Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:Carolina Panthers
Posted on: September 6, 2011 10:44 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2011 10:50 pm
 

David Garrard's agent: QB has 'gotten some calls'

Posted by Will Brinson

David Garrard was stunningly released on Tuesday afternoon by the Jaguars, and, this might not come as "news," but he was as surprised as everyone else.

According to his agent, Al Irby, he was "shocked" even, because they believed Garrard was starting Week 1 for Jacksonville.

"Been assured that the job was his this year," said Al Irby, Garrard's agent, said, per Tania Ganguli of The Florida Times-Union. "That's why we're all shocked, and so was he. This had to be a last minute decision, that's the only thing I can say. I don't think these guys would purposely tell me one thing and [do another]."

Perhaps the most logical reason for waiting so long to release Garrard? The Colts situation at quarterback -- though it stinks to wait so long for Garrard to get on the open market for his own personal reasons, he might have been a nice fit for the Jags division rival Indy.

The 2011 Jaguars
But given that the NFL is a quarterbacks league that doesn't feature all that many good quarterbacks, it stands to reason he'll find work somewhere. Which is why it makes sense that, also according to Irby, he's "gotten some calls."

"The system's going to do what it's going to do," Irby said. "He has gotten some calls, they know there's some interest. David can still play it's obvious. He knows he's gonna have options and he's gonna just sit back and let the offers come in and make a decision."

There are still plenty of teams that need quarterback. The 49ers brought in Josh McCown due to their concern with Alex Smith as a starter, and wouldn't that be a potentially ironic landing spot given that Luke McCown took over as the starter for Garrard?

The Panthers are rolling with Derek Anderson as their backup, and the Carolina quarterbacks coach Mike Shula had some serious success with Garrard when he coached in Jacksonville from 2007-10. Seattle's quarterbacks coach, Carl Smith, was Garrard's offensive coordinator in Jacksonville for two years, from 2005-06.

The Ravens (Tyrod Taylor) and Raiders (Kyle Boller) could both use a capable backup. Tennessee might be interested at the right price to help protect the need to shove Jake Locker into a starting role if Matt Hasselbeck gets hurt.

So it's not surprising to hear that teams are inquiring about Garrard's availability. The only question is whether it's too close to the start of the season for another team to really make the investment in Garrard worth the cost.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: September 6, 2011 6:04 pm
 

CB Darius Butler cut by Patriots

Posted by Will Brinson

In 2009, the Patriots had a whopping four second-round draft picks. On Tuesday, they cut one of those picks, cornerback Darius Butler.

Butler, the 41st-overall pick that year, announced the move on Twitter.

"Its been real New England," Butler tweeted Tuesday. "I was blessed to have a chance to play and start my NFL career here. But its time to open a new chapter. Thx #patsnation."

Per our Patriots Rapid Reporter Greg Bedard, Butler wasn't exactly shocked about the news.

 "It wasn't a surprise. I was hearing trade speculation," Butler said. "It happened maybe a little bit later than I wanted, but I'm ready to go forward."

Butler, who played in 15 games last season, recorded just 23 tackles and zero sacks. Butler figured to see some substantial playing time last year when Leigh Bodden went on injured reserve, but he never stepped up his play and eventually lost his starting spot.

With Bodden, blossoming star Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington topping the depth chart, the Patriots clearly felt they have enough manpower.

Don't expect to see the youngster stay on the open market long, though. As Steve Reed of the Gaston Gazette points out, the Panthers have the first chance at claiming Butler off of waivers and given that their in pretty desperate need of cornerbacks, it would be shocking to see them pass on him.

Interestingly enough (or maybe not?), in the 2009 NFL Draft, Butler went two picks ahead of former Panthers defensive end Everette Brown, who Carolina cut Sunday. Butler won't get them their first-round pick back from the 49ers, but he might salvage something out of what turned out to be an absolutely disastrous draft in 2009.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: September 4, 2011 11:50 pm
 

Bo Jackson says Cam Newton, Panthers 'are scary'

 
Bo Jackson on Cam Newton: “There isn’t another quarterback in the NFL that has all of those tangibles.” (Getty Images)  

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Cam Newton, the first-overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, and the latest franchise quarterback for the Panthers, has been named the starter as Carolina heads into the regular season. Newton wasn't particularly impressive during the preseason, completing just 42 percent of his passes (24 for 57, 300 yards) and throwing just one touchdown, but he showed glimpses of the future and, well, potential can be a powerful aphrodisiac. 

