put him in the Hall Of Fame after his rookie campaign, Cam Newton is doing just what a franchise QB should be doing, leading his team to victory; with a few style points too, and as anyone who has watched Cam going back to his Heisman Trophy winning season, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

20131110-070206.jpg

Cam sporting his clothing line “Made.” Photo Courtesy: Belk