Good Friday morning, Carolina Panthers fans. I've got a ton of links today. I guess Muhsin decided he didn't want to wait all summer for a phone call that might not come. Yesterday he announced his retirement from football and received a proper send off by the Panthers. His production doesn't show the whole story. He was a key piece in this team's offense for years, and his shoes will be tough to fill. It would have been nice to see him stick around for one more year to help coach up these young rookies, but that doesn't fit the new youth movement the Panthers are going for. Too bad Brad Hoover didn't decide to go this route. I'd have liked to see him get some time in the spotlight too. Here are your links for Friday June 11, 2010:
The official announcement on the Panthers' website:
Muhammad announces retirement. (Panthers.com)
"It's been a true honor and a pleasure playing in this city, serving this community and having fun, just flat out fun. Even in the bad times, I had fun entertaining and I had fun serving this community," Muhammad said. "My fans have supported me here. This city, this state has supported me from the day I walked through the door. I thought it was the least I could do to support the things that help the communities. It's been a great ride. It's been a lot of fun."
Here's some highlights of Muhammad's 15 year career:
Video Gallery: Muhsin Muhammad Tribute (Panthers.com)
Highlights from the WR's career.
More after the jump.
Here's a video of the press conference to announce his retirement:
Video Gallery: Muhsin Muhammad Presser. (Panthers.com)
WR announces retirement.
An article by Steve Reed about Muhammad's time with the Panthers and why he decided to hang it up:
Muhammad: I'm fulfilled, at peace with my decision to retire. (CarolinaGrowl.com)
Muhammad, who is already running an equity firm called Axum and has broadcasting career aspirations, officially announced his retirement on Thursday at a press conference at Bank of America Stadium. "I've done everything I could possibly do in an NFL career for 14 years, outside of actually winning a championship ring," Muhammad said. "I've played in two Super Bowls, I have Super Bowl records and I've done a lot of good things throughout my career. I'm full, I'm fulfilled. I'm at peace with my decision."
A different take from the Panthers' website:
Muhammad connected. (Panthers.com)
In Arabic, Muhsin means charitable and one who does good deeds. Just as he performed at a high level on the field, Muhammad connected in the community and continues to do many good deeds off the field. He visited schools and participated in many other of the team's community projects. In addition, Muhammad started the M2 Foundation For Kids, which is dedicated to enhancing the education, physical and spiritual development of children. His love for children is an extension of his family. He and his wife, Christa, have six children - including two siblings that they adopted from Ethiopia.
An article from NFL.com on Muhammad:
'I'm fulfilled': Panthers WR Muhammad leaves NFL after 14 seasons. (NFL.com)
Muhammad became a veteran influence in the locker room, Carolina's union representative, active in the community, and he still was one of the game's best blocking receivers."A guy I knew I could count on in tough times," Fox said. "I knew he'd keep a level head even in good times, would grab guys by the throat in the tough times. Moose did all of those things." But the Panthers didn't make an effort to sign the receiver this offseason as they shed numerous veterans, including Delhomme. "They just told me that they're doing something different now," Muhammad said. "They're going younger, they're rebuilding and that kind of stuff."
A video of reactions to the retirement presser:
Video Gallery: Muhsin Muhammad Reaction (Panthers.com)
Richard Williamson, Steve Beuerlein and Muhsin Muhammad.
Q&A with Muhammad from the Panthers' website:
Muhsin Muhammad Q&A. (Panthers.com)
On what he will miss the most: Probably the practices every day. Games are fun, and, obviously, I'm going to miss the games. But the silly things that happen in practice every day, the practical jokes we play on each other, the camaraderie amongst your teammates, your coaches. Those are the types of things that you really miss. Those things made the decision hard.
Final Muhsin Muhammad link of the day comes from Pat Yasinskas who seems to have trouble finding nice things to say:
Muhsin Muhammad to hang it up. (ESPN.com)
Muhammad's legacy isn't spectacular, but it's very good. He was a great blocker for a wide receiver. He wasn't particularly fast, but he ran good routes and had good hands. Most of all, he's been the only receiver Carolina has ever had who peacefully co-existed with the mercurial Steve Smith. That alone was an accomplishment, and a lot of people within the organization will tell you Muhammad was a positive influence on Smith.
Get your questions in now:
NFC South chat Friday at 1 p.m. (ESPN.com)
Just a quick note to let you know the NFC South chat will be held Friday at 1 p.m. ET. Bring your questions and here is the link to join us.
This is one of the two main options they are exploring for the linebackers:
Panthers explore possibility of moving Beason to weakside linebacker. (CarolinaGrowl.com)
Beason said he has complete confidence that Connor will do well at middle linebacker if he moves outside. "It was always a chance with Thomas going down, even last year, that Dan could come in and play the Mike," Beason said. "That’s a tribute to him. He’s a solid football player with great technique. That’s the way we’re working right now, but that’s because he can do it. I look forward to him making plays." However, Beason admitted it’s tough as a whole to replace Davis, who is faster and more athletic than most of the defensive backs on the current roster. He called Davis "the best in the NFL" at his position.
NFL.com article about the linebacking corps:
Beason takes reps at injured LB Davis' old spot for Panthers. (NFL.com)
"My number one goal is to win," Beason said. "If that's something the coaches want me to do (move positions), then I will do it to the best of my ability." Another option for the Panthers is to keep Beason and Anderson in place and promote Jamar Williams to starting weakside linebacker. A five-year veteran, Williams was acquired in April from the Chicago Bears for safety Chris Harris. The Bears deemed Williams expendable because he was playing behind five-time Pro Bowl pick Lance Briggs. "He's a leader, he's accountable and he's making a lot of plays," Beason said of Williams. "He looks great in shorts. Now we'll get a chance to see how he looks in pads."
