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Tag:Carolina Panthers
Posted on: May 2, 2011 9:03 pm
 

Steve Smith not tipping his hand about future

Posted by Andy Benoit
S. Smith
You may have heard that Panthers receiver Steve Smith cleaned out his locker the other day. The 10-year veteran could be on his way out of Carolina. If he does want a change of scenery, he’s not saying.

"I'm going to stick with what I've been saying since the beginning," Smith said, according to Pat Yasinkas of ESPN.com. "It's a private matter. It'll be between me and my family when we make the decision."

The Panthers are disputing rumors that Smith asked for a trade prior to the lockout.

"When the decision is made people will have their opinions about it,’’ Smith said. “But I love Charlotte. I've enjoyed playing here. And the reason I say that is because we're not allowed to play right now. We've been locked out. So unfortunately that's the way you've got to talk about it. I just don't see the point of talking about things that you can't even do right now."

Yasinkas thinks Smith will be dealt. He says owner Jerry Richardson has “deep regrets” about the way Smith was able to walk all over John Fox the past two years.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: April 30, 2011 8:39 pm
 

What the NFL draft taught us

C. Newton will try to make it big in Carolina (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

NEW YORK – Well, the 2011 NFL draft has come and gone. The ESPN and NFL Network sets, the podium and the big-screen TVs can be placed back into storage – along with the 2011 NFL season for now.

That being said, the draft taught us quite a few things about where the organizations are going and, maybe, why they won’t get there. Here are a few observations about what we learned.

1. The Panthers still have no idea about their quarterback situation – and about their direction in general: It feels like Carolina HAD to take Cam Newton with the No. 1 pick, and if the Panthers hadn’t, Newton could have fallen all the way until the middle of the first round. So, Carolina has taken a quarterback in the second round (Jimmy Clausen) and a quarterback in the first round (Newton) in back-to-back years. Are they any better now than they were three days ago? Probably not. Are they actually in a worse spot than they were three days ago? Quite possibly.

2. The Raiders still are too in love with speed:
Their third-round pick (CB DeMarcus Van Dyke) is really fast, but other than that, he has many way too many deficiencies. Their fourth-round pick (CB Chimdi Chekwa) is really fast, but he isn’t a great cover guy. Their second fourth-round pick (RB Taiwan Jones) is really fast, but he’s very brittle. It’s a replay of almost every other season. Which likely means Oakland still isn’t going to be much better than average for the foreseeable future.

3. The Patriots might be the new Bengals: OK, that’s perhaps a bit of a stretch, but maybe could you make the case that Bill Belichick’s arrogance of drafting players with off-the-field issues this year compares to Mike Brown’s indifference of drafting players with off-the-field issues. Either way, the Patriots took QB Ryan Mallett (you know his story well by now) in the third round and TE Lee Smith (who left Tennessee for Marshall after he was arrested on a DUI charge). Now, the Patriots will have to make sure they keep those guys in line. The Bengals haven’t always done such a great job of that, but I think Belichick can manage just fine.

4. Apparently, everything is cool with quarterbacks in Arizona, Seattle and Buffalo: Maybe those front offices forgot they’ll enter 2011 with Derek Anderson/Max Hall/John Skelton and Matt Hasselbeck/Charlie Whitehurst, and Ryan Fitzpatrick, respectively. I kid, I kid. The Bills apparently like Fitzpatrick, and the Cardinals almost certainly will go to free agency to find a QB. Maybe, though, those three teams also subscribed to the theory that this year’s quarterback class wasn’t really all that tremendous and decided to try another route to fill the needs of their team.

5.Maybe teams should look more toward the north part of the South for pro prospects:
Nine (!) North Carolina players were drafted (that’s right; I double-checked), six Clemson players were taken (and Da’Quan Bowers was only the third picked!), and, hell, even three Appalachian State players were nabbed. Why, then, were the Tigers and the Tar Heels a combined 14-12?

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Posted on: April 30, 2011 8:10 pm
Edited on: May 2, 2011 10:28 pm
 

2011 NFL Draft: Winners and losers

Posted by Will Brinson

NEW YORK -- The grind of the NFL Draft -- and don't let anyone tell you otherwise, three days of straight picks is definitely a grind -- is finally over. Which means we should probably take our time to sit back and reflect on who did well and do not do well. Or, alternately, we can just start calling people names right ... now!



WINNERS
Atlanta Falcons: Been flopping on these guys all weekend long it feels like -- I like Julio Jones a lot, but I didn’t like all the picks the Falcons needed to get him. I do, however, freaking LOVE Jacquizz Rodgers. They got a steal when they landed a lot more offensive explosiveness in the seventh round. Couple that with a few more solid adds in Andrew Jackson, Akeem Dent and K/P Matt Bosher and it was a good haul for Thomas Dimitroff. Good enough to have me thinking about picking them to win it all. Again.

