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January 21, 2008

A little more on Moore, Beason

With Panthers general manager Marty Hurney, coach John Fox and an army of scouts descending on Mobile, Ala., to observe Senior Bowl invitees this week, and with the Super Bowl set for the following weekend, things are expected to be fairly quiet around the team while the staff gears up for what should be a busy offseason. That gives me another chance to mention Carolina quarterback Matt Moore, who by starting the team’s final three games after a lot of people had quit paying attention, became a pretty good story.

Moore’s first rookie start, in Carolina’s 13-10 victory against Seattle on Dec. 16, produced the best passer rating ever for a Panthers rookie in his first game, 92.8. That’s not overwhelming – only three rookies made starts at the position for the team in the past. Chris Weinke had the next-best mark (89.8), Kerry Collins was at 76.8 and Randy Fasani turned in an almost unheard-of 0.0. If you don’t remember that one, count your blessings; Fasani was working against visiting Tampa Bay in 2002. He completed 5 of 18 passes for 46 yards, with no touchdowns and three interceptions.

But back to Moore. He was one of three NFL rookies to start at least three games this season, and his 86.1 rating for those three was ahead of the first three efforts of Buffalo’s Trent Edwards (76.3) and Miami’s John Beck (57.2). The kid gets it, and while Carolina needs help at a lot of positions, quarterback isn’t one of them if starter Jake Delhomme’s recovery continues with no problems.

-- While we’re giving kudos in a season that had few for Panthers fans, consider rookie middle linebacker Jon Beason. His 160 tackles are a team record, breaking the old mark of 158 set by Michael Barrow in 1998. And Beason crushed the Panthers’ rookie record, Lester Towns’ 106 in 2000. With the re-signing of Na’il Diggs on the weakside and Thomas Davis young and still reaching for his full potential on the strongside, linebacker will not be a problem for Carolina in 2008.

-- I thought Michael Procton’s comments concerning injuries to key players on the various playoff teams on the previous blog was interesting and on the mark. While the Panthers didn’t adjust to their injuries as well as they could have, that doesn’t change the fact that injuries are a legitimate excuse, even though every coach in every sport will tell you on the record that they are not. Listen to them when the tape recorders and cameras aren’t rolling. Key injuries will kill a team.

By the way, Carolina was 4-2 in games started by Delhomme and Moore and 3-7 when David Carr and Vinny Testaverde opened under center.

-- Stan Olson

Posted by Observer Sports on January 21, 2008 at 05:53 PM | Permalink

Comments

I can't figure out why the Panther's will not fire Hurney and hire Procton.

Posted by: Jeff | Jan 21, 2008 7:53:59 PM

Tell me about it, Jeff. The kid would have Carr and Colbert still on the team next season--what's not to love about that?

Posted by: hillbilly | Jan 21, 2008 8:52:36 PM

Hillbilly, preach on. He would probably give Foster an extension also

Posted by: Fred | Jan 21, 2008 9:13:32 PM

Stan, for you to say that Procton had a good point and highlight him, well, let's just say I bet he hasn't worn pants since this went into print. I enjoy how pissed off he gets everyone, and I think he does too. He is definitely stat boy, but needs a woman I think.

Posted by: Willy | Jan 21, 2008 9:34:30 PM

I'd certainly take Carr (if he restructured), Colbert (at less than $1 mil), and there's NO WAY I wouldn't keep Foster over cutting him and saving a mere $1 mil. If the holes are there (and they WEREN'T), he's a good all-around NFL starter at RB (which you ABSOLUTELY can't say about Williams at this point in his career.)

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jan 21, 2008 11:31:06 PM

I'm glad you got a thick skin Procton. And thank you for posting that blog, Stan. The rest of you can choke on skunk guts.

Posted by: SYRPIS | Jan 22, 2008 12:20:10 AM

The thing about Williams is that he has not proven exactly what he is in this league. He has shown flashes of great potential and flashes of being a back who cannot block and who cannot gain consistant chunks of yards. I love Williams, but Procton you are correct - no one can factually prove that Williams is a legitimate starter because, quite frankly, he hasn't been given the chance too.

Foster on the other hand has consistantly proven that he is NOT a good running back. He is average at best.

