Panthers Paw Prints: Unanswered Questions

Panthers Paw Prints

Good Wednesday afternoon, Carolina Panthers fans. I've got quite a few links for you today. There were actually so many I had to leave a few out (particularly redundant posts about the Brandon LaFell signing).My favorite link of the day is probably the one below the jump from bloggingtheboys.com, but my favorite Panthers' link is the one by Steve Reed about ten burning questions heading into training camp. The Panthers seem like they are creating more questions than answering them this offseason. I trust the leadership of Richardson, Hurney, Fox, but there really are a lot of question marks in key areas on this team. If you're new to the site, don't forget to get involved in the conversation below the jump. What are your thoughts? Here are your links for Wednesday July 21, 2010:

 

There really are quite a few unanswered questions for the Panthers heading into 2010:

Ten burning questions with training camp a week away. (CarolinaGrowl.com)
4. Is this Fox’s last season in Carolina? Ever since owner Jerry Richardson decided against giving Fox a long-term contract extension I’ve felt like this year would be his last here in Carolina. And, for what it’s worth, a long-time team employee recently told me there’s "a 100 percent chance" Fox will be gone. But the Panthers will get Fox’s best for sure. After all, if the team has a big season and makes a run in the playoffs – especially given how young they are – he can write his own check next year and could bolt for a bigger market. Teams can’t use the franchise tag on coaches.

More after the jump.

Here are a couple more LaFell signing articles:

Panthers sign 3rd-round pick LaFell. (CharlotteObserver.com)
The third-round pick (78th overall) from LSU signed a four-year deal with a base value of $2.61 million, which included a signing bonus just short of $819,000.

WR LaFell signed. (Panthers.com)
LaFell now officially belongs after signing on the dotted line Tuesday. A third-round pick out of Louisiana State (78th overall), LaFell became the ninth of the Panthers' 10 draft choices to sign as the July 28 start to training camp creeps closer. Quarterback Jimmy Clausen, a second-round selection (the Panthers didn't have a first-rounder) is the lone remaining unsigned draftee.

I think this sounds like a real possibility in the next couple years for the Panthers if Fox isn't around:

Camping at home an NFC South trend. (ESPN.com)
The Saints and the Buccaneers joined what’s been a growing trend in the NFL over the last decade when they moved their camps to their home base last year. According to the NFL, 17 of 32 teams (53 percent) will train at their regular practice facility this summer.

The wording makes it sound like he might have an inside line on this topic. I know he hangs around the Bucs' headquarters quite a bit. Hoover in silver and red in 2010? Just speculation:

Random NFC South thoughts. (ESPN.com)
One player we haven’t heard much about in months is fullback Brad Hoover, who was released in Carolina’s purge early in the offseason. Hoover said at the time he wanted to continue playing. This is a guy who might have a little left in the tank and he’s a great locker room guy. It might only be in a backup role, but I think you might see Hoover sign with a team soon and it could be a team in the NFC South.

Darin Gantt stopped by both the Mac Attack and Primetime with the Packman to talk Panthers:

Mac Attack Hour 3 7/19. (WFNZ.com)
In hour 3 today we talked with Darrin Gantt of the Rock Hill Herald.

Primetime Hour 2 Tuesday. (WFNZ.com)
We have Darrin Gantt on to talk about the Panthers upcoming training camp.

Another Panthers.com position preview video:

Video Gallery: Camp Preview: Wide Receivers. (Panthers.com)
Camp Preview: Wide Receivers

OK, so if there is a single team in the NFL that I really can't stand, it's the Cowboys - or more importantly most of the Cowboys' fanbase. I went over to bloggingtheboys.com based on the recommendation of a follower on twitter and found this article, which makes an excellent point and is really well written. He sums up my feelings exactly on the topic of "team chemistry."

Measuring the Immeasurable: Team Chemistry. (BloggingTheBoys.com)
I cringed because I do that every time I read 'team chemistry' somewhere. Why? Because it's a one-size-fits-all argument that is often liberally tossed around, sounds good as a sound bite and suggests an insider understanding of team dynamics, but is a simplistic concept at best and rarely fully understood... Jerry Jones is on record saying he firmly believes team chemistry is a by-product of the team's success, directly correlated to the number of wins in a season: "I've experienced locker rooms that look dysfunctional on the face of it and won world championships. In a pecking order of important things about your team, that is very low on the list", or as John Madden more eloquently phrased it: "Winning is a great deodorant." It covers up the stink but - but it doesn't remove it. So who's right? And does team chemistry have anything to do with performance?

