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October 20, 2006

In hindsight Witherspoon looks like a bargain

Each week, I take part in a notes network where writers around the country share information about what’s going on with the team’s they cover. That’s generally how Sunday NFL columns are compiled.

But this item from a St. Louis writer intrigued me and I thought I’d put it out there now:
“With 13 tackles vs. the Seahawks on Sunday, MLB Will Witherspoon boosted his season total to a team-high 60 - an average of 10 per game - going into the bye week.

“I had some good linebackers, but I never had anyone who could run like that," said defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, who has been coaching in the NFL since 1994. "I coached a couple guys in the Pro Bowl who could run like that -- Ray Lewis and those guys. Will has that type of talent."

“Witherspoon is on pace for a season total of 160 tackles, which would be a personal best for the fifth-year pro out of Georgia. In March, the Rams plunked down $33 million in a six-year deal to land Witherspoon as a free agent. They targeted him for the middle, even though he spent most of his time with Carolina on the outside. The idea was to exploit his 4.6-second 40 speed, a concept that Witherspoon embraced.

"From an outside position, you're kind of playing half the field. From the middle, you've got to get from sideline to sideline," he said. "I definitely enjoy it."

Gee, think that now that middle linebacker Dan Morgan is out for the season (and, perhaps, forever) $33 million doesn’t seem like such an outrageous price to the Panthers?

Posted by Observer Sports on October 20, 2006 at 09:18 AM | Permalink


I wish we had kept Witherspoon (Morgan is a great white joke!) but if we did spend $33 million, could we have afforded to sign Keyshawn and Maake Kemoeatu?

Could we afford to sign Steve Smith and Peppers long term in the future?

That is my question.

Posted by: Mike | Oct 20, 2006 11:12:42 AM

Do you see Thomas Davis maybe moving to the middle backer position ala Urlacher who transitioned from a college safety to lb as well?

Posted by: Rich | Oct 20, 2006 11:51:40 AM

I know Dan Morgan has been injured alot, but that is because of his playing style. Before turning pro Morgan was hardly ever hurt, but when you play balls to the wall things like that happen. It's sad to see people get down on him

Posted by: nathan | Oct 20, 2006 9:46:40 PM

People who keep whining about keeping Morgan and unloading Witherspoon are a bunch of idiots. Of course, looking back and knowing what they know now, the Panthers would have probably done differently. Comparing the two of them, Morgan was obviously more talented. But injuries are part of the game...And Morgan went all out when he played, to the point that he had many nasty collisions. As far as I'm concerned, people who criticize about his being "glass jawed"/weak couldn't carry Morgan's jock strap.

Posted by: Dan | Oct 20, 2006 11:08:32 PM

Dear Pat,

Considering you are behind both Eeyore Sorensen and Scott "thanks for the question but I don't watch sports" Fowler, you don't get to mock anyone's decisions.

Panthers gambled and they lost; mistakes happen. They've also been an elite team in their league for a couple of years, which is an amazing feat in the NFL. You're behind two writers who got left back by Gregg Doyel, who is apparently only the FOURTH worst columnist ever (much to my surprise).

Posted by: Darrin Gantt is MUCH better | Oct 21, 2006 2:21:21 PM

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