Ask Cat Scratch Reader

Thanks for the questions this week folks, we had a lot of good ones this week. Remember you can always contact us at

Will asks: 

As a British Panthers Fan i was wondering what the chances are of the Panthers coming over to the UK for one of their regular season games, especialy seeing as Cam seems to be getting a lot of media coverage?
Also i dont understand this system in the US where if the stadium is not filled the game is blacked out on TV, why is this?

I think it's only a matter of time before the Panthers make the trip across the pond. The NFL like to send marketable games over to London, even if they don't tend to pan out when the game is played. Roger Goodell has already discussed expanding the Wembley Stadium games to 2, or even 3 and if that's the case you'll see Carolina soon.

The blackouts are designed to promote ticket sales regionally. The games aren't blacked out nationwide, but just in the immediate viewing area of the team. The idea is that before fans should get to watch the game for free the seats should be filled.

Another Will asks: 

I've heard many comments insinuating that our team doesn't have good depth. Is that because our previous back-ups just weren't very good or because the guys that are here don't fit the mold that RR and company are looking for?

To the untrained eye Fua and McClain seem to be taking positive strides [...]  what's your opinion of their development?

It's a combination of factors really, but the driving force is when John Fox was attached to veterans it didn't help cultivate the youth, and when the veterans were cut you had unprepared players asked to be starters, and guys coming in off the street to be the depth- that isn't a model for success. I think Rivera and McDermott will squeeze whatever talent they can out of the players they have, but there's not a lot of talent there in terms of the guys on defense who were left.

McClain and Fua are both improving, but neither look like quality NFL starters. Both players have been very inconsistent and as it stands they seem destined to be rotational players at best.


Sibu from South Africa asks: 

I am new to the NFL, as I have grown up watching Soccer. But I have become extremely passionate about the sport, because of its complexity, statistical friendliness and its overall beauty.

A disturbing trend has started to take over the NFL, that I think will at some point kill this game after listening to Rich Eisen's Podcast with Ravens safety Ed Reed.

1. Unbalanced Pass happy offenses and running backs catching and not running ball as much. i.e our beloved Panthers.
2. Defenders being flagged for being defensive players. If a defensive player so much as looks at a QB or hits a WR, he will bet flagged for unnecessary roughness (Exaggeration) but you get the picture
3. Time wasting Video Review and draconian officiating by NFL refs (Zebras). How many TD passes have the Panthers lost due to this? 4 or 5 maybe?

I could go on James but I think these are the most concerning trends that the league is adopting, and I fear there is no end in sight.

What do you think?

1. I think the NFL is a cyclical beast and tends to be very malleable to the times. When Bill Walsh and the 49ers had success in the late 1980's with a West Coast Offense suddenly teams around the league tried to adopt it, a few years ago when the Miami Dolphins ran 40% of their plays out of the Wildcat every team copied them... in the end it all returned to the middle.

The trend in the NFL right now is pass happy offenses, and that will remain successful until teams bolster their secondaries and ignore their defensive fronts. At that time a team will be 'revolutionary' and run the ball 40 times a game. These things move in ebbs and flows.

2. The NFL are looking to find a balance right now between having explosive offenses (which sells tickets) and the sanctity of the game. As it stands I think they're pandering a little too much to the former. It might not be this year, or next year but sooner or later the NFL will cross the line and fans will be outraged. I'm not too worried about a slippery slope situation because fans talk with their wallets.

3. Honestly, I think video review on scoring plays was a good idea. While we have lost out on a play here or there, I really think when it's all said and done this will help the game and avoid mind numbingly, game altering plays that can't be challenged due to a lack of flags.

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