Peyton Manning: Not only is the best quarterback in the NFL going to get real paid as soon as we get a new CBA, but he’s going to have two new guys -- Anthony Castonzo and Benjamin Ijalana -- in town to help keep him healthy.

Buffalo Bills: The Bills started off their draft with a good blueprint: DEFENSE. And they stuck to that blueprint throughout the rest of the draft too, only diverting twice to pick up Chris Hairston from Clemson to beef up the offensive line and Johnny White for backfield depth and special teams. Da’Norris Searcy out of Chapel Hill could be a steal for them in the fourth.

Wade Phillips: Not that you expected the Texans to actually go out and get anyone that’s an an offensive player early in the draft, but did a great job with their first five picks, particularly in trading back up to grab Brandon Harris. Given all the limitations on that defense and the switch they have to make, it’s good for him to at least get a head start out of the draft.

Cleveland Browns: Giving up a top-10 selection when you’ve got a young quarterback that needs weapons is no easy move ... unless you’re getting five picks in return and turn those into serviceable offensive products and some defensive standouts. Buster Skrine’s value fell post-Combine but he could be a good find, Jason Pinkston out of Pittsburgh will help and already-physical offensive line. Phil Taylor/Jabaal Sheard immediately improve the defensive line and Greg Little and Jordan Cameron give Colt McCoy some guys with good hands and upside.

Ryan Mallett: My man Freeman thinks Bill Belichick might have taken too big a gamble, and there’s a good chance he might be right. But if Mallett goes anywhere else, you would have heard everyone saying that about the GM that grabbed him. (Can you imagine the reaction if Carolina took him or, dare I say, the Bengals?) The pressure of falling in the draft because of character issues and having to play/perform well at an early time is lifted with his move.

Green Bay Packers: Not that it’s hard to “win” if you’re Green Bay, coming off a Super Bowl-winning season and sitting on a young, stacked roster. But “In Ted We Trust” applies here, because Thompson beefed up the Packers’ offensive line depth, got a superb second-rounder in Randall Cobb to potentially replace and just generally marked everything he needed off his checklist. Standard Packers draft, really.

Arizona Cardinals: They had a good first two days nabbing Patrick Peterson and Ryan Williams and then fared quite well in the later rounds, particularly with their selection of Quan Sturdivant, a pretty stupendous value in the sixth round. Some would argue they didn’t address their QB need and that’s fair, but they’ll be the leaders in the clubhouse for a veteran or a Kevin Kolb trade.

Pittsburgh Steelers: The rich get richer, per usual. Cameron Heyward is the future at defensive end, Marcus Gilbert -- a reliable offensive lineman -- is exactly what the Steelers need, and the Steelers stepped up and addressed their cornerback issues early on Day 3 of the draft by grabbing Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen.

America: For awesomeness’ sake, I’m going to hold out eternal hope that the Chiefs win the Super Bowl, Ricky Stanzi ends up shirtless in a downtown BBQ joint with an American flag as a cape, holding a huge turkey leg while belting out the “Star Spangled Banner” in celebration and this scene makes its way onto YouTube. America needs that.



LOSERS
Carolina Panthers: The Panthers were a classic example of how trading early-round picks and finding yourself extremely weak at certain positions can kill you: in a draft with ridiculous defensive line depth, they still couldn’t add to a weak position until the third round when they picked up a pair of undersized defensive tackles in Terrell McClain and Sione Fua. Kealoha Pilares was a good grab at the top of the fifth, though. And, of course, they were essentially forced to take Cam Newton at the top spot. If he busts, this draft is a total nightmare. It might even be a situation of Carolina just taking their medicine in the best-case anyway.

Carson Palmer: Marvin Lewis says the Bengals have “moved on” for Palmer too; you gotta think they’ll try and trade him just to get something in return, but it’s shame because the best scenario for him might actually be returning to the ‘Nati and helping to bring A.J. Green and Stanford product Ryan Whalen into the fold of Jermaine Gresham and Jordan Shipley. Those are nicer weapons than he’ll find in retirement.

Jacksonville Jaguars: I think Blaine Gabbert will end up being pretty good. If he’s great, this ranking could change, but if Jack Del Rio’s job is on the line, how does he not convince Gene Smith to go out and get him some freaking secondary help before fourth round? (Caveat: Smith has killed drafts since he got to J-Vegas, so if he thinks Gabbert’s “the guy” going forward, more power to him.)

Ronnie Brown: There was some talk Brown might stick with the Dolphins even after they took Daniel Thomas out of K-State in the second round. Nabbing Charles Clay -- even if he’s a fullback -- probably means Brown is done with the ‘Fins. (And it might also mean they’re not as set on paying DeAngelo Williams whatever he wants too.)

