Panther Paw Prints: Shiny Hood Ornament Edition

via assets.sbnation.com

I've got a plethora of Paw Prints for you today as we move into offseason mode. Let's start with a little jab at our NFC South brethern who saw their season end one short week after ours.

SI's Kenny Byrne posts regarding the post-season analysis of the Falcons trade up for Julio Jones last draft. He adds a little humor to it by calling his draft axiom the 'Shiny Hood Ornament' Man Law. That is, WR's get over-valued by fans and some teams on draft day but in the end they don't make your engine (team) run any better, they just look good on the hood:

Costly Julio Jones trade came back to bite Atlanta Falcons in playoffs - Kerry J. Byrne - SI.com

The stupidity of the decision came crashing down on the Falcons for all of Football Nation to see on Sunday: the Atlanta passing game was a disaster, the Falcons were shut out, the offensive line was overmatched and its receivers were no-shows. Here's what we said Sunday in our Falcons-Giants grades on SI.com: "Atlanta's star-studded pass-catching corps of Jones, Roddy White and future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez were non-factors, unable to get separation. They combined for 16 ineffective catches for 160 yards. Decent numbers, but zero game-changing plays for such a high-profile trio"

So who else buys into the Shiny Hood Ornament Man Law? It does make sense and you can find other examples of a WR not making the expected impact. Look at how Smitty dropped off in 2010 but now we see it really had nothing to do with him.

Moving on before I beat that dead horse yet again, here's why I don't think Chud will end up in Miami:

."Miami Dolphins find pickings slim for coach if Fisher eludes them - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

Rob Chudzinski: The Dolphins interviewed the former Miami Hurricanes tight end for their offensive coordinator position a year ago. They ended up with Brian Daboll, while Chudzinski took the same post with Carolina and directed an offense led by rookie quarterback Cam Newton, who threw for 4,051 yards this season. The Panthers set a franchise record with 6,237 yards, which has already earned Chudzinski an interview for the head job in Jacksonville. A side note" His quarterbacks coach in Carolina was Mike Shula.

They turned him down just last year. I would still have the taste of that in my mouth if it were me.

Here's something that made me laugh. Just when you thought the Tebow-hype couldn't get any more outrageous, we get this. This guy says that Tebow is not only a better athlete than Cam Newton, he's the best athlete in the NFL:

"Tim Tebow, Best Athlete in the NFL? | NFL | Denver Broncos

To start off, Tebow is arguably the best scrambler at his position. The only starting quarterback who possesses a similar power and speed combination as Tebow is Cam Newton. Newton is bigger in stature (six-five, 248 lbs. compared to Tebow’s six-three, 236) and had a faster 40-time, yet doesn’t possess the ability to shed defensive linemen and linebackers the way Tebow does. I’d say Tebow is stronger in that regard, as he is essentially a running back when decides to take off.

You read it, he really said that. I'm not going to dignify that with a response! Until after the jump anyway...

You have got to be effin kidding me...Tebow is better at shedding tacklers and that makes him a better athlete? Please disregard the fact Newton is faster, jumps higher, throws harder and further and has better throwing accuracy. Now I really want Tebow to lose this weekend even it it means Tom Brady instead gets to the SB.

Here's a mock draft that has CB Morris Claiborne falling to us:

NFL mock draft: Colts lock in on Luck; Browns turn to Heisman winner Griffin - NFL - Sporting News

8. (Tie) Carolina Panthers: Morris Claiborne*, CB, LSU. The Panthers' defense was terrible in 2011. Claiborne, with his big-play ability, would provide an immediate upgrade at corner.

I don't think Goodell would get this whole sentence out of his mouth: "The Carolina Panthers are on the cl...oh, the Panthers pick is in!". Mo-Claire come on down and put on this Panther hat!

Here's a piece comparing Tebow's media coverage to that of John Kasay, who has also been well known to wear his religion on his sleeve:

Let the man pray, already | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper

Kasay never tried to convert me, and there's no evidence Tebow proselytizes. That would offend me because it implies somebody knows the one true way. I'm at the age where I can search for one all by myself.

