Panther Paw Prints - Giant Blow Out Part 1

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

I've got so many links to Panther-related articles I decided to break them into offense and defense. Let's start with the defense.

First year Panther S Mike Mitchell steps into Charles Godfrey's shoes as leader of the secondary:

Carolina Panthers’ patchwork secondary proves first-rate | Carolina Panthers | NewsObserver.com
"We don’t have any big-name guys, but I believe in everybody we have in the room," starting free safety Mike Mitchell said. "I thought this week we were able to show that. We played as a team, we played together."We knew we had our backs against the wall. When you’re in a tough situation like that, you’re going to find out what kind of man you are, what kind of group you have, everyone’s going to raise up to that next level or you’re going to fold."

They stood up big time. I know Mitchell plays with reckless abondan and is prone to penalties and what not, but I do love the 'boom' he brings to that group. The guy is a big hitter and we have been lacking that in the secondary ever since Mike Minter retired.

In that same piece rookie Melvin White discusses how the Panthers prepared for the play he would later turn into an INT:

"Once we got up there they lined up in it and Mike Mitchell gave the signal and said trap it," White said. "Then Captain signaled to me, and we were all on one page. "I just came through and made the play on the ball."

White peeled off his man and moved in for the trap and it worked like a charm. So sweet!

Moving on to the MVP of the game:

Panthers notebook: Defense gets Kraken, shuts out G-men - NFL - Gaston Gazette
"I was in my zone. The fact that it was a must-win game, it’s big-time. And I felt like I had to show it. Today was my day to be Greg Hardy, or the Kraken," said Hardy, who gave himself the nickname of the mythical sea creature Kraken last season.

In a zone indeed. By the way, CSR may never get the recognition for coining his 'Kraken' nickname but it won't be for a lack of trying. The word from fans in attendance is that they put up a pic of Hardy labeled the Kraken on the jumbotron during the game.

More on Hardy:

Stock Up: Week 3 - Over the Cap
Stock Up Greg Hardy- With One year remaining on his rookie contract Hardy is ready to break the bank. I had rated Hardy as the 2nd best overall 43DE in the NFL in 2012, behind only Cameron Wake of the Miami Dolphins. Hardy absolutely overwhelmed the Giants on Sunday racking up 3 sacks and setting the tone for the defense all day. Provided the Panthers can afford him, and they had recently restructured a contract to perhaps get a deal done, Hardy has a great starting point for negotiations on his own team. The Panthers had given Charles Johnson a 6 year $76 million dollar contract with $32 million in full guarantees back in 2011. Distancing himself from Johnson gives him a tremendous base contract to work with.

Games like his Sunday performance only stand to give him more leverage for getting a contract extension done sooner rather than later. With the future of Julius Pepper and, to a lesser extent, Mario Williams in doubt I think it’s important to get a deal done soon so the Panthers can sign Hardy and at least say to themselves he is not the highest paid in the NFL, even though he will be when those players are no longer active on their current contracts.

Yes I agree we need to get this deal done. Hardy is not the type of guy to slack off simply because he got paid. Which might be an excuse for his match-up this past Sunday:

Stock Down: Week 3 - Over the Cap

New Contract Disappointment Of The Week Will Beatty- Beatty, signed to a $7.5 million dollar a year contract extension in the offseason by the Giants, was abused by the Panthers’ Greg Hardy. While Hardy is a terrific player Beatty was expected to be a top line tackle. Instead he looked like a 4th quarter throw in from the first Preseason game of the year.

He was out-muscled all day and never looked like he could match up physically with the Panthers. There was no technique helping him cope with the pressure. He was a revolving door and it set the tone for what turned into a blowout for the Giants.

Hardy played so well Beatty looked like a 4th quarter fill in?...ouch! $7.5M? Gettleman didn't make that deal!

ESPN writer David Newton made me smile by answering this question Robert Lester:

Locker Room Buzz: Carolina Panthers - Carolina Panthers Blog - ESPN
Lost at sea: Rookie strong safety Robert Lester, a week removed from being on the practice squad, was buried behind a sea of cameras and reporters after collecting five tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery in his first NFL start. How did it feel? Like after an Alabama game.

A typical Alabama game I might add.

Here's what has a few Giants fans up in arms...they think Chase Blackburn stole the playbook and tipped off the Giants plays, for the entire game apparently:

Upon Further Review: Panthers Week 3 - NFC South Blog - ESPN
Inside the Chase: For two weeks, linebacker Chase Blackburn wondered when he would get on the field for a defensive snap. It finally happened against his former team. Blackburn played 17 snaps, or 33 percent of the plays. That was good news for Jon Beason, who has been struggling coming off knee surgery. He played only one snap a week after playing 31.

The Panthers also took advantage of Blackburn's knowledge of the Giants. "When you have a guy who knows the other team and you sit there and you listen to him when he is watching tape, before the play even happens he calls the play," Rivera said.

If anyone thinks that is truly possible I have some beachfront land in Charlotte to sell you.

Star continues to impress:

ESPN NFL Draft Blog -- Rookie Review: Star Lotulelei - ESPN
The Panthers have received a strong early return for Lotulelei. He has started all three games while registering nine tackles and a sack and has made his presence felt on the interior. Lotulelei has been stout defending the run and has created disruption in the backfield while also showing impressive range.

I still can't believe he fell to us at 14.

I'll be back later with all of the offensive and coaching staff links a little later tonight.

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