December 08, 2013
Saints seeking to break noise record
A little more than two hours before kickoff of Saints-Panthers I, it's quiet in the Superdome.
Panthers backup quarterback Derek Anderson is taking some warmup throws in shorts and a T-shirt and a gentleman just got finished practicing the national anthem.
The quiet won't last.
The Saints announced today a representative from Guinness World Records will be in attendance as the Saints seek to break the record for "loudest crowd roar at an indoor sports arena."
The current record has stood for only a few weeks, since the Sacramento Kings' fans pushed the dBA (decibels adjusted) level to 126 during a game against the Detroit Pistons at Sleep Train Arena on Nov. 15.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was expecting the Saints' fans to bring the noise, even before the Saints' announcement of the Guinness attempt.
"It's a loud atmosphere, to say the least. These fans are not your friends. They talk to you, they say things, the costumes that they wear; it's rather interesting to see," Newton told Bob Costas in an exclusive interview airing tonight on NBC's 'Football Night in America.'
"But as a player, you have to block all that out because at the end of the day, it’s all about the 11 on 11 that are playing in between the goal posts."
December 04, 2013
Charles Johnson says he'll play vs. Saints
Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson's sprained knee isn't yet 100 percent, but Johnson expects to play Sunday against New Orleans.
"I'm still building up to (100 percent), but I'll be good to go on Sunday," Johnson said Wednesday. "It's feeling good. It's getting stronger. I'm just ready for Sunday."
Johnson missed two games with a sprained MCL in his right knee, an injury he sustained when New England offensive tackle Marcus Cannon leg-whipped him in the third quarter of the Panthers' Monday night win on Nov. 18.
Cannon apologized to Johnson after the game, and was fined $15,750 by the league office.
"It was kind of disappointing. But things happen. That's how it goes," Johnson said. "I was disappointed a little bit just because I wanted to be out there on the field so bad. But we're winning. So I can't complain."
Johnson said he probably could have played last week against Tampa Bay if necessary, but wanted to give his knee extra time to heal. Johnson said he doesn't think returning to the game for the Patriots' final series made the injury worse.
"It was already messed up from the get-go. I just wanted to be out there, try to make a play," he said. "It was hurting. But at the same time, you've got to do what you've got to do."
Johnson and running back DeAngelo Williams, who missed the Tampa Bay game with a quad injury, were among the players who practiced on a limited basis Wednesday.
Reserve linebacker Jordan Senn (hamstring) and running back Jonathan Stewart (ankle) were out, although Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he's not worried about Stewart's status.
Three veterans were given the day off: offensive linemen Jordan Gross and Travelle Wharton and defensive tackle Dwan Edwards.
December 03, 2013
New fourth down robot can keep track of Riverboat Ron
Robot Ron just doesn't have the same ring to it.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera has been dubbed Riverboat Ron for his recent penchant for going for it on fourth downs, and now, there's a robot that can say whether or not it was a good call.
The New York Times, in association with AdvancedNFLStats.com, has developed a Fourth Down Bot. The bot analyzes over 10 years of NFL game data to determine if a coach made the right call to punt, kick the field goal or go for it. In general, "it finds NFL coaches far too conservative."
Well, not Rivera. Not anymore.
The Panthers are 9-for-11 on fourth downs, and one of those misses includes a garbage-time fourth-down attempt to salt the 36-0 win away against the Giants in Week 3.
The bot backs up Rivera and the Panthers on a lot of its calls, but there are a few exceptions that stand out. The bot would have punted on fourth-and-10 against Miami when Rivera went for it and converted via a Steve Smith catch. Due in large part to Rivera going for it rather than punting, the Panthers would win the game 20-16.
Another decision the bot disagreed with was Rivera choosing to take the field goal in the final two minutes at Buffalo in Week 2. The bot would have gone for it, and in hindsight, Rivera would have, too. He's pointed to that game as the moment in which he changed his philosophy on fourth downs.
Click here to take a look at every fourth-down decision the Panthers have faced this year and whether Rivera made the right call according to the data. This bot may also come in handy Sunday night in Carolina's showdown at the Superdome against New Orleans.