Panther Paw Prints: Week 7 Saturday Edition

Here is a fresh batch of links about the Panthers from around the web.

Here's a post pointing out a comment thread both myself and James pointed out over the past week:

Panthers aim for consistency during crucial stretch
There are other similarities among the wins, too – like getting receiver Brandon LaFell involved. LaFell’s caught seven balls for 160 yards and three touchdowns in their two wins. In their losses, he has just 60 combined yards on eight catches and no touchdowns. “I don’t think it’s just when I’m in the offense,” LaFell said. “I just think it’s when Cam’s spreading the ball around and everyone’s getting the ball – Ted (Ginn), (Steve Smith), (Greg) Olsen – I think when everyone’s involved and everyone’s getting the ball and we get in a flow, that’s when our offense looks way better.”

Some think the Panthers defense is a good play in fantasy this week:

Fantasy football Week 7 defense rankings: Carolina Panthers up, Houston Texans down | PennLive.com
Carolina Panthers vs. St. Louis: Carolina ranks among the NFL leaders in total (3rd), rushing (4th), passing (7th) and scoring (2nd) defense and poses a well-rounded challenge to a low-octane Rams offense. The Panthers can likely pressure Sam Bradford without sending extra defenders, giving a quality secondary plenty of opportunities to make plays.

Players on the Panthers 3rd ranked defense are giving the credit to DC Sean McDermott, who is hesitant to take much credit:

Sean McDermott is master of Carolina Panthers D - ESPN
"Probably situational aggressive is a better way to put it," Rivera said. "He's really matured a lot in the two and a half seasons we've been here. The defensive guys have started to understand the complexities of what we are trying to do." Players don't consider the system complex as much as thorough. They say it's really a simple system built around timely blitzes and playmakers making plays instead of elaborate blitzes like Johnson used. "We like to be an aggressive defense and a fundamentally sound defense at the same time," McDermott said.

So have you wondered about C Brian Folkerts hair? Just call him Caveman.

10 question with Carolina Panthers center Brian Folkerts | Carolina Panthers | Rock Hill Herald Online

Q. When’s the last time you cut yours?

A. Going into my junior year. I used to have a shaved, zero (clippers setting) buzzcut. Then for the start of my junior year of college, I was starting to talk to some scouts. And I was like, All right, I’m going to grow it out until I make (the NFL). Then my first year I was with New Orleans. I was kind of thinking about cutting it, but then I got cut in the preseason. And I was like, Well, that doesn’t really count. Now that I’m here, me and (Brenton) Bersin are talking about cutting our hair at the end of the season.

Q. What’s the deal with your nickname, Caveman Center?

A. That started here with (Jordan) Gross and a couple of the older guys like Steve Smith. The long hair, the beard, kind of caveman-ish features. Everyone was still kind of learning my name, so it was just easy to say, “That’s that guy that kind of looks like a caveman.”

Former Buc DE Stephen White is now a writer for SBN and his latest piece is worth a read. I find his analysis spot on, especially this section where he dogs his former team:

The Notebook: Home field embarrassment - SBNation.com

Maybe I haven't made it clear to you but a team lining up in tackle over is a rare occurrence. I have seen a team run tackle over a handful of times in a game, but I don't think I've ever seen a team do it 11 out of 12 plays on a drive where they had their full complement of offensive linemen and tight ends. This was an embarrassment of immense proportions that a team would basically line up play after play after play, essentially pointing across the field at Sheridan to say "Yep, here it comes again. Now try to stop it!" ... on the Buccaneers' home field.

LB Thomas Davis is finally getting some recognition not for his comeback but for his play on the field (and the comeback):

Panthers LB Thomas Davis thriving after suffering 3 torn ACLs to the same knee - The Washington Post

“I thought once I did it a third time, I thought that was it,” Davis said. “I had never heard of a guy coming back or even attempting to come back from a third ACL (tear) to the same knee. That went through my head. A lot of stuff went through my head.” Davis, 30, is glad he returned. He’s playing perhaps his best football of his career and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said Davis’ vast knowledge of the defense has propelled him to new heights. “He’s always learning,” McDermott said. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said he has immense respect for Davis. “Just going through everything that he’s been through, it’s just a credit to who he is as a person and a player,” Newton said. “A guy that works his tail off day in and day out, and leads as best as I’ve ever seen.”

Wow, we have depth at Safety:

Notes: Situating the safeties

"I am not overly concerned (about the chemistry)," Rivera said. "Whether it's Quintin or it's Robert, we're going to have a good combination." Mikell has offered teammates some insight on the Rams – the team he played for from 2011-12 – and stressed that he's not worried about who starts at strong safety for Sunday's game. "I'm here to help in any way possible, and I told Robert that. I'm not here to take his spot," Mikell said. "If I'm in the game I am going to give it my best and play as hard as I can. That's the way I'm looking at it. I told him, ‘If you're in there, ball out.' Let the coaches make the decisions there."

Though DE Charles Johnson may not be logging many sacks he is none the less making an impact:

Notes: Johnson setting the standard

"You watch Charles Johnson and the serious nature with which he's approaching things," Rivera said. "The last few Tuesdays when I've been out on the practice field, he's showed up. He showed up with some of his teammates, and they are going through pass rush stuff on their own. It's been impressive." Said Johnson: "When you put the extra work in it shows up on Sunday." Rivera added that he's noticed defensive end Greg Hardy leading extra film study sessions with some of the defensive lineman. And the standard being set by Johnson and Hardy can have a trickledown effect on the younger players. "Now peer pressure starts come into play"

I have to admit this trade does make sense though I would hate to part with Stewart:

Hakeem Nicks to Panthers among trades that would make sense - NFL.com

Why it would make sense: Presuming Stewart, who started the season on the physically unable to perform list after undergoing offseason ankle surgery, is fully healthy, this deal would help both teams. The Giants need running back help, and Stewart is still a relatively young guy (26) who did top 1,000 yards from scrimmage (including 1,133 rushing yards in 2009) in two of the past four seasons. The Panthers, meanwhile, could use a talented receiver like Nicks, who has the potential to give Cam Newton a great boost.

While veteran Steve Smith would continue to be the No. 1 receiver in Carolina this season, the Panthers could likely convince Nicks that he would be the man in the future. Stewart, who has conceivably been made expendable by the resurgence of DeAngelo Williams (10th in the NFL with 394 rushing yards), could turn out to be the long-term answer for New York at running back. Trades are often easier to pull off when both parties have a prior relationship, which is why I could see a deal between the Panthers and the Giants actually happening. Carolina general manager Dave Gettleman came over from the Giants' front office, and I'd imagine that he has a good working rapport with his former colleagues. Gettleman is a straight shooter and the Giants know that; they'd likely feel they could trust him regarding Stewart's health. Of course, the Giants have shot down rumors that they're interested in moving Nicks. But they're still 0-6, and Nicks is still in the last year of his contract. Anything can happen.

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