October 31, 2007
Panthers seem to be exploring return options
For what it’s worth, the Panthers did put in a waiver claim on former Pittsburgh defensive back Ricardo Colclough, but didn’t get him. The Browns did.
But it’s a pretty safe bet the Panthers weren’t looking at Colclough as a defensive back because he’s not a very good one. It’s more likely they were looking at him as a return man, although he’s not all that good in that area, either.
But the way things have been going on both punt returns and kickoff returns, the Panthers, who previously worked out return man Jeremy Bloom, have to keep exploring all options.
For the time being, it looks like they’ll stick with struggling rookie Ryne Robinson (who probably should watch film of Devin Hester instead of talking to the media) as the punt returner and DeAngelo Williams (along with an occasional appearance by offensive lineman Geoff Hangartner) on kickoffs.
DeAngelo's favorite scary flick
With it being Halloween, I asked running back DeAngelo Williams what his favorite scary movie is -- something to watch after all the trick or treaters have gone home. Keep in mind that this isn't a kid-friendly recommendation; Williams likes them the gorier, the better.
"That's easy, 'Saw,'" he said. "The 'Saw' series, 1, 2 and 3, and then go to the theatre and see 'Saw 4.' I think it's awesome, but 'Saw 4' has a little explaining to do. I'm not going to tell you the movie, but if you need somebody to explain it to you, just contact the Panthers, and I'll get my people to get with your people and we can talk about it."
Personally, I'd go with the original 'Alien.' I know some of you don't care, so don't bother posting that; it's my (and Pat's) blog, and we can drift off course occasionally. If anyone has a scarier offering, other than my picture, pop it in the comments. -- STAN OLSON
Smith has message for rookie
Very interesting incident just happened in the locker room. Two reporters were talking with rookie receiver Dwayne Jarrett about his frustration at barely getting to play after being a second-round pick.
As Jarrett was talking, receiver Steve Smith, who hasn’t been talking to the media recently, walked out to his own locker and talked to Jarrett.
“Instead of talking to the media, why don’t you go watch some film?’’ Smith said.
Jarrett gave a slight smile and kept talking to the media.
Smith, followed up in a very strong tone.
“Seriously,’’ Smith said.
Jarrett did keep talking and we’ll have a full story on his rough rookie season in tomorrow’s paper. – PAT YASINSKAS
October 30, 2007
Everything but rubbing dirt in it ...
While it's questionable whether quarterback Vinny Testaverde will be ready to go Sunday, the trainers are throwing everything under the sun at his strained Achilles' tendon.
"Whirlpool, hot tub, ice, cold tub, ultrasound on there and whatever else they can think of," Testaverde said.
While most players got to enjoy family time or just relaxed today, Vinny was getting treatments, probably everything this side of voodoo rituals. Which made it impossible for him to go home to Long
Island for a family break. But -- if he can get healthy -- he seems to be the quarterback of choice for the coaching staff right now, and he's doing everything he can to recover quickly.
I think Testaverde is still a tossup for Sunday's game at Tennessee, but David Carr should be ready to go. He was pleased and surprised at the way his back felt after last week's game, and he'll likely be 100 percent by the weekend.
Third quarterback Matt Moore is fine, in case anyone's interested.
- Stan Olson
Kicking game struggles not limited to returns
It's pretty obvious Carolina continues to suffer in the return game, much as it did last year. But there are other problems beyond the simple fact that the Panthers can't seem to EVER break a long punt or kickoff return.
John Kasay is a superb field goal kicker, outstanding in the clutch and about as accurate as they come. But his kickoffs have left something to be desired. He is last in the league in touchbacks
(kicking the ball into the end zone and not having it returned) with one. By comparision, four kickers have ten or more, and Oakland's Sebastian Janikowski has 17.
This, along with Carolina's inability to break returns, translates into a deficit in field position to start drives following kickoffs. Panthers' opponents have started from the 28.6 yardline, on average. Carolina has started from the 21.9 mark, tied with Denver for last in the NFL.
-- An aside to MattDaddy; we can't put coach John Fox's press conference up on video; it's against league rules. Saw your question and figured a lot of other people might be wondering the same thing.
