Panther Paw Prints: Pro Bowl Edition

In case you are like me and just realized yesterday that the Pro Bowl is actually being played BEFORE the Super Bowl this year...now you know. It's this Sunday. There's a few more changes as well. For the first time since I can remember the game is not being played in Hawaii. It is instead being held in Miami, FL. But is that all the change that is needed to revive this at best ho-hum game?

Fixing The Pro Bowl: Can It Be Done? - SB Nation
The Pro Bowl has a fundamental flaw that is unlikely to be overcome. It's a problem the NBA and MLB don't really face when putting on their mid-season classics. Football is by nature a very violent sport. When that intensity-level is missing, the very soul of the game is missing. Because of injury concerns, the Pro Bowl is a shell of a football game that even has certain rules inserted to further erode the "real game" feel, all because of injury concerns. You can play a basketball or baseball game at 85% intensity and the final product still holds together and can create the kind of excitement we crave in our sports. The Pro Bowl simply can't match that.

I like the idea of a NFC versus AFC skills competition. I think I would tune that in...We've talked a lot already about the possibility of Panthers DE Julius Peppers being involved in a sign and trade deal. Well due to the potentially uncapped season there are eight teams that will find making a deal for a player like Peppers virtually impossible:

- MASNsports.com
The Final Eight Plan will affect the eight teams that made it to the Divisional Round of the playoffs this season (hence the name) and is intended to reduce the ability of the rich to get richer in an uncapped year. There are even more restrictions on the four teams that made the AFC and NFC Championship games, but since we're worried about the Ravens here, I'll give some bullet points on how the final eight teams will be affected.

Let's add one more team that is a possible destination for Peppers:

"The Future of the Washington Redskins" | Bleacher Report
On the defensive side of the ball this team needs more depth and possibly a pass rusher, on the defensive line. I know everyone will be going after Julius Peppers, if he doesn’t resign with Carolina, but here are two other, possible free agent candidates : Elvis Dumervil, Denver Broncos, (15 sacks), and Ray Edwards, Minnesota Vikings,( 6.5 sacks).

Has the genius that is Bill Bilicheck lost it's mojo? Even the Patriots faithful are questioning his shunning of Peppers last season.

Here’s why Pats are just watching - NashuaTelegraph.com
We thought Belichick was on the right track last year when it was rumored he was going after Julius Peppers. Then not only did he not make a move on Peppers, he dumped Seymour.

Straight from the 'Say What?' category:

Offseason Outlooks: Carolina Panthers - Bill Bender - Fantasy Source Blitz - Sporting News
Smith likely will fall to WR2 status in 2010, and it's up to the owner to take that leap of faith. You'll have to be a big believer in Moore to make that investment in Smith.

Fall to #2 WR status? 89? Have you read the NFL Rules & Regulations? I don't think so...

Speaking of 89, he gets dissed again to a degree in this Top 5 list. Though I agree Jon Beason was a great draft pick, getting 'the playmaker' in the 3rd round is the best of the decade in my view

No. 2: Steve Smith | Draft Day: Carolina Panthers' Five Best Selections | Bleacher Report
Those touchdowns were simply a sign of things to come. Eight seasons into his career he has taken four total punts, and those two kickoffs back for touchdowns, on top of two rushing touchdowns and 50 receiving touchdowns bringing his career total to 58.

If you've never seen a Big Nick video check out his season wrap up where he gives a shout out to CSR regarding the Chris Harris Haiti effort.

YouTube - Bignick2700's Channel
Big Nick gives CSR a shout out in his season finale video. Nick makes some good points on the Fox and Peppers offseason situations. Keep pounding Nick...don't wait too long get back on the Tube!

Keeping pounding Big Nick and please don't wait too long before getting back on the Tube....Two 1,100 yard backs? I'm still amazed the Panthers did that yet still went only 8-8.

Year in review: RBs and FBs
Granted, that circumstance transpired largely because DeAngelo Williams spent most of the season's last six weeks grappling with an ankle injury that ultimately ended his year in the first quarter of the 26-7 win over Minnesota in Week 15. But Jonathan Stewart responded to the burden at the end of the season, notching with three consecutive 100-yard games and a franchise-record 206 yards in Week 16 against the New York Giants.

The Panthers will enter the 2010 season with probably the best #2 QB in the NFC and I say that with all seriousness.

Delhomme likely to open as No. 2 QB? - NFL- nbcsports.msnbc.com
The Charlotte Observer's Scott Fowler expects Jake Delhomme to enter Panthers training camp in 2010 as the team's No. 2 quarterback. Delhomme's 4-7 record in 2009, compared to Matt Moore's 4-1, is probably enough for Moore to take first-team reps throughout the offseason. Despite his declining physical skills and age (35), Delhomme will be on the roster.

I can see Jake coming off the bench and sparking the offense at some point....on our way the SB. But it won't be our QB that gets us there, it will be the return to the stout Panther defenses of the past:

Saints seeking first trip to Super Bowl; NFL kickers had bad year - Don Banks - SI.com
Anyone else sensing something of a trend here? The 2005 Steelers were a defensively-led No. 6 seed that went on the road to win the Super Bowl, having knocked off the No. 1 seeded Colts in the divisional round. The 2007 Giants were a defensively-led No. 5 seed that went on the road to win the Super Bowl, having knocked off the No. 1 seeded Cowboys in the divisional round.

Give me a #6 seed next season I don't care. The rest will take care of itself.

Hey, if you haven't done it yet give $10 to the Haiti earthquake relief via the Red Cross per Panthers SS Chris Harris post here.


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