Panther Paw Prints: Cardinals Game Edition

Here are links to some Panther-related articles from around the web.

LMAO at Smitty's description of being fouled:

Steve Smith shows shrewd strategic skills - Carolina Panthers Blog - ESPN
"I didn't say physical," Smith said. "I said I got leg-humped. I wouldn't characterize that as physical." "I said, 'All right, gotcha,'" Smith said. "There are moments that training and working hard comes in where you've got to get to the things that are real about you."

Of course I imagine a dog humping his leg after reading that. Whether you agree or disagree with Smitty to criticize the refs you have admit at least he makes it colorful. Plus I've never known Smitty to not take the blame when warranted:

Smith takes blame for loss

"If I don't drop that pass I think the whole momentum of the game changes," Smith said. "My dropped pass cost us the game." Smith's third-down drop in the end zone forced the Panthers to kick a 22-yard field goal and take a 3-0 lead. The Panthers all-time leading receiver later dropped a slant in the open field and was called for offensive pass interference, which wiped away a 12-yard gain in the third quarter. "For me it was very uncharacteristic. Dropped two balls. Really wasn't focused in," Smith said. "I think in the past that would have been the beginning of a disastrous game for me. Emotionally, I would have become unraveled. For me, some guys said, 'We need you,' and I said, 'Alright, I got you.' I just focused in on that." 've got to play better," Smith said. "Each individual person has to sit down, reflect, and think and look in the mirror to see what they can do to improve. That's what I need to do. That's what guys are depending on. "If you want to make an impact, you have to realize it and do it immediately."

There is something in Rivera's coaching style that is reinforcing the poor play but I don't know what it is. Rivera addressed whether he agreed with Smith:

Rivera: 'Smith speaks from the heart' - Carolina Panthers Blog - ESPN

"I took advantage of what I'm allowed to do through the league, and they handle it in a very professional manner as was our approach,'' Rivera said. Asked if they were specific plays such as the ones Smith addressed, Rivera said, "There were plays. Again, it's what we do. We send them in, we talk about them and we try to get those things worked out." As for Smith, Rivera said, "I know this. Steve speaks from the heart and Steve made his comments and he's sticking with them. We'll go from there."

As we reported earlier in the week, Armanti Edwards was released:

Panthers waive WR Edwards

Edwards, a star quarterback at Appalachian State, was converted to wide receiver as a rookie but never fulfilled the team's expectations. He showed signs last season of possibly developing into a regular contributor, highlighted by an 82-yard catch at Washington - the longest reception in team history that was not a touchdown. He appeared to make more strides at training camp in August, but a hamstring injury suffered in the preseason opener slowed him, and Ted Ginn established himself ahead of Edwards in the rotation. Edwards played in all four games this season but didn't record any stats.

I didn't include it in the clipping but it seems in the end Edwards may be known most for getting run down by a punter; unfair though it is.

Star Lotulelei gets a shout out in the Clowney piece:

Disruption Is Production - Evaluations -

In the games he has suited up for, Clowney has played in 213 of South Carolina’s 272 defensive snaps this season (thanks to John Pollard from STATS Inc. for that number). Roughly 78.3 percent. Compare that to 4-3 defensive ends (what Clowney is currently playing and his easiest projection) in the NFL this season: Jason Pierre-Paul (76.3), Demarcus Ware (72.3), and Julius Peppers (78.2). Are these players "loafing" if seen on the sideline by camera crews? That seemed to be the instant conclusion during the first game of the season against North Carolina, suggesting Clowney’s impact on a game instantly dropped after spending a few snaps on the sideline. Clowney could improve his stamina in the hopes of being less fatigued, but do not expect him to be Star Lotulelei, who was on the field for 91.2 percent of Utah’s defensive snaps last season. That is ridiculous, and even he was accused of possessing a poor motor at times. In comparison, the defensive lineman taken just before Lotulelei, Sheldon Richardson, played 72.3 percent of Missouri’s defensive snaps last season. The next defensive lineman, Florida’s Sharrif Floyd, posted a figure of 66.4 percent during his final season.

I typical Panthers DT rotation should be cake for Star to keep up with. Speaking of the defense, it is actually playing quite well.

Defense keeping Panthers in games

"When you look at the yardage – 250 yards and three takeaways – I was proud of them for that," defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said. "I was proud of the way the guys kept battling. They kept fighting and playing hard, giving us a chance." Despite that effort, the Panthers suffered a 22-6 defeat. "The fact is we didn't win the game," McDermott said.

The defense seems to be just fine without our longtime force at LB Jon Beason, who looks to play the Middle for his new team tonight this weekend:

Giants say Jon Beason 'ready to contribute' - Big Blue View

How will defensive coordinator Perry Fewell use the seven-year veteran? "We are going to incorporate him in our defense this week. We have certain packages that he will be involved in," Fewell said. "He’s only been with us a couple of days, but we felt like it was important to get him involved as soon as possible."

How about Robert Lester showing us why combine results can be total bunk when evaluating football players.

Carolina Panthers staying with the hot hands in secondary |

"You do want to do that. Robert’s got a little bit of a rhythm going," Rivera said. "I think he and (free safety) Mike (Mitchell) have developed a good rapport although it’s real easy to see Quintin, his ability to work with whoever’s out there, he’s a veteran guy. I think that’s a plus for us if we can get them both back out there healthy for us on Sunday, we’ll stick with what we’ve been doing the last couple weeks as far as safety is concerned."

He doesn't look too slow or too stiff to me. That was one heck of an athletic move on his most recent INT. More on Lester from ESPN:

Carolina Panthers' Robert Lester could make run at rookie of year, too - ESPN

"Yeah, he's got the hot hand,'' McDermott said of Lester. "We're going to stay with him as long as we can. It's like going with that hot putter right now. He's done a great job, and it really comes back to his preparation. "He takes it very seriously. He's really, from a coach's standpoint, very coachable and [has] great instincts.'' So what is Lester doing so much better now than he was at the end of training camp when the Panthers opted to cut him and then re-sign him to the practice squad? "Asserting himself a little bit more,'' McDermott said. "Now he sees his role. He's embraced it.''

Luke vs. AP - It could be epic

Carolina Panthers: Luke Kuechly Faces Tough Test in Adrian Peterson

Once Kuechly can run free and track down the ball-carrier, then the scales will be balanced. Peterson and Kuechly will be locked in an epic clash between two of the NFL’s premier players, and how each of the players’ skills match up will determine the winner. Kuechly has some of the best play recognition skills in the league and should figure to meet Peterson at the line multiple times during the game. Peterson’s outstanding power should give Kuechly a Jim Brown-like punch when he arrives, an apt match for Kuechly’s own power. How many extra yards Peterson can get when he hits Kuechly could be the difference between first downs and punts for the Vikings, and that could have a massive effect on the score.

Strange that Vegas doesn't like us but the computer does:

Carolina Panthers vs. Minnesota Vikings: Spread Analysis and Pick Prediction | Bleacher Report

Smart Pick The Vikings are the favorites here, but the OddsShark computer is predicting a 25-20 Panthers victory. Carolina can run the ball, and its defense is under-rated, while Minnesota's stop unit ranks 30th overall and has allowed almost 31 points per game. So go with the computer and take the Panthers and the points. The over-under is also a potential play as eight of 10 meetings between these teams have played UNDER the number.

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