For 2007, among the 22 RB's who had over 200 carries, Foster ranked 20th in total yards. Thats not good, thats just pushing average. He ranked 13th in total carries and 21st in total rushing yards. Not good, just average. Again, he ranked 13th in total carries and ranked 39th in rushing td's, 3rd in fumbles...His longest run of the season was 20 yards!!!!

In 2006, he ranked 24th in total carries and 25th in total rushing yards, nah thats not poor, its just average. 24th in total carries and 42nd in rushing td's...nowhere close to being "good." He did break 3 runs for over 20yds and 1 went for over 40!! Thats great for him, but just average in this league.

Okay, I'm done for now, but I have a feeling that Procton, the man who lives on stats, will discredit these numbers based on certain immeasurable factors such as his pass blocking, route running skills, and just being a product of poor blocking despite having the all-pro and probowlers that he always raves about.

When you have a running back that is in the middle of the pack in most or all categories it does not make him 'good' it makes him AVERAGE.

Posted by: m | Jan 22, 2008 12:24:53 AM

And that's why you'll always be an armchair GM, Mikey. You continue to suckle from the teat of mediocrity, while everyone else around you grows and learns that the only failure in life is the failure to realize that you're not moving forward.

Thinking of your failure to see past mediocrity, I'm reminded of something I read in PFW regarding this team's renewed commitment to not just stand pat in their philosophy of predictability, but to actually regress back to an era that, for good reason, has otherwise been left behind.

"Rather than embrace the NFL’s evolution..., the Panthers have plans to move backward as they rewind and retool their offensive personnel and scheme." I believe this quote best sums up my thoughts, as well as others who understand the nature of success in the NFL.

I just hope that Jerry isn't so infatuated with reliving the NFL's glory days that he's unable to understand why the Patriots are playing in their fourth Super Bowl in seven years--because they're willing to be innovative, instead of trying to force a tired and predictable philosophy down the throats of 31 other teams regardless of how much conventional wisdom screams otherwise.

When you play the odds, you become predictable. And when teams know what you're going to do before you even do it, then you've already doomed yourself to fail.
If you don't understand anything else I've written, understand that.

Posted by: hillbilly | Jan 22, 2008 2:41:24 AM

Yes...and if it takes the fantastic innovation of blatantly disregarding the rules and regulations that govern the league, I'd be more than willing to give up future SB appearances.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jan 22, 2008 2:52:51 AM

And, no, I wouldn't take Carr over either Moore or Basanez, regardless of whether he restructured his contract or not.

Posted by: hillbilly | Jan 22, 2008 2:53:45 AM

Ahh, so we're to assume that every win this season can solely be ascribed to the devious scruples of a dubious, yet otherwise genius, head coach?

I would assume that after having been busted and heavily fined by NFL, Belichick would have undoubtedly had second thoughts about any further questionable actions, especially with the overwhelming uproar of negative press that the NFL suddenly found itself wading through on the heels of the Michael Vick saga.

No, I don’t think Goodell would have tolerated another “spy gate,” let alone any type of questionable extracurricular activity that might further tarnish the already tainted image of the NFL.

While I do believe that any form of cheating deserves disqualification, I cannot, in all fairness, say that the Patriots are unworthy or undeserving of the other 17 wins thus far this season. Believe me, I despise them more than any other team because of their blatant arrogance and disregard for sportsmanship, but I cannot begrudge them their success.

Even with the stigma of cheating forever linked to their legacy, it cannot change the fact that they have the most prolific offense in the league--not only because of Brady or Moss, but because they are willing to constantly challenge and adapt, and not rely on the predictable.

Posted by: hillbilly | Jan 22, 2008 3:46:41 AM

Firstly nice for Stan to give a shout out to one of the regular posters.

Secondly according to my info Foster is a 4.7 million hit on the salary cap, that is way too much for an average starting running back. What penalties would we incur if we cut him? Really he should restructure to the help the team.

Some people are questioning Williams ability to start but at the very least he should split carries with Foster or we should try to use out of the backfield like NO try to use Reggie Bush.

Good to see we are solid at linebacker now, i hope Morgan restructures and stays too. CB is solid too, we need a starting safety (prob from the draft), a DE to replace Rucker, an decent LT and at least one more WR.

If we get those we should be able to make a play-off push.

