It's been a while since the last time I did a Panther Paw Prints post, and for that I sincerely apologize. In the future I'll try to be more diligent in putting these up for all of you to check out what others are saying about the Panthers. I'm not implying that you need to get any information from a source outside of CSR, but just in case you want to venture out into the darkness that is the non-CSR world, I'll do my best to provide you with a collection of links to what the other guys are putting out there.
The first Paw Print today is one that you may have already seen since CSR member carolinapillpusher posted a fan shot linking to it a few days ago. If you've already read that fan shot, then you can skip on down to the next one. If you missed it, then here's your opportunity to read what John Clayton had to say about Cam Newton and the dreaded "Sophomore Slump" that may or may not even exist:
5. Cam Newton is heading for a sophomore slump and the Panthers are doomed: The Panthers didn't show up physically against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1, and the Bucs came out hitting. The offensive line didn't open holes for the backs. Newton still threw for 303 yards. It was just a bad game.
See guys, John Clayton says the Panthers just picked a bad day to have a bad day. Or was that John Fox? Anyway, there's nothing to worry about as far as Cam is concerned. He didn't collapse faster than a house of cards like many pundits thought he would due to the "Sophomore Slump", and it's not something that we should concern ourselves with, because the chances of it happening are pretty slim.
Follow me after the jump for the rest of today's Paw Prints...
The players and coaches aren't too worried about Cam regressing this year, at least they're not on the outside. Head Coach Ron Rivera even had t-shirts made for all 53 players, as Joe Person reports for the Observer:
Carolina Panthers center Ryan Kalil bought a newspaper ad promising a Super Bowl run. His coach bought a box of T-shirts supporting Kalil’s pledge in The Charlotte Observer.
Panthers players have been wearing shirts with a Panthers’ logo on the front and the message, "I have Ryan Kalil’s back" on the back. They were placed in players’ lockers last week at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where the Panthers practiced for four days before their Week 1 loss at Tampa Bay.
Kalil said he appreciated Ron Rivera’s gesture.
I guess Rivera wasn't too upset with Kalil's ad after all. Now if only the team can play like they believe they can win the Super Bowl, perhaps we won't see any more deflating performances like we witnessed last week in Tampa.
The Panthers will be fired up when they take the field this Sunday though, as our old nemesis The New Orleans Saints will come to town. It will be the first time we've seen the Saints since they completely destroyed us to close out the 2011 season, and the Panthers haven't forgotten the way the Saints handled their business that Sunday afternoon:
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he would not keep starters in late in a game to pursue records, as Sean Payton did last season. "It's a philosophy. It's an attitude. And that's what his is," Rivera said of Payton. "So he coaches that way and they play that way. My attitude and my philosophy is win the football game, and then be smart about your next week. That's just the way I look at it, a difference in philosophy."
I like the subtle jab that Rivera took at Payton when he said he's more concerned with trying to win the football game and prepare for the next opponent than letting his players break/set records. It would be nice if we could get an intense coaching rivalry going between Rivera and Payton to keep things interesting in the division (as if they're not interesting enough already), but unfortunately Payton won't be able to participate in said rivalry this season because he's stuck on his couch at home due to some unfair punishment by the NFL (or something like that). Oh well, maybe next year.
Panthers' running back Jonathan Stewart is hopeful that he will get on the field Sunday against the Saints, and he believes that his ankle will be ready to go. I'm glad, because honestly - how long does it take an ankle sprain to heal? Five weeks? Six months? Two years? Hopefully Stewart hasn't gone soft on us, because that would be a shame.
Stewart says he's "making progress" in rehab and is "optimistic" he'll play Sunday in Carolina's home opener Sunday against New Orleans.
Pat Yasinskas speculates that Stewart could be ready to play on Sunday, but I don't know where he gets his information from when he says that last week was Stewart's first missed game in four years, because I remember him missing two games in 2010. Perhaps Pat Y was able to erase that season from his memory. If so, I need to call him up and ask him how he did it, because I've been trying to do that since it ended.
This last Paw Print isn't really relevant to any of the others I've posted and I don't know if it even fits in this week's theme (which, by the way, if you weren't paying attention is a combination of last week's game and this week's game), but it's something that I found interesting nonetheless. We all knew that as soon as Robert Griffin III took the field for the first time that everyone was going to start making the Cam Newton comparison, and without fail, it's happening:
"It’s hard to say anybody is Cam Newton-like because Cam is so big, so athletic," New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees said. "There are similarities in the ability to make plays with both his legs and his arms. He can get inside and outside the pocket and throws the ball downfield very well. It’s only one game but he sure was impressive against us."
I have to admit that I'm impressed that Drew Brees was able to give Newton credit. I still hate the guy though.
Well friends, that's it for this edition of Panther Paw Prints. I hope you enjoy reading these links, and if you found anything that you feel is important enough to discuss in the comment thread, then why don't you start yourself a sub-thread and discuss away!
As always, stay tuned to CSR for any breaking updates on the Panthers, absolutely 100% free of charge (minus membership dues, of course).