Tag:Andrew Luck
Posted on: May 6, 2011 7:25 pm

Hot Routes 5.6.11: Count Javier Arenas as lucky

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • As a devastating tornado raged around him in Tuscaloosa, Chiefs DB Javier Arenas took shelter in a bathtub. Arenas was fine, but a block away, the weather caused complete devastation. Said Arenas: “I want to thank the makers of my tub.
  • Although Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz turned down a contract extension from the club, he still says he badly wants to stay in Chicago. He’s just letting his negotiator do his thing.
  • TV broadcaster Gus Johnson isn’t necessarily gone from CBS quite yet. Here’s hoping he and CBS can come to sort of agreement on a new contract.
  • Legendary Dolphins coach Don Shula speaks to the Miami Herald about a variety of topics, including how he was disappointed when Bill Parcells abruptly bailed on the organization.
  • If the Buccaneers end up on Hard Knocks this season, Tony Dungy has some advice for the players: Don’t try to be like Sidney Poitier.

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Posted on: April 25, 2011 12:22 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2011 12:31 pm

Cats should take biggest gamble: Pass on Newton

Posted by Will Brinson

No less than 48 hours ago, I told a relative at Easter that I had "fully talked myself into the Panthers taking Cam Newton." That's a by-product of several things, including: a) the franchise's need for a "face" that people care about, b) the unparalleled upside that Newton represents, c) the lack of any decent quarterback on the roster and d) the need to sell tickets and get fans re-invested.

When I woke up on Monday though, I felt entirely differently, and now I'm pretty sure that the Panthers absolutely need to pass on Newton, acquire as many decent assets as they can, and focus on getting Andrew Luck in 2011. (Quite conveniently, Clark Judge is hearing they'll do just that.)

That's not saying they should "tank" -- and, disclaimer time: I'm actually a Panthers fan, so that would be kind of miserable for me. They shouldn't. No one should tank in the NFL because, unlike the NBA or MLB, things can change quickly, and teams can become successful overnight.

But have you seen Carolina's schedule? It's nuts. There are -- at most -- five winnable games on the slate in 2011, and it wouldn't matter who they had quarterbacking, as long as that person is either a rookie or a second-year Jimmy Clausen, because it's going to be a struggle.
Panthers' Problems

Obviously the Panthers get the Falcons, the Saints and the Buccaneers twice in 2011, and only an insane optimist could expect more than two wins against those three times total. Two, which is dangerously hopeful, would include a win against the Bucs at home and either a random upset of Atlanta or New Orleans, or a late-season win where one of those teams doesn't trot out their full "A-team" because their seeding decision has been settled.

Look at the rest of the schedule, and the even the most bullish fan would find a hard time arguing that, with Cam Newton and/or Jimmy Clausen at the helm, the Panthers will win five games. I mean, where are the wins? Against the Cardinals, in Arizona, during the opening week of the season? Maybe.

Week 2 against the Packers can already be ruled out, as can Week 12 against the Colts in Indy and the Week 15 matchup against the Texans in Houston; all of those teams have too much offense for the Panthers to compete. So let's say they lose those three games and go 1-5 in the division.

That leaves a home matchup against Jacksonville in Week 3, a trip to Chicago in Week 4, a home matchup against the Redskins in Week 7 followed by the Vikings coming to town in Week 8, a Week 10, post-bye matchup against the Titans in Charlotte and a trip to Detroit in Week 11. Winning three of those games, based on the success that the 2010 team had, would be considered a tremendous success. That's a 4-12 record for the season, a miserable year, and a learning experience with regard to whether Jimmy Clausen can be the future of the franchise (my answer is no, but Marty Hurney apparently still wants to find out).
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It's also probably good enough to land them the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, which will net them Andrew Luck of Stanford, unless he decides he really loves graduate school.

And yes, I understand that this is a game of chicken that no NFL front office can reasonably play; it predicates itself on thinking that your team will be awful, and that's not a mindset you see in the NFL. But the schedule is what the schedule is, and then there's this: everyone in this draft is pulling trigger on a quarterback.