Of course, the NFL QB scrap heap is littered with players who had gobs of inherent talent but couldn't ever do anything with it. The reasons for their professional demises are as varied as the names on the list. Clark Judge, our CBSSports.com colleague, wrote last week that "If Newton demonstrated anything in three quarters of a 24-13 loss to Cincinnati, it's that he's not ready for prime time. He should sit, and he should sit until he understands what he's doing and what he sees -- because that's not happening now."

Judge reiterated those thoughts again Friday, a day after head coach Ron Rivera made it official.

"Normally, [Newton] would have minicamps, OTAs and quarterback camps to pick up the pro game, but all that got flushed during the lockout. So [he] reported in late July and will start in early September, and good luck. He looks no more ready to play the position than Jimmy Clausen did a year ago.

"But the Panthers have little choice. They can't sell their fans on Clausen or Derek Anderson, so give them Newton -- ready or not -- and that might not be good for him or the franchise. Reason: In a lot of respects it reminds me of the Ryan Leaf situation in San Diego years ago, one that Carolina GM Marty Hurney knows all too well."

Yikes.

It's not all gloom and doom, however. Bo Jackson, one of the greatest professional athletes of the last half-century, recently told Jim Rome (via PFT.com) that Newton possesses rare physical gifts that are the exact right fit for the Panthers' offense. (Seriously, we're not making that up.)

“There isn’t another quarterback in the NFL that has all of those tangibles,” Jackson said. “And when you put all of those tangibles together with the quality of receivers and linemen that he’s got blocking for him, and the running backs that he can get the pill to, this guy is scary. The Panthers are scary.”

There's more.

“When you speak of Cam Newton, I’ll put it to you just like this: He has the arm strength and power of Dan Marino and John Elway combined,” Jackson said. “He is quicker than Michael Vick, faster than Michael Vick. And he will run over you with the power of a Jerome Bettis, Bo Jackson, Earl Campbell. That’s the kind of guy he is.”

Okay, perhaps Jackson's laying it on a bit thick, but he's clearly enamored with Newton's raw skills, something no one could say about Clausen a year ago.

But before we all start making Super Bowl plans, something worth considering: the Panthers' schedule. It's brutal.

A quick recap for those of you who don't have it committed to memory: @Arizona, Green Bay, Jacksonville, @Chicago, New Orleans, @Atlanta, Washington, Minnesota, BYE, @Tennessee, @Detroit, @Indianapolis, @Tampa Bay, Atlanta, @Houston, Tampa Bay, @New Orleans.

After perusing that list, there's a chance the Panthers, without much effort, could again stumble to two wins despite fielding a much better team. We suspect Jackson doesn't share our skepticism.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: September 4, 2011 12:54 pm
Edited on: September 4, 2011 1:06 pm
 

Panthers waive 2009 2nd-rounder Everette Brown

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Two and a half years after the Panthers gave up a first-round pick to move back into the second round to select Everette Brown, they released the former Florida State defensive end, according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Steve Reed.

Brown appeared in 48 games during his Carolina career, registering 47 tackles, 6.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and a pick, but fell to fourth on the depth chart during training camp on a team coming off a 2-14 season. Brown's just 24, and at 6-4, 250 pounds, should have very little trouble finding work.

When the Panthers selected Brown, general manager Marty Hurney said, “We thought that Everette Brown was one of the better pass rushers in this draft. He’s got all of the intangibles and is a very hard worker. He has a good first step and plays with good strength. I think he helps our pass rush immediately and will work in the rotation with the ends.”

Days before, Pro Football Weekly offered this scouting report on Brown (via Aaron Aloysius on Twitter): "He was not asked to drop much in college and showed too much stiffness in reverse at his pro-day workout to project as a rush linebacker."

Hmm. Either way, Hurney's suspect early-round draft strategy continues. In addition to Brown, there's 2010 third-rounder Armanti Edwards (Carolina gave up a second-round pick to get him). A college quarterback, Edwards has struggled with the transition to wide receiver, which speaks more to the Panthers' personnel process than to Edwards' shortcomings as an NFL player.