Washington Redskins: All weekend long, the Redskins looked like winners as they kept avoiding making huge mistakes by trading down and piling up picks. But did they really end up getting anything of substantial value for it? Leonard Hankerson could be a nice pull in the third round, certainly, but for all the Redskins’ surprising patience, they didn’t once address their (very serious) quarterback issue or linebacker issue.

Reggie Bush: Sean Payton’s saying that he’s open to Bush coming back. That might be true. And it might not be true. But what he’s not doing is making a dumb, knee-jerk reaction on Twitter simply because his team drafted Mark Ingram. Which is what Bush did and it’s not going to help him in the short or long term.

Denver Broncos: The Broncos accumulated a lot of picks, and added a linebacker trio that could be dominant in a few years (Von Miller as the pass rusher, Nate Irving as the tackler and Virgil Green as the cover guy). But two tight ends and not a single defensive lineman? Did someone show John Elway the wrong depth chart before this thing kicked off on Thursday?

Oakland Raiders: Al Davis didn’t have a first-rounder, so it’s okay to temper expectations a little bit, but Al really isn’t going to stop over-drafting athleticism until the day he dies. And considering how hot it was in Radio City Music Hall when they played “California Girls” for the second time on Saturday, I can’t imagine hell’s freezing over any time soon.

David Akers: With the Eagles’ decision to reach up into the fourth round and grab Alex Henery out of Nebraska, as well as the fact that Akers wasn’t happy about his transition tag, it’s pretty obvious that the incumbent kicker’s days as a Philly legend are numbered. (You could also add Henery as a loser here, too: having to come in and kick in front of Eagles’ fans sounds worse than listening to drunk Jets’ fans boo everything for eight-straight hours.)

Seattle Seahawks: Maybe Pete Carroll’s drafts are just too “zany” for me to understand, but the James Carpenter pick strikes me as possibly the biggest reach of the first round, maybe even ahead of Jake Locker and Christian Ponder. Unless bring Matt Hasselbeck back or land another veteran QB in the offseason, it’s almost impossible to imagine them sniffing the playoffs again.

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Posted on: April 29, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: April 29, 2011 1:22 pm
 

Hot Routes 4.29.11 Not all knee-jerk draft stuff

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit


Cowboys first-round pick Tyron Smith believes he has the potential to be a Pro Bowler and a Hall of Famer. (He might be right about the Hall of Fame potential. But Pro Bowl potential? Who does he think he is?)


Did you happen to catch Nick Saban’s reaction to the announcement of Alabama offensive lineman James Carpenter being drafted in the first round by Seattle? It was one of disbelief, if not controlled shock.


The Falcons are set to report to work on Monday.

The 2015 Super Bowl will be held in either Glendale, AZ or Tampa, FL.


The Panthers drafted Cam Newton first overall. Wait….did you already know that? Be honest.


Gabe Carimi got a text from Jay Cutler last night. (Trying to think of a quick bridge to a Brett Favre joke…..thinking….thinking…….thinking………darn it. Anyone have anything?)


The Browns’ first-round selection wasn’t the only public reading Peyton Hillis did Thursday. The Madden cover boy also took care of the Top 10 List on Letterman. (Topic was top10 perks to being on the cover of Madden ’12. Number eight:, Hillis said, “It gets my name out there. Even I have never heard of me.”)


Could the Dolphins be looking at Colin Kaepernick in Round 2? (If so, would their tendency of picking quarterbacks in the second round be considered an addiction?)


Brandon Marshall is visiting the Dolphins facility, which is good news considering where he was a week ago.


A pitch for an entire San Diego sports complex could be part of the Chargers’ efforts to get a new stadium.


Just because the Raiders had no picks Thursday doesn’t mean their war room wasn’t busy.


Roger Goodell doesn’t blame the fans for booing him.

Justin Tuck on Rex Ryan: “The last time I checked, I have a Super Bowl ring and he doesn't, so if he's proud of coming up short, I guess he should be proud of that." (Ryan actually earned a ring as the D-line coach for the 2000 Ravens.)

 
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Posted on: April 29, 2011 9:23 am
Edited on: April 29, 2011 9:35 am
 

Clausen shows up to work early Friday morning

Posted by Andy BenoitJ. Clausen

NFL Players are returning to work Friday morning. One of the first to show up at his team’s facility was Jimmy Clausen in Carolina.
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Sam Wyche of NFL.com reports that the Panthers had a voluntarily team meeting at 8:45 a.m. Clausen arrived at the team’s facility at 7:25.

Wyche asked Clausen the obvious question: what does he think of the Cam Newton selection?

"They've got to do what they got to do," Clausen said.