Most folks believe that there's a chance six -- SIX! -- quarterbacks could be gone as early as the first round. If six of the 10 (or so) teams that are truly desperate for quarterback help take a first-rounder, there's a pretty good chance that they won't even be looking for Luck come next year, significantly improving the Panthers chance that they would wind up with the most coveted option in the 2011 draft, even if they didn't finish with the worst record. (For instance, if the Bills draft Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton third overall and finish 2-14, are they taking Luck? They can't.

And that should be the scariest fact for Hurney and new coach Ron Rivera when they start looking at their options for the coming season: even if they do take Newton, they could finish with the worst record in the NFL (in fact, one could argue drafting Newton improves their chances ...) and be faced with a decision on having to draft their third straight franchise quarterback. That's something that isn't even considered an option. Even if Luck was there, Carolina would have to think defense, which would be a shame.

Look, landing Luck vis-a-vis the No. 1 overall pick next year is far from a guarantee. But the odds of it happening for Carolina are at least as good, if not better, than hitting a home run with Cam Newton.
Posted on: April 24, 2011 10:39 am

Offseason checkup: Carolina Panthers

Posted by Will Brinson

J. Clausen hopes to get Carolina turned around in 2011 (Getty).

Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups

Not to try and bring back the Anchorman meme that probably became uncool a few years ago, but, man, things really got out of hand fast in Carolina, didn't they? John Fox is gone, Ron Rivera is in, Jerry Richardson is likely not too popular with the fans because of the labor situation, and the draft-pick situation for the Panthers is a nightmare.

There's also a pile of questions relating to how 2011 will unfold based on the rules once the labor situation is settled. And the whole problem of everyone else in the NFC South being potentially dominant or at least pretty good ... primarily because of quarterback play. And thus, we see the Panthers problem: they need a franchise quarterback. Andrew Luck's decision to return to school put a big crimp in the plans for the No. 1 overall pick, and Cam Newton's been penciled in at this point by basically anyone.  

Even if he is the pick, the Panthers can't negotiate with him, so who knows at this point? There's ample argument for why Carolina should take a cornerback, a defensive tackle, trade the top pick, or just roll the dice with Newton.

Defensive Tackle, Quarterback

The odd things about Carolina's roster is that in 2010, they had the talent to succeed. Injuries (Jeff Otah and Thomas Davis most notably), poor play (Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen most notably) and an awkward coaching situation changed things dramatically and the team unraveled. It became pretty clear, though, that even with a talented offensive line and two superb running backs in Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, you can't run the ball if no one respects your passing game.

Can Newton fix that passing game? Is his upside worth passing on a very-much-needed defensive tackle like Marcell Dareus out of Alabama? Does it even matter if Newton can be Tim Tebow 2.0 and sell a pile of jerseys while making the Panthers nationally relevant, at least for a season?

It seems clear that Newton's going to either be a total home run, though not likely right away, or an absolute, unmitigated disaster. There might be an in-between area, but given the hype surrounding the potential No.1-overall pick, it's hard to imagine Newton settling into something that's just "average."

1. Quarterback
Value Over Replacement Player is typically a statistic that you see in baseball. But the notion remains true when you talk about the MVP race: how would the Patriots fare if you took out Tom Brady and plugged in an "average" quarterback? Well, the Panthers showed that if you plug in the player most below average in the NFL, disaster ensues. Quarterback is absolutely the most important position of need for Carolina -- it's just a matter of whether or not Newton or Blaine Gabbert could end up becoming "the guy" in Carolina as a top pick, just one season after the Panthers apparently wasted a second-rounder on Clausen. No one -- and I mean NO ONE -- can know the answer until we sees how it plays out. That's what makes their top pick so insanely controversial.

2. Defensive Tackle
Making the Panthers' choice at the top of the draft even more difficult is the presence of Dareus, who seems like a pretty good bet to succeed in the NFL. Or, at least, to not flop at defensive tackle. With (maybe) four winnable games on the 2011 schedule, the Panthers could conceivably draft Dareus, hope they perform to 2010-level expectations with a vastly more difficult schedule, and land Andrew Luck in the next season. Playing chicken with a franchise quarterback and gambling on losing a lot isn't really an efficient way to manage in the NFL, but is drafting Cam Newton really a safer option?