Posted by: CS | Jan 22, 2008 5:59:06 AM

Procton, Carr and his Micky Mouse gloves will not even be in the league next year. He does not even have the skills anymore to play arena football.

Posted by: Fred | Jan 22, 2008 6:44:45 AM

Michael your check bounced I can not mention your name again until it clears.

Posted by: stan | Jan 22, 2008 7:02:54 AM

Foster SUCKS!!!!!! He dances around every hole. Williams has only shown glimpses because he has never had a chance to show anything else. You can't rise to your full potential with only 7-12 carries a game. That is not enough to get a feel for the game. I think we should cut Foster and try to sign a big back. Maybe Minn. would be ready to get rid of Chester Taylor or Ray Rice could be available in the 2nd round. I know the Panthers better make a move for Gibril Wilson this offseason. There is a lot of dead weight on the Panthers roster. Please cut Kemo,Foster,Colbert,Carr,and Morgan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Give Kris Jenkins a raise and make him a captain.

Posted by: WOWO | Jan 22, 2008 9:41:08 AM

Anyone who believes signing David Carr to any kind of contract has some irreparable flaws. Foster has had his chance to prove himself and, as others have stated above, he has proven to be an average back at best. Very streaky inconsistent runner...and he hasn't had that many streaks. I don't think they should bet the farm on Williams because he's beeen streaky at times as well but at least give the guy the shot that he is due. It's time for us to shed the bad memories of Foster and Morgan. Those two guys just simply haven't worked out for this team. The only year they have was in 2003 and that was a great season but if they haven't come close to that level in four years then chances are they never will. We need to concern ourselves with the areas we've either ignored or put stop gap players in. WR, DE, LT & Safety. A cherry on top of that would be a Brandon Jacobs type back for goal line & 3rd & short.

Posted by: JT | Jan 22, 2008 10:25:51 AM

I can understand keeping Foster, and I bet that's what happens. But keep Carr? That's just not going to happen. He's getting starter-quality money in a contract that has one more year on it, and he'll be no better than 3rd string next year. Easier to cut him. We'll go into camp with Delhomme, Moore, and Basanez under contract, and will either draft late or pick up someone that can compete with Moore and Basanez to be the backup. If Moore comes out the clear-cut #2, he'll get a new contract.

Procton is hit-and-miss with his ideas, but loyalty to Carr, who showed us nothing but failure to execute all year, is just silly.

Posted by: Authority on Everything | Jan 22, 2008 10:40:46 AM

Although I too enjoy Mr. Procton for either information or entertainment value, he doesn't have the experience of having actually played at a high level, which is the X factor he cannot understand. When you see your coach and team promoting and hanging on to people that shouldn't be there, it takes your heart.

I would release Foster, Carr, Maake, Colbert, Gamble and Jenkins immediately. Davis clearly doesn't get it at LB, he disappeared this year, and I would try to get him back to safety to play alongside Harris or create a rover position for him. The team needs new blood, people that have been winners. There needs to be a real camp where there is no guaranteed spot before the players arrive. Tom Coughlin, universally reviled as being too harsh and out of touch, let's see, he's going to the Super Bowl with a team that wasn't even supposed to compete. Fox may be too nice of a guy, if he is, hire one of those assistants, and any of us who played in college know that guy, who the players are just a little afraid of, who handles all the discpline in practice, and kicks some butts.

The guys just aren't sharp, as a whole. The edge needs to be placed there by someone that knows how to sharpen.

Posted by: Willy | Jan 22, 2008 11:35:36 AM

Willy, releasing Jenkins and Gamble would be retarded. Especially Jenkins, we could get a decent player or a 1st day draft pick for him in a trade. At the corner position, all I know for sure is that Marshall needs to be a full time starter next year. Lucas and Gamble, let them fight it out for the other starting spot in training camp. No need to release Gamble.

Posted by: Haywood Jablowmi | Jan 22, 2008 12:08:30 PM

BRILLIANT move today...SO glad to lock up Rhys Lloyd as a short-term kickoff guy (a position we've been getting KILLED at for years) and a potential future kicker. Baltimore was really unhappy to lose him with Matt Stover on the back end of his own career.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jan 22, 2008 12:18:46 PM

The focus on the running game is moot when your offensive line is being stuffed back into the backfield on every running play and your quarterback is running for his life. Add this to the fact that the coaching staff has few if any innovations and that would sink any running back.