It will be interesting to see how Clausen and Newton jive when the two start working out and practicing together. As Joe Fortenbaugh of National Football Post points out, Clausen currently wears number 2 -- Newton's number at Auburn. Generally, rookies purchase their numbers from veterans. But how would it look for Clausen to sell to the man brought in to replace him so soon?

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Posted on: April 29, 2011 12:20 am
Edited on: April 29, 2011 3:19 am
 

How do rich get richer? The poor reach for QB's

Posted by Will Brinson

NEW YORK -- You wanna know how the rich keep getting richer? The poor keep reaching for quarterbacks, that's how.

In one of the strangest drags in recent history, four potentially disastrous quarterbacks went in the top-15 picks, as Cam Newton (1), Jake Locker (8), Blaine Gabbert (10) and Christian Ponder (12) were all of the board before we got halfway through the first round.


The fact that quarterbacks went early isn't shocking, because right now the league is quarterback-needy as hell. Lots of people projected a pile of signal-callers coming off respective big boards throughout the first round.

But by pulling trigger on some questionable quarterbacks so early in the draft, a bunch of teams -- who were drafting early for a reason -- ended up allowing a ton of top tier talent to fall down to a bunch of teams who were drafting -- you guessed it -- late for a reason.

The Colts (Anthony Castonzo), the Saints (Cameron Jordan and then Mark Ingram), the Giants (Prince Amukamara) and a number of other teams ended up hitting home runs with their first-round picks because teams who needed quarterbacks couldn't, for lack of a better phrase, keep it in their pants.

Look, the trio of Gabbert/Ponder/Locker could end up working out for these teams. Ponder's NFL-ready and could be an immediate benefit for the Vikings, while Gabbert and Locker have veterans -- David Garrard and Kerry Collins, respectively -- in front of them and will get a year or two to learn and get prepped to take over.

They could certainly end up being successful quarterbacks in the NFL, but they could also certainly be busts.

But the reason why they went so early isn't because they're guaranteed to be big-time successes in the NFL. They went early because 1) teams were limited in maneuvering because of the labor situation and, more importantly, 2) failed to recognize that in this draft, depth was present at positions that are not named quarterback.

There were certainly "lots of quarterbacks" but that has nothing to do with there being "significant depth at the position."

It's something that you expect general managers and the people who run teams to recognize. But for whatever reason, in this draft, they didn't.

Which is why we shouldn't be too shocked if we see a similar draft order in the first round of 2012 as we saw on Thursday night.

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Posted on: April 28, 2011 5:32 pm
 

Newton to Carolina '99.9 percent' likely?

Posted by Andy Benoit

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We’ll know soon enough, but in case you can’t wait, we have a Cam Newton rumor to pass along. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen says a source tells him it’s 99.9 percent likely that the Panthers will draft the Auburn quarterback No. 1 overall.

One positive side effect of the lockout is that there has at least been some mystery surrounding the No. 1 pick. Last year, the Rams negotiated a contract with Sam Bradford well before Draft Day. The Lions did the same with Matthew Stafford in ’09, and the Dolphins did the same with Jake Long in ’08. But with the lockout in effect, the Panthers would not have been able to hash out an agreement with Newton even if they’d wanted to.

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Posted on: April 28, 2011 9:59 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 11:31 am
 

Green, Peterson would take less money at No. 1

Posted by Will Brinson

NEW YORK -- Being the No. 1 overall draft pick entails a lot of expectations. It also entails a lot of cash and a pretty big signing bonus.

Interestingly, two of the top choices in play for Carolina at No. 1 -- A.J. Green and Patrick Peterson -- both said that they would take less money to be picked at the top of the draft.

"Oh yeah," Peterson told CBSSports.com. "Being No. 1 -- that means a lot. A cornerback's never done that before."

Green agreed, though he obviously wouldn't be the first wide receiver taken at the top of the draft.

"Oh, definitely," Green said while speaking before his workout at the Gatorade Sports Science Lab. "It doesn't matter. Whatever it takes."

It's a pretty fascinating question (and, um, why I asked it, right?), because being taken in the No. 1 slot of the NFL Draft means that you're in the history books forever, be it for better or for worse.

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There would be substantially more pressure on Green, as an offensive player, because his stats can't ever be chalked up to "they won't throw his way" or any of the rationales sometimes applied to the success of cornerbacks.

That's not knocking Peterson, who clearly understands the impact and importance that being taken No. 1 would involve; the scrutiny on him as the only cornerback taken with the first pick would most certainly be intense.

But, by all accounts, he seemed ready to deal with whatever comes with being the first guy off the board.

And while both guys, if they're taken first, will almost inevitably be compared to Cam Newton for the rest of their careers, it probably behooves the Panthers to consider whether or not they could pull off an even bigger discount by making an unorthodox choice at the top of the draft.

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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