3. More Draft Picks
I said this for Denver and they probably have more holes to fill than the Panthers, but Carolina doesn't even have a second-rounder because they traded their pick to the Patriots in order to draft Armanti Edwards out of Appalachian State, which might secretly be the worst draft decision in quite some time, especially because it's the first pick on the second day of the draft and a coveted spot. With a draft that's deep at defensive line, and the Panthers in need of a cornerback, a quarterback and a defensive tackle, having more picks -- as opposed to, say, LESS picks -- would be a pretty big advantage for the franchise.

2011 could be disastrous for the Panthers. I mentioned four winnable games, and that's not a joke: can they beat Detroit in Ford Field? Arizona out west? Tennessee at home in Week 10? Washington at home in Week 7? The Jaguars at home in Week 3? Okay, that's actually five, so we're getting somewhere! Or not -- those games are as far from locks as you get, and they're the easiest ones on the schedule. Maybe an upset or two in the NFC South is doable, but that's a bit optimistic for anyone who watched what happened in 2010.

Hey, but hope springs eternal. Or something. Ron Rivera's got a talented staff in place and the Panthers do still have a roster with some stars; at the very least, they've got studly linebackers and a strong offensive line, should free agency fall they way they want (and when you've got your owner leading the negotiations, well, that's never a bad thing). Drafting Newton could immediately reenergize the fanbase and turn out to be an absolute gamechanger when it comes to the franchise's future. But if there's one team that actually wouldn't mind seeing a lockout last through the entire 2011 season, it's probably Carolina.

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Posted on: January 9, 2011 6:42 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2011 7:02 pm

Casserly: Jerry Richardson called Andrew Luck

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We already thought we knew why Andrew Luck wanted to return to Stanford for his red shirt junior year: he wants to stay together one more season with his recruiting class, he wants to finish his degree and, presumably, he wants to try to win a national title.

But Panthers owner Jerry Richardson wanted to make sure there wasn’t another (more nefarious) reason. According to CBS’ own Charlie Casserly on The NFL Today, Richardson called Luck to determine if one reason he wasn’t entering the NFL Draft was because Carolina will get the No. 1 pick.

Reported Casserly: “He was told unequivocally no."

And if Richardson and his personnel people still want to take a QB in the Draft - and here's what our mock draft looks like - here’s Casserly’s list of the top remaining signal-callers that will be available: Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert, Washington’s Jake Locker, Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett and Auburn’s Cam Newton.

But at least this way, Richardson didn’t have his feelings hurt.

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Posted on: January 8, 2011 12:20 am
Edited on: January 8, 2011 9:45 am

Similarity reigns for Panthers at top pick

Posted by Will Brinson

Off-field issues WILL be a problem for a Carolina Panthers team during the draft, even though they are in desperate need of better quarterback play.

Jerry Richardson lamented the play from under center Friday, and with good reason -- Jimmy Clausen was terrible in 2010. But for as bad as he was, he didn't do anything that could cause drama off the field, which is a potential problem for Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett.

Newton's problems are obvious and not necessarily an indictment of the potential championship-winning quarterback. It's just obvious that he has some baggage coming with him.

And the NFL Network's Albert Breer cited sources Friday that indicated there were concerns with Mallett off the field as well.

Those issues will stop Richardson and Panthers GM Marty Hurney from drafting either player, period. They don't like messing with guys that have off-field issues, and they certainly won't pull the trigger on a "franchise quarterback" with potential long-term problems.

Even if that wasn't an issue, though, let's take a look at the last time the Panthers were hiring a head coach. Conveniently, they also had a top-five draft pick that year and, if you'll recall, they took defensive end Julius Peppers.

That's because the team needed defensive help, they'd just hired a defensive-minded coach, Peppers was a stud, and he had a little bit of local drawing power. Some of this already sounds familiar, since Carolina appears to be interviewing only defensive-minded guys.

