Injury roundup: Charles Johnson says he'll play Sunday - NFL.com
The defense of the Carolina Panthers will be fully operational for Sunday night's pivotal NFC South meeting with the New Orleans Saints. Pass rusher Charles Johnson tweeted Sunday that he'll be ready to play after missing the past two games with the sprained right MCL he sustained against the New England Patriots in Week 11:
Of course Big money will make that game, I never had a doubt. We will need his three down pressure to help stop the running game and get pressure on Brees. This is about the best news I could have hoped for this week.
For the past couple of seasons you could rarely find anything on the Panthers on NFL.com. Now that they are relevant they are finally taking notice. Of course relevance starts with being in the playoff picture, which currently slots the Panthers as the 5th seed:
NFL Playoff Picture for 2013 Season | 2013 Playoff Standings - NFL.com
The Panthers' roll continued as Cam Newton and Co. cruised to a 27-6 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and an eighth consecutive victory.
As far as our win over the Bucs, Rivera has flipped from Hot Seat Coach to Hot Seat Coach mentor after an 8-0 run:
Ron Rivera offers Greg Schiano advice on the hot seat - NFL.com
"Just stay the course," Rivera said, per PewterReport.com. "... Last year, I was in the same situation, and we got on a roll at the end of the year, and now this year we've gotten on a roll again. It's just so hard to win in this league, and you've got to develop your team first. I think people have to be willing to take the lumps and accept it. "There was a time, back in the day, when guys would be drafted in the first and second round and nobody expected him to play until three-four years down the line. Now you draft a guy, and everybody says why isn't he on the field; he's a bust."
'Develop your team first' he says, which I imagine takes time, at least a couple seasons. So can we safety say Rivera is off the hot seat? I would hope so, but he does have to close the deal and get into the playoffs. As long as they beat the two remaining teams they should beat, the Jets and Falcons, it should be a done deal regardless of how they fare in their two games against the Saints. Speaking of the Saints, we get to all be Seahawk fans tonight!
'Monday Night Football' preview: Six things to watch - NFL.com
1. As mentioned, Brees is unstoppable at the Superdome, but he's struggled to produce equal fireworks in enemy territory. His home completion percentage (73.5) dips on the road (62.2), where he's throwing 50-plus fewer yards per game. His touchdown-to-interception ratio at home (19-3) is considerably higher than elsewhere (9-5), while his passer rating falls 32.5 points on the road. Look, it's Brees -- he's a Big Easy demigod for good reason -- but if you've got him on the schedule, you want him in your house.
So it's good news the Saints are on the road to Seattle which gives us a good chance to be tied when we play next Sunday. Bad news that we go to New Orleans...but we aren't scared are we? We have romped the Saints in the Dome in the past and we can do it again.
The NFL.com Panther coverage ends on this note by saying Ted Ginn essentially built a bridge to Revis Island:
How Carolina Panthers' Ted Ginn beat Darrelle Revis - NFL.com
"I tried to give him the same (effort) as I always do, and it worked," Ginn said, per The Charlotte Observer. "It's going to be something that he's going to have in the back of his mind. From here on out (Revis and I are) going to continue to be that duo that fights. I know next time when I see him, it's going to be on."
So is Ginn suggesting he just now developed a double move after being in the league for 6+ seasons? Actually though I don't have the GIF yet you will see that Ginn's second move was actually a complete spin to the right that obviously did throw the PB CB off the route. I think it's safe to say the Panthers would like Ginn back next year.