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Carolina Panthers

This tag is associated with 5 posts

NFL Pro Bowl: View Of An NFL Prototype

Hello all, the sports world was definitely very active this weekend. Shaun White proved that even with a sprained ankle that he is the dominant force in snowboarding. In addition, we also see that Tiger Woods does not look like he has fully recovered from a broken heart as he fails to clinch another victory. Bill Belicheck even managed to make a joke on Monday and show his humorous side. I had forgotten the master of the stoic impression could actually have a funny bone in his body.

The Pro Bowl also took place over the weekend and because of some players choosing not to attend, alternates were allowed to take their place. One of the alternates the public was able to see in this year’s Pro Bowl was Cam Newton.

While other players were at the Pro Bowl,Cam was actually one of the most interviewed and talked about. The media asked about what other quarterbacks such as Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers thought of someone with Cam Newton’s abilities. Both Roethlisberger and Rodgers were impressed but seemed worried that this new prototype of quarterback could make the pure pocket passer obsolete.

When Cam Newton was interviewed and asked if he was satisfied with making the Pro Bowl this year,Cam indicated this is only the beginning and he plans to accomplish greater things. Mr. Newton even said that he wants to go past reaching for the stars and become a planet! That may be a bit much but Cam Newton definitely has a way with words. We may soon see if Cam Newton can be as smooth with his words as Muhammad Ali was during his prime of his career. It would be refreshing to see a bit of a different kind of attitude than what we are used to seeing at the quarterback position. I would not mind seeing a quarterback with some swagger in a good way.

Cam Newton did not play particularly well during the Pro Bowl.Newton only threw for 186 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Cam Newton was also sacked a few times, which is something we are not used to seeing sinceCamis known for his running versatility. It was easy to tell that Cam Newton was not very comfortable running the offense at the Pro Bowl. However, whenCamlooked to a familiar face in Steve Smith, lead wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, we were able to see what he is truly able to do. Steve Smith caught 5 balls for 118 yards and a touchdown. All of Smith’s yards were delivered courtesy of Cam Newton.

This year we have seen the ups and downs of Cam Newton. We have seen him have great performances and then some performances that made us realizeNewtonis still a rookie. With all that being said no one can deny his talent. Players, coaches, and owners are all realizing that a new prototype of quarterback may very well be the future of football. Defensive coordinators are soon going to have a much harder job as quarterbacks such as Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, and Denard Robinson are soon going to be the norm.

As much as some love Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, teams are going to soon be clamoring to get their hands on the next Cam Newton, Randall Cunningham, or Michael Vick clone. The changing of the guard will come over the next few years and Cam Newton may indeed be the frontrunner. I have no doubt we have not seen anywhere near the ceiling where Cam Newton will actually level off. We can all just sit back and enjoy the ride that Mr. Newton has so graciously given us all a ticket on.

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NFL Week 16: Let the Good Times Roll

Week 16 is now over and done with. Christmas has bought along some great accomplishments as the NFL season winds down. Some players were jumping for joy like Jerome Simpson of the Bengals who did his best Dominique Dawes impression by doing a complete forward flip over a defender that had plans to keep him out of the end zone. Other players like Chad Ochocinco and Donovan McNabb are wishing for yester year when they were relevant.

The greatest accomplishment of the weekend was clearly Drew Brees breaking the passing yards record previously held by Dan Marino. What a historic moment to break record that stood for 27 years. Dan Marino previously had thrown for 5,084 passing yards in a season and as of today Drew Brees has thrown for 5,087 passing yards. A number of experts have already said that the game has changed and the rules now favor quarterbacks.  The same experts complain that receivers do not have to worry about getting hit when catching a pass in the middle of the field because of the defensive rule changes. With more catches being made in each game, the passing yards have increased this year.

