Panther Paw Prints: Battles of the Bads Edition

Streeter Lecka

We've got a full batch of Panther Paw Prints for you Panther fans. We start with a preview of the Panthers upcoming Monday Night match up with the Eagles courtesy of Panthers WR Steve Smith.

Smith called the game the Battle of the Bads but it was his second quote that I found more entertaining:

Inside the Panthers: Steve Smith calls Monday night matchup "battle of the bads"

The atmosphere at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field on a Monday night: "Obviously, you want to be at home. But a place like that, hopefully we'll get things going pretty good so they'll have that jail filled up in the bottom (of the stadium)."

Smith makes a good point. After six straight losses if the Panthers should somehow get a lead Eagle fans might riot in the stands.

When the game report card shows every phase performed fairly well but you still lose the blame has to roll uphill:

Carolina Panthers report card 11.18.12 | CharlotteObserver.com
F COACHING: Losing an 11-point lead with six minutes left is inexcusable and likely sealed Ron Rivera's fate. The Panthers again played not to lose with three consecutive running plays to end their final offensive possession. Freeman said the Panthers' zone was too soft on his touchdown pass to Jackson.

How many times have we seen the prevent defense instead prevent a Panther win? It's absolutely maddening. I was really hooked in the this game, thinking the Panthers had the win with only a few minutes left and an 11 point lead. They sucked me in and I paid the price.

Did you see the Panthers fake punt? I don't think it fooled anybody:

Carolina Panthers' kick units nothing special, despite change | CharlotteObserver.com
"What you would like to see is Haruki go ahead and call it off," Rivera said. "What happened was by the time the snap was made, they had sent their guy out there to defend (the pass). So rather than throw it and possibly get it intercepted, Haruki said he pulled it down and tried to get what he could."

'Oh well' is all I can say...

Something needs to be done about these BS calls:

Asked about key penalty, Panthers LB Thomas Davis won’t stay down | CharlotteObserver.com
"Listen to me, man," Davis told reporters. "It’s ridiculous how they wait and see if a guy is going to lay down on the field before they make a call. It don’t make no sense. "You can’t play defense any more because they’re looking around to see if a guy is going to lay down on the field. Clearly you can see I went in low, (my) shoulder tried to get under his shoulder then he laid down on the field and they called a penalty. It’s ridiculous. It don’t make no sense."

If a player lowers their shoulder and aims low if the WR then goes low to and they collide, how can you blame the defender? I just don't get these calls.

The Panthers are 'uncanny' as one thing:

Fowler: Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse for Carolina Panthers | CharlotteObserver.com
"What do you even say?" Panthers tight end Greg Olsen said afterward in a Carolina locker room that boiled with frustration. "For a team that’s had some tough endings, this one takes the cake. It’s obviously hard to understand and deal with. We just have an uncanny ability to not finish games."

The only thing I could say was 'I can't believe I really thought they were going to win this one.'

If you still want to catch a game this season it's a buyers market for Panther tickets:

Carolina Panthers' season has feel of inevitability | CharlotteObserver.com
I talked to a scalper on College Street before the game. He said what you’d expect: there was less interest in this one than in any home game the Panthers have played all season. Tampa Bay fans don’t travel well – not even to Tampa, Fla. Empty seats were plentiful at Bank of America Stadium Sunday and by overtime you could squeeze the remaining fans into Time Warner Cable Arena. And, no, I’m not criticizing ticket-holders. What they do with their tickets is nobody’s business but theirs.

The issue – they have to show up, they have to stay, they can’t sell them to fans of the opposition – is contrived. The Panthers have only two more home games: Atlanta on Dec. 9 and Oakland on Dec. 23. The Oakland game will be interesting. Sometimes a thing is so bad that it’s good.

The Raiders game would be a good one I'm thinking.

The Bucs game ended like so many of the other losses, just different:

Sorensen: Carolina Panthers' Ron Rivera overmatched as a head coach | CharlotteObserver.com
I asked Rivera how he’d explain Sunday’s almost inexplicable loss to a fan who hadn’t seen it. "We missed the opportunity," he says. "If we could have made something happen in the four-minute offense, gotten another first down, then game over. If we could have made a play at the end of the game, game over. But we didn’t."

The difference between winning and losing is oh so thin.

If you have been wondering why the Panthers signed Gano over Nate Kaeding this might explain it:

Carolina Panthers replace Justin Medlock with Graham Gano - ESPN
The Panthers worked out Gano and veteran Nate Kaeding, according to interim general manager Brandon Beane. Kaeding is coming off a groin injury and is eligible for free agency after the season and that may have played a role in the decision to go with Gano. "I thought Gano was the best thing for us long term, not just for the next six weeks," Beane said. As for the decision to waive Medlock, "It's a production based business and we gave Justin an opportunity. He tried his best. He's a good person but unfortunately the results weren't what we were looking for. We decided to explore a couple of guys out there. Both Gano and Kaeding kicked great and it was a tough decision."

So why does Brandon Bean think he needs make long-term decisions? Everything he does most likely will be undone by the next GM.

Finishing on a positive note, should the Panthers decide to beef up the offensive line then they might just get the best one in the draft:

2013 NFL Mock Draft: Pass rushers and offensive tackles dominate the first round - SBNation.com
Luke Joeckel is the best offensive tackle in this draft class. He has gotten better each and every time I watch him and managed to shut down some of the nation's top pass rushers. Most of the team's drafting in the top five are set at left tackle, though, so he may slip just outside of that range in this scenario.

End Paw Prints

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