Then there's 2010 second-rounder, Jimmy Clausen. The Panthers didn't trade up for him -- he fell so far and so fast they may not have had time -- but his NFL career to date can kindly be described as disappointing. He was forced onto the field last season when Matt Moore was injured and inconsistent, and statistically Clausen was one of the league's worst quarterbacks.

The Panthers and Hurney thought so much of him that they in April they drafted Cam Newton with the first-overall pick, and now it looks like Clausen could fall to No. 3 on the depth chart behind journeyman Derek Anderson.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: September 2, 2011 9:37 am
Edited on: September 2, 2011 9:38 am
 

Newton named starter, Clausen could be no. 3



Posted by Ryan Wilson

We've spent much of the preseason focused on the the battle for the backup job in Denver. It became clear early on that Kyle Orton would be the starter, despite offseason speculation that 2010 first-round pick Tim Tebow could ascend to the role. Instead,the storyline was Tebow vs. Brady Quinn with the winner getting the earpiece and clipboard on game days.

Meanwhile a more interesting backup quarterback competition was unfolding in Charlotte, where Cam Newton has been the unofficial starter since the moment he was taken with the first-overall pick in April. (The news became official Thursday night when it was printed on team letterhead and announced publicly by coach Ron Rivera.)

The contestants: Jimmy Clausen, the team's second-round pick a year ago who had about as rough a rookie season as could be dreamed up, and Derek Anderson, a 2007 Pro Bowler who fell on hard times in recent years with the Browns and the Cardinals.

In the Panthers' final preseason game against the Steelers, Anderson got the second-team snaps and took advantage of the opportunity. He finished the night 11 of 19 for 192 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown pass to David Clowney. Clausen, on the other hand, had a forgettable effort. Details via CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter and Carolina Growl writer Steve Reed:
Clausen had a disastrous night, throwing an interception on his first pass of the game and then fumbling a snap from center leading to a Steelers touchdown in the fourth quarter. He threw another pass that should have been picked off and was also sacked three times, including once on fourth down while the Panthers were in the red zone. He looked particularly slow moving around in the pocket after injuring his thigh last Thursday night against Cincinnati.

It was the first time this preseason that Anderson was the second quarterback into the game and could signal the Panthers are more comfortable with him being Newton's primary backup since he's more familiar with (offensive coordinator) Rob Chudzinski's offense.
Anderson came to Carolina from Arizona, but he has experience in Chudzinski's offense during their time together in Cleveland.

"The thing about that is Derek is a guy that doesn't need a lot of reps in this offense," Rivera said, via Reed. "At the same time, if something were to happen, he's a guy that because he doesn't need a lot of reps in this offense could probably help us. So we are most certainly going to take a look at that and see where that fits with what we want to do offensively."

As for the news that Newton will be under center when the Panthers take the field on September 11 at Arizona, Rivera sounded optimistic.

"We are looking forward to him being our starter," Rivera said. "He's going to grow as our starter and we're going to grow as a football team. The thing that has to happen is that we as a football team have to grow and it's not just about him. It's about the rest of growing with our system... I want to make this clear again: We didn't draft Cam to be our savior, we drafted him to help lead this football team. He will be our starter on opening day."

Pretty sure the fans don't see it this way, but that's what happens when the team struggles to go 2-14 the year before. For his part, Newton said all the right things about winning the job.

"That's a big opportunity and a big responsibility," he said. "To be a starter in this league there is so much that goes into it behind the scenes and I've got to be ready for that."

It turned out to be a dreadful night for former Notre Dame quarterbacks trying to climb NFL depth charts. In Denver, Quinn got the start and went 4 for 12 for 26 yards and an interception. If there's a silver lining it's this: because of the new game-day roster rules, teams no longer have to name an emergency third quarterback.

So should Rivera replace Newton, he could use either Anderson or Clausen at any point during the game. In theory, both players are co-backups. The reality -- at least after Clausen's performance against the Steelers -- is that he has the No. 3 job sewn up.