I do believe the game has changed a significant amount but still have to give credit where credit is due. Drew Brees is one of the most prolific passers in the NFL today and will go down being one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. I do not believe that this record could have been broken by a more deserving person that Drew Brees. Brees is an inspiring story from start to finish. Drew Brees has overcome people telling him he could never make it in the NFL. In addition, Brees had to go through surgery that could have been career ending and instead has never stopped showing all the critics he is better than ever. Moreover, Drew Brees was traded by San Diego Chargers to New Orleans Saints as San Diego drafted and put their hopes in Philip Rivers. Drew Brees made a home in New Orleans and led the Saints to a Super Bowl win. Brees gave New Orleans hope after Hurricane Katrina bought great devastaion througout the whole city. Now Drew Brees has broken one of the longest NFL records of all time and Brees still has years left to keep adding to his legacy. Any true football fan can be proud of not only that Drew Brees broke the record but also of the person that Drew Brees is.

Drew Brees was not the only person breaking record for passing yards though Cam Newton accomplished the goal for the rookie passing record as well. Newton has currently passed for 3893 passing yards this season and looks to extend the record with one more game to play. Peyton Manning previously held the record with 3,379 passing yards.In addition, Cam Newton currently holds the record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback at 14 touchdowns. To say that Cam Newton has exceeded all expectations for his rookie season would be an understatement.Cam Newton reminds me of Randall Cunningham with all of his passing ability and dazzling runs. We have definitely seen the future of mobile quarterbacks with Cam Newton. Everything definitely happens for a reason because if Andrew Luck had come out last year, Luck would undoubtedly be the one wearing the Carolina Panthers uniform. If Luck had been drafted by the Panthers, Cam Newton may have been drafted by a team that could not utilize his talents to the fullest of his abilities. We would have then missed out on what turned out to be one fo the best rookie seasons for a NFL quarterback in years. Fortunately for us, Andrew Luck stayed in school and the Carolina Panthers have found their quarterback of the future.

This year has definitely given new meaning to the phrase “Records were meant to be broken!” as we have seen players from different positions have some truly great years. In addition to Drew Brees and Cam Newton; Aldon Smith, Rob Gronkowski, and Demarco Murray have all had seasons that we will all remember. I am thankful we did not have to miss such incredible NFL action because of the lockout. Thank you for the owners and player for getting the deal worked out.

The playoffs are right around the corner and for the first time in a few years I am expecting some surprise performances and want to see some dark horse teams rise to the top. I would not mind seeing Green Bay, New Orleans, Pittsburgh or New England win the Super Bowl again. However, I would rather see a team like the Detroit Lions or San Francisco 49ers go on a playoff run and win the whole thing. The time for the big games and big performances is now

NFL News: The Holiday Fun has Begun Early

Another week of NFL is in the record books, and beginning of the holiday week has bought some things to light. This is the time of the year where we discover which NFL teams truly want to be in the playoffs and which teams cannot finish. In addition, we discover which teams deal with adversity well. A champion is not made in one game but a champion is made over a 16 game season.

The Green Bay Packers are strolling through their schedule on their way to an NFL undefeated season. I believe that the Packers can accomplish the goal, make it all the way to the Super Bowl, and win the whole thing again. Aaron Rodgers is simply an unbelievable talent at quarterback. Rodgers makes all the right throws and rarely makes a mistake. I am actually hoping the Packers will achieve what seems to be the impossible. Unlike the Patriots in 2007 which decided to run the score up on multiple opponents and left a bad taste in a great deal of people’s mouth, the Green Bay Packers are likeable. The Packers do not brag or run the score up just for the sake of it. Green Bay has no diva-like personalities speaking out on camera to cause controversy. The Packers just win and win gracefully. We know Green Bay is going to win when they step on the field, but even Minnesota Viking fans have to admit the Packers are a class act.

I have finally figured out that Tim Tebow is a superhero. Tebow has a good public image, is willing to help other people, and always has something positive to say. Tim Tebow clearly has a secret identity for the first three quarters of any game. Tebow looks like a mere mortal aka, “Clark Kent”, anytime before the fourth quarter. However, in the fourth quarter, Tim Tebow, puts on his superhero apparel, dons a cape, and has a big “S” on his chest. Tebow is a completely different player in the fourth quarter and keeps swooping in to save the Denver Broncos day. When the game is on the line in the last quarter of the game, Tim Tebow should just proclaim, “Have no fear Denver Broncos teammate, Tim Tebow is here. I will save the day!” This past week the Broncos won again on a Tim Tebow fourth quarter drive, making Tim Tebow 4-1 as a starter. People can complain about what Tim Tebow cannot do and how his quarterback mechanics are suspect. However, Tebow does well at the most important attribute of any good quarterback and that is that Tim Tebow is a winner.