Now, Da'Quan Bowers might not be a Carolina graduate, and he might not be from North Carolina, but Bamberg, SC (his hometown) is less than three hours south of Charlotte and Clemson University (and their fanbase) is even closer. Bowers is a clear-cut defensive stud and while Charles Johnson had a monster year, he might not exactly be cheap to re-sign.

All of that is to say, for those that want to quickly elevate another quarterback to the top spot in the 2011 NFL Draft simply because Andrew Luck is no longer available, well, it might be wise to heed the old tale about the past teaching us a lesson for the future.

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Posted on: January 7, 2011 1:28 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2011 1:33 pm

Andrew Luck got advice from Peyton Manning

Posted by Andy Benoit
P. Manning (US Presswire)
Before Andrew Luck, the last surefire No. 1 overall pick who decided to delay his NFL career one more year and return for a senior season was Peyton Manning. Instead of leaving college to become the No. 1 overall pick of the 1997 NFL Draft (the Jets held the pick but later traded it to St. Louis), Manning remained a Tennessee Volunteer.

That decision, obviously, worked out just fine for Manning. So how much did that influence Luck’s decision? Luck’s father, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck, told sports radio station KTAR on Friday that his son spoke with the Colts quarterback beforehand.

"(Andrew) got advice not just from his old man or his mom but from people like Peyton Manning, Eli and others who've gone through it," he said. "That information and that advice of course is invaluable."

Oliver Luck also emphasized that his son’s decision had nothing to do with the Carolina Panthers – or any other NFL team. Rather, as the Lucks have been saying, it was about getting a degree and Andrew loving the bond he has with his Stanford teammates.

"He has a real bond with the class that he came in with, his football classmates, his cohorts so to speak," Oliver Luck said. "It was Jim Harbaugh's first recruiting class there. Those guys committed to Stanford when Stanford was 1-11, which took a little bit of a leap of faith.

"He feels real tight with those guys and he felt like he had some unfinished business. He wanted to go out with his guys."

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Posted on: January 6, 2011 2:37 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 3:00 pm

Andrew Luck to remain at Stanford

Posted by Will Brinson

Andrew Luck was a lock with the No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers. One problem: he had to leave school first, and it turns out he's not going to do that.

Stanford announced on Thursday afternoon that the redshirt sophomore would remain in school for the next season.

"I'm committed to earning my degree in architectural design and am on track to accomplish this at the completion of the spring of '12," Luck said via the school.

This raises all sorts of questions involving the future of Jim Harbaugh as a coach, the future of the Carolina Panthers at quarterback, and how it will shake up the NFL Draft.

People will question how much Luck is sacrificing by staying in school, but Sam Bradford did the same thing two years ago, and things worked out fairly well for him. Additionally, the labor situation creates a rather nasty little problem for potential draftees. If Luck were picked by the Panthers, he wouldn't see one dime of money until a new collective bargaining agreement was reached. Is that guaranteed to be handled by even the beginning of next season? Of course not. That would also mean that Luck might not see the football field until a few weeks before the season begins.

The Panthers reportedly would take Luck first overall, but that's not a guarantee either, which means that a big-time trade up into the top spot could land the quarterback in an entirely untenable situation, depending on who acquired the pick.

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Posted on: January 4, 2011 4:44 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 4:59 pm

Report: Panthers would take Luck No. 1 overall

Posted by Will Brinson

This may come as less of a surprise than the recent John Fox firing in Carolina, but word on the street is the Panthers would take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick if he leaves school early.

This report comes from as about as good a source as it can, Pat Yasinskas of ESPN, who spent a long time as the Panthers beat writer for the Charlotte Observer and who is currently in Charlotte.

Of course, one might not even need Yasinskas' sources in this case -- in his press conference Tuesday, Jerry Richardson said the Panthers wouldn't trade down if given the opportunity. Additionally, Jimmy Clausen was the worst quarterback in the NFL by almost any stretch of the imagination, and Luck is considered a stone-cold lock as the top prospect in the NFL Draft this year.

The possibility that the Panthers could open up the pick to trades still remains, if only because of the ridiculous value that Luck offers to a plethora of teams in need of a quarterback. But if Richardson's true to his word, the only obstacle is whether or not Luck comes out and is willing to play for the Panthers. 

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com