The defensive line got blown off the ball as much as the offensive line got pushed back. This puts way too much pressure on the corners and safety. One of the few bright spots was the Seattle game when we blitzed like crazy and actually sacked Hasselback. Against Dallas, I don't think we blitzed once and Romo had all day and picked us apart.

So, I'd focus on the meat...the beasts up front.

Then I'd look at the skill positions and my #1 consideration would be wide receiver. Dwayne just didn't replace Keyshawn like we were promised. (?) In fact, the whole USC receiver corp really is a joke. (Can we stay closer to home in the SEC?).

Finally, I'd find a blocking fullback for DeAngelo. This Alstott/Pinnock type bruiser would carve holes and knock the blitzing corner or LB off his feet.

Posted by: Randy Wilkins | Jan 22, 2008 12:23:08 PM

I agree, Randy...there are several good FB options I like a lot that could be gotten in the middle rounds of the draft this year: Jacob Hester, Peyton Hillis, Brandon McAnderson, and Owen Schmitt. All are powerful runners, and most (aside from Hester) are strong blockers as well.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jan 22, 2008 12:41:02 PM

I would say, though, that I hope we can get a guy who hopes to aspire beyond the career of Andrew Pinnock, a 3rd-string FB in his 4th (?) year.

Also, some interesting notes on potential Panthers draft prospects from the Senior Bowl (courtesy of NFL Draft Countdown):

First, we (Panthers representatives) ran individual drills with DTs Sedrick Ellis (USC...top 10 projection) and Trevor Laws (Notre Dame...3rd round projection and also played at DE in college).

Two of the most impressive players on the field today both happened to be USC Trojans. Defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis was practically unblockable, blowing by Chad Rinehart on one play and being very disruptive in the backfield all afternoon. He also received a lot of praise from the coaching staff. Meanwhile his college teammate Keith Rivers, who drew a lot of praise from Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Rivers looked quick and explosive moving both forward and laterally and even made a nice play in coverage twenty yards downfield against Kellen Davis.

USC offensive tackle Sam Baker displayed good use of his hands and nice footwork. He especially stood out in pass protection against speed rushers.

It was tough for the running backs to stand out in a practice like this but East Carolina's Chris Johnson was shifty and showcased his ability to make people miss.

North Carolina St. defensive tackle DeMario Pressley drew some positive notice from the coaching staff and showed good upper body strength and leverage, although he has a ways to go when it comes to footwork.

West Virginia fullback Owen Schmitt was used extensively as a receiver out of the backfield and he did well. He's isn't graceful but he got the job done and even dragged Thomas DeCoud behind him on one play.

Notre Dame defensive tackle Trevor Laws didn't look great in positional drills but he made at least one standout play, pushing Drew Radovich into the backfield and batting down a pass with authority.

There were a number of standout performances today but if I had to single out a couple of guys on each side of the ball Sedrick Ellis and Keith Rivers would easily be the defensive picks.

Sans pads there wasn’t any real tackling but the ‘hit’ of the day nonetheless came courtesy of Georgia Tech LB Phillip Wheeler who lowered a shoulder into and deposited Kentucky RB Rafael Little on his posterior.

For the record, Matt Forte, known as a tough 220-pounder, was surprisingly quick, as was Georgia Tech RB Tashard Choice, although again there wasn’t any tackling.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jan 22, 2008 12:50:56 PM

Stan,
Remember, Dr. Frankenstein's monster killed him in the end.

Posted by: Willy | Jan 22, 2008 1:30:47 PM

I agree with Procton on this point, Jacob Hester would be a great pick. I would like to see him in at RB on 4 wide sets. He is a hard runner, that moves a pile. Plus, he is a good receiver. LSU used him in many sets i.e. fullback and tailback, where he ran short routes and long routes.

I think that people have to remember that teams are built through the draft and not free agency. I don't want to see this team go into free agency spending huge money on average and/or old players. I have said this a million times, some bad draft picks that Hurney and Fox have made are coming around to hurt this team.

P.S. ESPN ranked Jake Delhomme's Super Bowl as the 16th greatest by a QB.

Posted by: Steven | Jan 22, 2008 1:58:24 PM

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