The Chicago Bears were finally starting to look like they had the talent to be a serious playoff contender. Every thing was moving in the right direction. The Chicago Bears defense was playing well. Jay Cutler, the Chicago Bears quarterback, for the first time in years, was not taking multiple sacks every game. The Chicago Bears had proven they were a team ready for playoff football. Then it happened, similar to last year, Jay Cutler suffered an injury. This year the injury is a  broken thumb that will require surgery. Cutler is done for the year and no timetable for a return. Without Cutler, who has been playing his best football of his career recently, the Chicago Bears chances of going far in the playoffs are looking slim. Caleb Hanie is a fine backup but I have no faith in Hanie being able to put together enough wins for the Chicago Bears to make a difference in the playoffs.

Quick hits, Vince Young looked good in his Philadelphia Eagles debut. Young had some initial rust but managed to go 23-36 for 258 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Eagles to victory over the New York Giants. Cam Newton to Steve Smith is definitely one of the best quarterback-receiver duos to watch. However, the rest of the Carolina Panthers team is severely lacking. The Panthers defense needs some major help as they never seem to slow any opposing team down at all. The Detroit Lions put up 49 points on the Panthers defense. The quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals, Andy Dalton is only a rookie but is playing not only like a veteran but also one who is playoff ready. Over the weekend, Dalton threw for 373 yards and a touchdown in a losing effort. However, the Bengals lost to the Ravens and almost took the game to overtime. The Bengals are back and they are the real deal.

The games start early on Turkey Day this week so we do not have to wait long to see some good football action. The game of the week should be the San Francisco 49ers against the Baltimore Ravens. When was the last time anyone saw two NFL playoff contending teams, in which both coaches are actually brother, actually go head to head? I am ready to see the Harbaugh brothers clash and duke it out with their perspective teams on the football field. Let the holiday fun begin!

NFL Week 8: Costumes and Uniforms

Yesterday was Halloween and that means that Week 8 is in the books. Halloween is the time of year where things become rather strange and this week was definitely on the strange side. Teams that were predicted to lose, instead ended up winning. Teams that should have claimed victory rolled over and played dead. Some teams are even seeing a resurrection and have gained new life and focus.

Today I am going to play costume or uniform with my readers. Costume or uniform deals with how certain teams are playing so far this season. Does a team have a uniform on and playing up to their potential or is a team simply wearing a costume and fooling everyone.

Let’s get started with the teams who are wearing costumes:

1: Dallas Cowboys

2: Tennessee Titans

3: Washington Redskins

4: Philadelphia Eagles

5: San Diego Chargers

6: Kansas City Chiefs

7:New England Patriots

8: New York Giants

9: New York Jets

10: Atlanta Falcons

11: Chicago Bears

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

13. Oakland Raiders

This is a pretty good amount of teams that are not really who we think they are. Dallas tops the list and  is what I call a yo-yo team. Every week we never know if Dallas is going to wow us or just fail all together. The Cowboys continue to make some great plays and then make some horrible decisions. Some people still believe that Dallas can make the playoffs. This scenario is not likely this year. I can hear Jim Mora saying, ” Playoffs? Playoffs???……”, we all know the rest of the famous rant. Cowboys are going to need a great deal of luck to turn this season around.

The Washington Redskins have been playing better this year. The Redskins have a decent running game, led by whoever is Shannahan’s favorite back of the week. Similarly, Washington does not have an identity at quarterback. Neither Rex Grossman nor John Beck is an exceptional NFL quarterback. The Washington Redskins started out on fire at 3-0 and now the team is 3-4 after four straight losses. Washington had us fooled at the beginning of the season but now we see their true colors shining through. On the bright side next year’s NFL draft is fast approaching.