But, hey, the regular season hasn't even started. A lot can change in the coming weeks and months.  After all, the Browns drafted Quinn as their franchise quarterback in 2007 and that season Anderson led the team to 10 wins and he made the Pro Bowl. This game is crazy like that.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: August 30, 2011 12:23 pm
 

Saints to sign former Panthers kicker John Kasay

Posted by Will Brinson

This offseason, the Carolina Panthers made the curious decision to "get younger" by dumping 41-year-old kicker John Kasay, the only remaining member of the franchise's original roster, and paying 38-year-old Olindo Mare $12 million over four years.

Whatever, they were able to get someone who could kick the ball off and pile up touchbacks under the new rules. But Kasay isn't done with the NFL, and it looks like he could end up in the same division, as Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer reports that Kasay "is likely to sign a deal" with the New Orleans Saints in the near future.

Kasay's required because Garrett Hartley injured his hip on Sunday against the Raiders; the injury actually led coach Sean Payton to go for two-point conversions repeatedly against Oakland.

This isn't the first time Hartley's had an older kicker come in and try to steal his job -- just last year John Carney was added by the Saints in order to kickstart Hartley's leg after he choked a chip shot against the Falcons.

Things are obviously different now, as Kasay's simply insurance in case Hartley's injury keeps him out for the start of the regular season.

If that does happen, and Hartley's missing come Week 5, things could get kind of awkward for the Panthers when Kasay starts lining up for a 50-yarder to win things in Charlotte.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: August 29, 2011 9:31 pm
 

Jeremy Shockey saves choking Ben Hartsock

ShockeyPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Panthers tight end Ben Hartsock is real thankful for Jeremy Shockey today. That’s because Shockey came to the quick rescue of Hartsock when he began choking while eating lunch at the team facility.

Hartsock was eating pork tenderloin when a piece of the meat got caught in his throat, as the National Football Post recounts. Hartsock drank water to try to dislodge the obstruction, but it soon became clear to teammates that he couldn’t breathe.

“He started to go to the bathroom and I don’t know if he collapsed, but he couldn’t breathe,” agent Mike McCartney told the NFP. “Some new guy came and tried to give him the Heimlich. It didn’t work. Then, Shockey hit him in the back pretty hard and out came the meat. The Panthers told me it was really scary.

“Ben told me, ‘Shockey came over and gave me the Heimlich Maneuver and saved my life.’ He was in good spirits and he’s real thankful for Shockey.”

So, there you go: Jeremy Shockey, hero.

But my favorite part of the story (you know, other than the fact Hartsock is alive and breathing)? It’s what the Panthers repeatedly said to Hartsock at practice afterward: “Don’t choke, Hartsock.” Hopefully it’s a zinger that Hartsock and Shockey can laugh at for a long time.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed<

Posted on: August 27, 2011 5:36 pm
Edited on: August 27, 2011 5:37 pm
 

When will Rivera name Cam Newton the starter?

NewtonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Finally we have our answer. Finally, it’s been put to rest. Cam Newton is officially the Panthers starting quarterback … for the fourth preseason game.

That’s according to Rapid Reporter Steve Reed, who also writes that Carolina coach Ron Rivera still hasn’t said whether Newton will start the season-opener vs. the Cardinals.

Yet, Reed -- like most everyone else who follows the NFL -- appears to know what eventually will happen. He writes: “Newton will start the season opener at Arizona although, quite frankly, he’s still raw and not really ready. But he’s a better option than (Jimmy) Clausen, who still hasn’t shown the ability to make plays and is slow getting the ball out.”

Newton vs. Clausen
It seems pretty clear that Newton, who will start Thursday night’s preseason game vs. the Steelers, would have to suffer some kind of major meltdown in order to lose his hold on the starting job. And considering Clausen’s knee is banged up at the moment, Newton’s only other competition is Derek Anderson.* Now, all Newton has to do is throw a touchdown pass or, you know, convert a third down attempt (neither has occurred yet this preseason).

*Wouldn’t you rather watch Newton flounder around out there than be forced to watch Anderson do anything?

Which leads us to the conclusion that eventually (probably before the season opener), Rivera will be forced to tap Newton as the starting quarterback. But a word of caution. As ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas points out, Newton would be the first Carolina opening-day rookie starter since Chris Weinke in 2001.

And we all remember how well his career went after that.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com