Jamar Williams may be able to step right into Davis' spot without interrupting everyone else:
Panthers after Davis injury: 'There's nobody to come save us.' (CharlotteObserver.com)
Trade acquisition Jamar Williams could also play the weakside, which would allow Beason and Anderson to stay put. And while Anderson may not be best suited, (he’s not as fluid as Beason or Davis), he’s at least played the spot before with acceptable results. But beyond those four, the Panthers have more projects than prospects, and the next week of OTAs and month of training camp will be spent sorting them out.
More on Jamar Williams (I'm actually kind of psyched about the guy):
On the radar: Jamar Williams. (ESPN.com)
He’s only 25, but Williams spent four seasons with the Bears. He has started only three games in his career, but he was the top backup to Lance Briggs and got a lot of playing time, making 43 tackles. At 6-foot and 237 pounds, Williams fits Carolina’s profile of linebackers who aren’t huge, but can run. Williams has shown the ability to cover tight ends and running backs in the passing game. He may not be a playmaker like Davis, but Williams remains a bit of an unknown and there could be an upside. Briggs prevented Williams from really getting a chance in Chicago.
Foxhole: Panthers have options to replace Davis. (Panthers.com)
On how much closer linebackers like James Anderson and Dan Connor are to being trusted regulars: First of all, my heart goes out to Thomas, because going through that, personally, it's hard. So I'm disappointed for him. I'm not sure you replace a guy quite of his abilities but I thought we had some guys step in last year and do a good job. James, you mentioned. We've got some different faces, also, this year. But I feel good about some of the guys we have and being able to step in and get the job done.
t would be nice if there were a poll attached, but you can submit your responses directly to Pat:
Time to weigh in: Best coach in history? (ESPN.com)
Stephen in Houma, La., writes: I’ve seen the question who is the best coach of all time -- Bill Belichick or Bill Parcells? How about an article on the best NFC South coach of all time -- Sean Payton or Jon Gruden? Would you add Jim Mora to that list or is there anyone else I'm missing? The coach that led Atlanta to its first Super Bowl? All right, the coach that led Atlanta to its Super Bowl berth was Dan Reeves and he at least belongs in the argument. Let’s set some parameters here. The NFC South didn’t come into existence until 2002, but let’s leave this open to all coaches who ran a team that now is in the NFC South.
Tyrell Sutton getting ready to lose his mind (corny, I know):
Me n the Charlotte knights mascot. (Tyrell Sutton via Twitter)
Me n the Charlotte knights mascot
For those of you that are like me and don't know a whole lot about special teams, here is an in-depth article from another SBNation blog:
Football University: Special Teams. (NinersNation.com)
Even when the average fan pays attention to special teams it's generally to the skill positions--kicker, punter, holder, returner, and maybe the long snapper. Most fans don't pay much attention to the rest of the unit on the field. My goal is to correct that with this post on the special teams.
Fantasy football links of the day:
A pretty good article on who to target and who to avoid based on ADP (average draft position):
Average Draft Position: early observations. (KFFL.com)
Andre Johnson (No. 7), Randy Moss (No. 10) and Larry Fitzgerald (No. 12) I love all three of these receivers, but this is just a matter of strategy and beliefs. I believe you do need a stud receiver, but the first round should be about finding the running back that is seeing the most touches and best exploits your scoring rules. Why? Because there are more starting receivers than there are starting running backs who are not in a time-share... I would probably take Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (No. 14) and either Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (No. 11) or New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (No. 13). Possibly even Cincinnati Bengals RB Cedric Benson (No. 16), though I will be the first to say that’s a reach.
Another guy high on LaFell in his rookie season:
2010 Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings - Wide Receivers - Bruno Boys Fantasy Football
4. Brandon LaFell, WR, Carolina Panthers: Talk about things going perfect for the Carolina Panthers on draft day. First, it was Jimmy Clausen falling to the second round, and then a solid pass catcher like LaFell slipping into the third round to pair the two for a number of years to come. There is no reason why LaFell couldn’t have an impact in his rookie season. The Panthers have been in need of a number two wide receiver to Steve Smith for years, and Dwayne Jarrett has not been the answer. Expect LaFell to beat Jarrett out in training camp and be a starter from Week 1 on. The only real question around LaFell is his top end speed and whether he can run deep routes. The great thing is that Smith has that ability to go deep, meaning LaFell can do what he does best and that is catching the ball in traffic. He has soft hands and nice height, meaning not only will he make touch catches over the middle, but he will also make plays in the red zone. That could lead to solid fantasy production (especially in PPR leagues) even in a run oriented offense.
So the 2010 Yahoo Fantasy Football website is up. I entered into a 10 team non-PPR "competetive" league with an autopick draft. Here's the players I drafted. (Note one team clearly had no clue. Also I didn't draft a kicker, but I plan to drop someone like Winslow and pick up someone like Feely).
Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football - Draft Results. (Yahoo.com)
1. (3) Maurice Jones-Drew 2. (18) Aaron Rodgers 3. (23) DeSean Jackson 4. (38) Joseph Addai 5. (43) Antonio Gates 6. (58) Hines Ward 7. (63) Donald Driver 8. (78) Philadelphia 9. (83) Knowshon Moreno 10. (98) Brett Favre 11. (103) Wes Welker 12. (118) Kenny Britt 13. (123) Kellen Winslow 14. (138) Dallas 15. (143) Marion Barber