The Philadelphia Eagles are listed here because they have been showing us signs of greatness and signs of a bad team all season. The Eagles won their first game of the season and then proceeded to lose the next four games. Now Philadelphia has won two straight games and things are once again looking up. The Philadelphia Eagles looked like the fabled, “Dream Team”, in their win over the Dallas Cowboys. A part of me wonders if this team is similar to the NBA basketball team the Miami Heat, that they will have major ups and downs all season and then find some way to make it to the playoffs. If the Eagles can obtain a spot in the playoffs they will definitely be one of the favorites to make a Super Bowl run.

The New England Patriots are on this list because of their defense. The Patriots can score with anybody in the league but their defense is lacking in a big way. The Patriots are ranked 32 out of 32 teams in the NFL in defense. The Patriots are similar to many college teams which run the spread offense and depend on outscoring opponents to win games. This theory is great but it hardly ever works against the elite teams in the NFL. The New England Patriots will make the playoffs but unless the defensive issues of the team are fixed, they will be knocked out early.

The last team I will talk about out of this list is going to be the New York Jets. The Jets for the last two years have found a way to make it to the AFC championship game. This year looks like a year that we will see a new team in the AFC championship team besides the Jets. The running game from last years is not as dominant. The defense is giving up more yards each game than the last two years. Mark Sanchez or “The Sanchize” is only improving his acting and modeling skills off the field. Sanchez’s quarterbacking skills have not made the leap they should have made coming into this year. The Jets are talking big talk but I do not believe they can walk the walk.

Flipping to the other side of the NFL football spectrum we see the teams who are playing up to their potential. These teams are wearing the uniform of an NFL team and deserve to have the record they have accumalated over the first few weeks.

1. Green Bay Packers

2. New Orleans Saints

3. Baltimore Ravens

4. Pittsburgh Steelers

5. Buffalo Bills

6. Detroit Lions

7. Houston Texans

8. Cincinnati Bengals

9. San Francisco 49ers

10 Carolina Panthers

I know some of my readers are thinking, why are the Carolina Panthers on this list? The reason the Carolina Panthers make the list is because they have been playing competitive all season long. From the first week until now, the Panthers have been surprising everyone, due to the play of Cam Newton. The Carolina Panthers have established an identity for themselves and each week the team is becoming better. The Panthers have not won many games but they are very close to winning just about every game. Last year each Carolina Panthers game was a blowout, this year there have been no blowouts. Give it a couple of years and the Panthers will make a return to the playoffs.

I have written about the Detroit Lions before. I claimed that the Detroit Lions are a good team and they have not dissapointed me yet. I knew they would lose at some point during the year but good NFL teams rebound after losses well and the Detroit Lions finally proved they could do that this past week. The Detroit Lions have turned things around for the team this year. The Lions used to be the team that every team knew they could beat. Now the Detroit Lions, Led by Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson on offense and Ndamukong Suh on defense, are a team contending for a playoff spot. The Lions will continue to be turnaround story of the year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers got off to a shaky start this year going 2-2 in the first four games. The Steelers defense was playing horrible during that four game stretch. Experts and fans were calling the Pittsburgh Steelers old and washed up. Then the Pittsburgh Steelers we all know and love returned. The Steelers offense started being productive, their defense unit stepped up and started playing well. The Pittsburgh Steelers have not lost another game since. At this rate the Steelers will reclaim their normal playoff spot.

The Cincinnati Bengals have been good and bad over the last few years. The Bengals came into the year with a rookie quarterback, a rookie wide receiver, and an almost completely revamped defense. No one expected the Bengals to do much with all the changes the team was going through. The Bengals obviously believed they could be a good team and have proven it through the first part of the season. The Bengals are now 5-2 and looking like a team that is poised to make the playoffs this year. The Bengals are looking like a team that can potentially be a playoff team for quite a few years going forward. Maybe we might even see them bring out the Ickey Shuffle dance.

The last team that I will talk about in uniform is the San Francisco 49ers.  I have said it before and will say it again the 49ers are for real. San Francisco has always had a running game with Frank Gore as the primary back. Now Alex Smith has finally come around and started playing like a starting quarterback should. Smith is finally living up to his number one draft position after all of these years. The San Francisco 49ers defense has become an elite defensive unit. Jim Harbaugh should get coach of the year for molding the 49ers into a winning organization again. The SanFrancisco 49ers should easily win the division this year and make their first playoff appearance in years. The 49ers can be a playoff Dark Horse and play spoiler to some teams playoff hopes.