I guess that's the difference between winning the national championship and the Heisman and going to UGA....hee hee.

Here's more from Derek Anderson on his role as mentor for Cam Newton this past season:

Anderson shares in Newton's success

"I think I did some good things as far as my role, helping this team every week where I could, from trying to get the defense ready to helping Cam out," Anderson said. "I enjoyed the season for the first time in a while. Obviously, winning more games would have made it even more enjoyable, but I really enjoyed it.

I would put signing Anderson to back-up Newton as one of our better moves of last offseason. I say let's keep him around.

Here's some Rams fans dreaming of a draft pick 'bonanza' for that #2 overall:

2012 NFL Mock Draft: Robert Griffin III Is Going Pro, Let The Trade Talk Begin - Turf Show Times

While his decision to enter the draft comes as no surprise, it makes official the possibility that the Rams can swap their second pick to one of those teams in need of a quarterback in a move that would fetch a bonanza of additional draft picks, an instant turnaround, just add water.

I'm not feeling it as the only team that would have enough trade bait to get up that far is the Redskins. I bet they instead go free agent. I'm not seeing the Dolphins doing ti either but I guess it depends on who their HC ends up being.

Her's a guy giving a crazy early look at fantasy values for next season. After a quick look at his top 20 I would say to anyone that asked I would rather use Autopick before this guys rankings:

Matthew Berry's early 2012 fantasy football rankings - Fantasy Football - ESPN

13. Cam Newton, QB -- I expect the rushing touchdowns to come down, but still. Imagine when he has a full training camp.

Maybe Newton won't match his 14 rushing TDs but conversely his passing numbers in both yards and TDs should climb. I would have him ion my top 5 since after all he was the #3 scorer overall in 2011 (Yahoo Sports). BTW, in the process of verifying that info I saw that Newton's 2011 preseason fantasy ranking in Yahoo Sports was #199. Boy did everybody miss on him (except Bo Jackson).

Speaking of having to eat a little crow on Newton, any draft pundit evaluating last year's draft grades will most likely be raising their Panthers evaluation. For example, the silver badger himself Mel Kiper revised his Panthers draft grade:

Looking back at 2011 NFL draft - NFC South Blog - ESPN

After the draft, Kiper gave the Carolina Panthers a C. Now, he’s giving them an A-. That sounds pretty accurate because No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton certainly proved he’s a franchise quarterback.

I'm not sure what the minus is based on but I have to agree with the A part.

Pro Football Focus isn;t buying the Andy Dalton for OROY :

The PFF All-Rookie Team - 2011 | ProFootballFocus.com

Quarterback: Cam Newton, CAR Some may prefer Andy Dalton given his team made the playoffs, but really there’s no doubting which player made the bigger positive contribution (on the field) to his team. Newton has a long way to go to become a consistent passer, but he’s as dangerous a runner from the QB position as there is with his ability to find the end zone likely to make him a difference maker for years to come

There really is no doubt...

And last but not the least funny...wait, well actually this is simply a poor attempt at humor. This is what you get when, and I'm guessing here, a non-Sports journalist tries to talk about a sport and team they know little about:

Short Stack: Food for thought, quick and over easy : News-Record.com : Greensboro & the Triad's most trusted source for local news and analysis

Football team wanted After most of its teams fared badly, or very badly, in football bowl games (one exception: Wolfpack!), the Atlantic Coast Conference should recruit the Carolina Panthers. Sure, Cam Newton & Co. aren’t winners in the National Football League yet, but they probably wouldn’t lose to West Virginia by 37 points as ACC champion Clemson did.

Yeah...a college football conference should recruit an NFL team with the inference that the Panthers aren't good enough to play at the NFL level. Ha ha I get it. Please go back to writing about sheek & shabby decor and vegetable canning tips. Leave the football talk (and humor) to us, we got it!

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