This article is written by Chris Harris at ESPN. He used to be my favorite fantasy writer at Yahoo.com, but he switched to ESPN about a year ago. Here's his case for why more complex statistics should be used to rate NFL players. I think it's an excellent article (despite the use of profootballfocus.com statistics):

Football statistics that help determine fantasy football sleepers and busts. (ESPN.com)
My job in this column isn't to regurgitate the good work that sites such as FootballOutsiders.com, ProFootballFocus.com and others do, and you should read them for smart, sophisticated analysis of what they chart on a play-by-play basis. Instead, I want to lobby for metrics that don't necessarily come from charting every play, and are often available to anyone with an Internet connection and an Excel spreadsheet. And I also hope to help push the boulder uphill, so that some of these statistics become more prevalent everywhere. Here, then, are nine football stats we can all use to evaluate players at a deeper level, to help us discover value in the NFL and fantasy football... You can't use this set of "after contact" lists as absolute indicators of success or failure, certainly, but I'll tell you which backs got my positive attention after sifting through past results: Justin Forsett, Fred Jackson and Jonathan Stewart. I'm a bit more impressed by them now.

Not Panthers-specific news, but the NFL will be having more mandatory rules about pads for 2011 (if there's a 2011 season):

NFL anticipates mandating that players wear more pads. (ProFootballTalk.com)
Currently NFL rules require only helmets and shoulder pads, but the league says more mandatory padding would make the game safer. The comments from both Anderson and Leber are an interesting reminder of the reality that in the NFL, sometimes the labor force doesn't want management to push for a safer work environment.

 

 

Tweets of the day:

I thought this was pretty funny so I had to share it:

0.0, unless Matt Moore get ... (Darin Gantt via Twitter)
0.0, unless Matt Moore gets hit by bus. RT @edthesportsfan What's the percentage chance that Claussen starts the first game of the season?

Matt, look out. (Darin Gantt via Twitter)
Matt, look out. RT @bengoodfella Great, now you have convinced some Panthers fans to go rent a bus & drive around looking for Matt Moore.

Fantasy football links of the day:

Here's a couple of fantasy outlooks for Dwayne Jarrett and Jonathan Stewart from fftoolbox.com:

Dwayne Jarrett is the 2nd WR for Carolina. For now... (FFToolbox.com)
Fantasy Analysis: Even if Jarrett remains at the #2 spot, his fantasy prospects really are not too high anyway. The Carolina Panthers passing game is not the most attractive of passing offenses to select fantasy players from. Carolina had the 2nd most rushing attempts last year. (2nd only to the New York Jets) This year is not shaping up to be any different. Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart could both easily finish the season with 1000+ yards.

Jonathan Stewart's Achilles is back to 100 percent. (FFToolbox.com)
Fantasy Analysis: Stewart is one of the most valuable backups in fantasy football. Due to Carolina's run-first, ball-control offense, there are plenty of rushing attempts to go around. In 2009, the Panthers rushed the ball 525 times. Stewart had 221 carries and starter DeAngelo Williams had 216. Williams had fewer carries since he missed a few games due to injury. Stewart looks to be a top 20 RB (we here at FFToolbox have him ranked 19th) and likely to be selected in the first three rounds of your draft.

Here's a seriously long fantasy article (that I agree with parts and disagree with parts):

Matthew Berry's sleepers and busts for the 2010 fantasy football season. (ESPN.com)
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers: Did you know that Jonathan is the son of beloved actor and American icon Jimmy Stewart? You don't, but that's only because it's untrue. Just like the fact a "backup" running back isn't a viable fantasy starter. From Week 6 to Week 10, The Daily Show and DeAngelo Williams put up double-digit performances in the same week three times. Stewart went on to be the lead rusher in four of the final five Panthers games due to Williams' injury, and that contributed to Stewart's double-digit points in seven of his final 10 games. To give you a comparison, Adrian Peterson had only four in his final 10. Now sure, 10 games is an arbitrary point to pick and DeAngelo Williams missing four of those games helps, fine. But if you're gonna nitpick, we'll be here all day. Look, I understand the doubters. In addition to Williams being around, Stewart has health issues. But frankly, every running back does, and as we note in our ESPN Fantasy Magazine, when the Panthers were inside an opponent's 10-yard line, they ran it 67 percent of the time, third most in the NFL. And who led the team in goal-line touches? Exactly. Stewart became the player we all thought he could be last year and the way the Panthers run the rock, there's more than enough fantasy goodness to go around.

The Rams' Steven Jackson has been in the top tier of fantasy running backs for years, find out why he probably shouldn't be included there this year:

Offseason Low Down: S-Jax's Caution Flags. (Rotoworld.com)
Steven Jackson is easily among the five best running backs in football. He's simultaneously one of the most physical runners around and also one of the best receivers out of the backfield. He is not part of any kind of committee and you've never even heard of his backups. He turns just 27 on Thursday. Well, happy birthday Stevie -- you won't be on any of my teams this season. Here's why:

Michael Fabiano is the resident fantasy expert at NFL.com. Here's his live chat transcript:

NFL Live Chat: Fantasy Focus (NFL.com)

Dustin, South Carolina - What are the chances that T.O. goes to Carolina?

Michael Fabiano, NFL.com - He'd be a good fit from a football perspective, but I'm not sure the Panthers want someone like T.O. in their locker room.

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