Greetings Panthers fans! Here's a set of Paw Prints to get your Sunday started off in style.
The first print for today isn't really "football" related, but it's a humorous story from LB Luke Kuechly's first night in Charlotte after he was drafted:
When a Ferrari pulled up, Kuechly reached for the passenger door, thinking it was Newton’s car.
The door was locked. When the driver-side door opened, Michael Jordan stepped out.
"Hey, I’m Luke," Kuechly said.
Jordan asked if he was going to dinner with Newton, who drove in behind the Bobcats owner. Kuechly said yes, got in the quarterback’s car and they followed Jordan to Selwyn Pub.
I would like to have been a fly on the wall when Kuechly tried to open Mike's car thinking he was Newton. He seemed to handle himself well, but I'm sure the "Hey, I'm Luke." was a little awkward.
Follow me after the jump for the rest of today's Paw Prints.
It wouldn't be a BW article if I didn't mention the kickers at least once. According to Ron Rivera, the competition for the kicker spot is wide open, and he's going to be paying attention to both Medlock and Mare during the Pre-Season games:
Rivera has indicated he will put more weight on how the kickers perform in exhibitions.
"In the big circus of everything, you have to focus," Rivera said. "The competition continues as far as that’s concerned. We have a long way to go and we will get better."
I think Medlock is going to take the job from Mare. He's been lights out so far in camp (granted, it's training camp), and he seems to have a better leg than Mare (of course, so does the lamp from A Christmas Story). This is definitely the battle to watch as the rest of camp and Pre-Season unfolds.
We tend to poke fun at CB Captain Munnerlyn for being vertically challenged, but instead of playing the victim card he uses it as fuel to drive him into playing harder:
"Captain’s a unique individual," says Panther coach Ron Rivera. "He’s kind of a defensive Steve Smith."
"Little and mean?" I ask.
"Yes," says Rivera. "A little attitude."
If you read this article you'll learn that Captain gets a bit chippy with everyone during practice, and he's not afraid to take on anyone - including 300 lbs. linemen. I like that though. I think it's good to have guys with a Scrappy Doo attitude. I'd much rather him be Scrappy Doo than Shaggy, who's scared of every thing.
Speaking of short guys with a lot of attitude, here's a good piece on Smitty from Sporting News discussing how he's adapted to playing with Cam in Chud's offense:
"The thing I love about this offense, it stretches you to be flexible—you have to learn a lot of different positions," Smith said.
"It helps you with what you can’t do. And with what you can do, it puts a huger gap between you and a defender."
I love the fact that he didn't take the easy way out and strong-arm a trade to another organization where he could have played out the last few years of his career and chased a ring with a contender. I love the fact that he stuck around to finish what he started 10 years ago when he was drafted by the Panthers. Not to go all Ryan Kalil here, but I think his perseverance is finally going to pay off within the next few years.
Speaking of Ryan Kalil, Pat Yasinskas tells us that Cam Newton supports his newspaper ad 110 percent:
"Well, if anybody on this team, if they go out on a limb and make a statement, we have to back him up 110 percent, every single play," Newton said Monday on the NFL Network's "NFL AM" morning show.
Of course the players are going to be supportive of Kalil, because it would be problematic if they were to say "yeah, that dude's crazy" to the media. But, I think the players - especially Cam - really do believe they can win the big one this year. I hope they make a run, because nothing would excite me more than seeing this team playing in the Super Bowl, and actually winning it this time.
Our final Paw Print of the day covers what was one of the more controversial topics from last week, when there were questions surrounding the health of LB Thomas Davis. Luckily for all of us, he appears to be fine:
Coach Ron Rivera says he's ''relieved'' that medical tests on Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis' right knee were negative. Rivera says an MRI on Thursday revealed no damage and that Davis has a strained right calf.
This is great news. I for one can't wait to see TD on the field for the Panthers this year, because the more solid players we have on the field the better chance we have of fulfilling Kalil's prophecy of a Super Bowl run in 2012.
Well, that concludes this edition of Panther Paw Prints. As always, stay tuned to CSR for any breaking news out of Panthers camp, and make sure you set your calendars: the first Pre-Season game against the Texans is less than a week away! (Saturday at 7:00 PM) I don't know about you guys, but I can barely contain my excitement!