Well that is all for today. We will see as the season progresses which teams really are wearing a football player uniform and which teams are just wearing the costume. Some teams may even shed their costume for a uniform as the football season continues and vice versa. The playoffs are fast approaching it is time for time to put up or lie down and let the real teams play.

NFL Rookies to Keep an Eye On

To say this NFL year has been a bit strange to start is quite an understatement. The Dream Team Philadelphia Eagles are 1- 4. The Detroit Lions are 5-0 for the first time in ages. The Bills are sitting pretty at 4-1 after a dismal 2010 season. Some things have not changed such as the Patriots and the Packers being atop of their game.

The other unusual occurrence is that rookies are making a significant difference this year. I know there was a NFL lockout for quite a while. Generally, that should mean that veteran players should dominate and rookies will struggle. This year that is not the case, the rookies are coming into their own much quicker than expected. Today I will bring attention to three rookies that are accomplishing great things with their new team.

The first rookie that is playing better than anyone could have expected is Cam Newton. “Cammy” Cam as some call him is definitely quieting all the doubters. Cam Newton has come in and shown the whole league that his college career was no fluke. Newton has thrown for 1610 yards and seven touchdowns in just five games. In addition, Cam Newton has also rushed for five touchdowns. I sit and watch Cam Newton play and am just amazed that he looks nothing like a rookie. Newton makes all the right throws and occasionally he will throw a bad pass. Fortunately,Cam has no memory of the bad throws and will come right back and make a great play the next down. I am going to endorse Cam Newton as my favorite to win the Rookie of the Year. Cam Newton should have no problem grabbing the, “Rookie of the Year”, crown if he continues to play at his current level of play. The sky will be the limit for Mr. Newton and the Carolina Panthers for many years to come.

The second rookie that I want to bring to everyone’s attention is Julio Jones. The Atlanta Falcons gave up everything to move up in this year’s NFL draft to grab Jones. The Falcons obviously saw something in Jones that made him a special player. The Atlanta Falcons gave up 2011 and 2012 first round draft picks, a 2011 second round pick, and both 2011 and 2012 fourth rounds picks. If there was the kitchen sink left at Atlanta Falcons Headquarters I am sure they would have thrown that in at a chance to grab Jones. After the first few weeks of the season it looks like the Atlanta Falcons have made the right decision. Julio Jones is becoming a force to be reckoned with, being paired opposite Roddy White. Jones has 25 receptions for 358 yards in for the season so far. Even though Julio Jones has not yet reached the endzone, it is only a matter of time. Jones is the perfect fit for the Atlanta Falcons passing attack. The Atlanta Falcons may have given up the whole kit n’ caboodle to acquire Jones, but in the end I believe they will be happy with their investment.

The last rookie that I want to bring everyone’s attention is AJ Green. Everyone knew that AJ Green had talent when he was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals this year. No one knew just how much talent Green had or if he would be hindered by playing with a rookie quarterback. The answer is that AJ Green has flourished in the Bengals offensive scheme. Andy Dalton and AJ Green have developed a great chemistry over the first five weeks of the season. The chemistry between Green and Dalton will only grow as they play in more games together. The Cincinnati Bengals are once again an exciting team to watch and AJ Green is the main reason. Green has 24 receptions, 402 yards and three touchdowns in just 5 games. AJ Green is becoming the focal point of the Bengals offense as the season rolls on and each week Green is doing more to showcase his talent. The Bengals may be far away from a Super Bowl appearance but with the help of Dalton and more importantly Green, the Bengals may be a very good Playoff contender.

There are a few other rookies that are honorable mentions such as Andy Dalton, Von Miller, Daniel Thomas, and others. The above are the rookies that I believe have the greatest impact on their individual teams. I urge everybody to keep an eye on these players and watch their journey through this year. Each player brings something special to the game and each player is a joy to watch.

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