- Stan Olson
October 29, 2007
QBs still up in the air
Carolina coach John Fox said a few minutes ago that he knows no more about quarterback Vinny Testaverde's strained Achilles' tendon than he did yesterday.
Fox, speaking at his weekly press conference, said he hoped to know more Wednesday. If Testaverde can't go Sunday at Tennessee, the job will fall again to David Carr, who played the second half against Indianapolis after Vinny got hurt and failed to move the team.
Fox said Monday that he believed Carr, in the process of recovering from a badly bruised back, still wasn't 100 percent Sunday.
With precious little available at the position on the street, it will be Carr and Matt Moore Sunday if Testaverde can't play. --STAN OLSON
October 28, 2007
The Panthers' grades for Sunday ...
Here’s the Panthers report card from Sunday’s 31-7 loss to Indianapolis:
QUARTERBACKS. It didn’t matter if it was Vinny Testaverde or David Carr. Neither QB could get the ball to Steve Smith or even look down the field. GRADE: F
RUNNING BACKS. DeShaun Foster average 3.3 yards a carry and DeAngelo Williams averaged 2.8. GRADE: D
RECEIVERS. Smith was heavily covered all game and Keary Colbert and Drew Carter played the way they always do. GRADE: F
OFFENSIVE LINE. Dwight Freeney didn’t have any sacks and neither did the rest of the Colts. That’s a moral victory. But the blocking was only good enough to get the ground game 3.3 yards a carry. GRADE: C-
DEFENSIVE LINE. Other than Kris Jenkins’ late hit, the Panthers didn’t get near Peyton Manning. Did you notice how much the Colts ran at Julius Peppers and how much success they had? GRADE: F
LINEBACKERS. The Colts ran for 131 yards and Manning was able to find his tight ends often enough. GRADE: C-
DEFENSIVE BACKS. The good news is Marvin Harrison didn’t play. The bad news is Reggie Wayne caught seven passes for 168 yards and a touchdown. GRADE: D
SPECIAL TEAMS: Ryne Robinson put a punt return on the ground and the Panthers averaged only 17.8 yards on kickoff returns. GRADE: D-
COACHING: Hey, for almost half a game, John Fox and his staff had a pretty good game plan. But Indianapolis’ Tony Dungy showed why he’s considered the best in the league at halftime adjustments. GRADE: D
Going to go out on a limb here and make a prediction that return man Jeremy Bloom will be signed by the Panthers in the next few days. The Panthers worked him out last week and rookie punt returner Ryne Robinson just handed the Colts three points. One other prediction: Steve Smith will handle most of the rest of the punt returns today. - PAT YASINSKAS
Here's the list of guys who won't be playing today:
Linebacker Dan Morgan, linebacker Adam Seward, offensive lineman Evan Mathis, offensive lineman Frank Omiyale, wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett, defensive end Charles Johnson and defensive end Otis Grigsby. Matt Moore has been designated as the third quarterback. - PAT YASINSKAS
October 26, 2007
Testaverde to start: Does it matter?
Some quick thoughts on John Fox's decision to start Vinny Testaverde at quarterback on Sunday:
Fox said David Carr's back isn't 100-percent healthy and that may be entirely true and the biggest factor in this decision. Obviously, if Testaverde is the healthier of the quarterbacks you've got to go with him.
But you can't help but wonder if there is some other reasoning behind this. Maybe Fox really is buying into the hot hand theory and sticking with a guy who got him a win in Arizona. Maybe this really is an indictment of Carr, even though Fox says it's not.
Or maybe - and this is the theory I am leaning toward - Fox realizes it doesn't matter all that much who he starts against the undefeated Indianapolis Colts, a team that battered Carr in his prior life in Houston.
Maybe Fox is thinking it's best to take a shot with Testaverde while the iron is hot. If it works, it's a brilliant move. If it doesn't, the worst-case scenario is that Testaverde takes the lumps from the Colts, the fan base cools on a soon-to-be-44-year-old quarterback, Carr gets another week to get completely healthy and slides back into the starting lineup the following week against Tennessee.
-- Pat Yasinskas