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June 17, 2008

Answering your Panthers questions

    Noticed some interesting questions on the last blog, and I now "pronounce myself pleased" to speak on a couple (sorry).

    First, I think Ben was wondering about the new safety, Charles Godfrey. Given the fact that we usually watch practice from a two-field distance, it's often hard to get the same grasp on players that training camp (where we're merely a fence away) offers.  But several players have gone out of their way to offer positive comments on Godfrey, and don't forget that Nate Salley is also back after being injured all of last year. Also, Ken Lucas said the coaches have simplified things for CG, given his rookie status.

         On Peppers, no reporter has a clue to what he's currently thinking, because he declined to talk to the media at any point during OTAs despite all our nagging of the media staff. Personally, I believe he will have a huge season. Every great player is entitled to an off- year, and Peppers obviously had one a year ago (2.5 sacks, despite the fact that coaches always say sacks are overrated, is unacceptable). Let's give him a mulligan and see how he does in 2008.

          As for the new guys, in addition to Godfrey, I like what I've seen of WR D.J. Hackett, and my sleeper pick, guard Toniu Fonoti (I'm hoping to learn how to spell that without looking at the roster by midseason) has impressed the guys he's playing with. He seems to have his weight under control, although he is still one huge man at 340-plus, I would guess. A fellow Panther shook his head and said of Fonoti, "That guy's simply a beast."

    Enjoy your summer, guys, and we'll be stopping by when we think of something to say.

      

-- Stan Olson

Posted by Observer Sports on June 17, 2008 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

Comments

How can we enjoy our summer without any Panther News? I hope you have something to say about three times a day! Here is a start, I feel we have improved the team over all but I a worried about the D-line.
What was the feeling from you and the staff about the d-line, will we have a pass rush and can we stop the run?
I will have more questions in about 4 hours.

Posted by: Roger | Jun 17, 2008 12:41:50 PM

Roger is correct! How can I enjoy my summer with no Panthers news? Anyways, the team has been vastly improved over last season and I called it myself as well, Toniu Fonoti should be the starting RG. Our offensive line is the most essential improvement of them all. I am still wanting to know what happened to LaBrandon Toefield and our D-line does seem to be the weak point of the entire team but coverage should bring some sacks and the run should be stuffed fairly consistently with the excellent LBs we have. I'm too excited!

Posted by: HYPEMAN | Jun 17, 2008 1:29:00 PM

Roger, I think the d-line will be fine. I like Tyler Brayton's chances of being an effective DE in a new situation where he's not always changing positions, and there's a decent chance that either Stanley McClover or Charles Johnson will figure it out and make a great leap forward.
Hypeman, we won't know just how effective Toefield will be until we see him in pads, but the coaches feel he has a lot of potential. I have a feeling we'll be writing more about him...

Posted by: stan olson | Jun 17, 2008 2:43:00 PM

"We'll be stopping by when we think of something to say" ???

22 newsroom layoffs and they're still paying three people to write one football article or blog post a month. This is why the sports page is thinner than a bazooka joe comic.

Posted by: Another Idiot | Jun 17, 2008 2:49:26 PM

As an Eagles fan who also watched a ton of Bears games last year I chuckled when Darwin Walker was picked up as he was terrible for both teams the last two years. Do you think there is a REALISTIC chance that he will get on the field this year?? Who do you project as the starters, and is that one of the weakest links on the team?

Posted by: Greg | Jun 17, 2008 2:49:48 PM

I forgot about LaBrandon Toefield way to bring that up HYPEMAN!
I have another small question Stan: This is John Kasays' 18th season and he has had some horrific injuries. Who much does he have in the tank? Does he still suffer pain in his injured kneecap? Can this English kicker kick a field goal? I love Kasay and I don't want him to leave the team but old is old. How did they both look in camp?
I would like to add, Stan, I know guys take a lot of heat from us fans but we do enjoy the blog, please keep it coming.

Posted by: Roger | Jun 17, 2008 3:03:22 PM

And how about for future reference when discussing a CB's comments on the secondary, we dont use the acronym CG for Charles Godfrey... (to avoid confusion with Chris Gamble).

Posted by: JT | Jun 17, 2008 4:03:10 PM

Greg, the projected starters at DT should be Maake Kemoeatu and Damione Lewis. All we're asking of Walker and our other FA pickup, Ian Scott, is to stay healthy and give us some depth in the DT rotation. Ideally we would want Walker to give us some interior pass rush. I haven't seen him play like you have, but his career sack totals seem to say that at his best he can rush the QB pretty well for a DT. I would say though that DT will not be one of the stronger positions on the team, possibly our greatest weakness depending on how the O-Line comes together and how Jake's arm holds up.

Posted by: Haywood Jablowmi | Jun 17, 2008 5:11:29 PM

JT.....would you mind just spelling out your name for us? Ya know...so we don't get you confused with Joe Thomas...

Posted by: abbreviation | Jun 17, 2008 5:48:41 PM

You are absolutely right Stan... "everyone deserves a second chance." However, "one rotten apple will spoil the bunch!" Last year it was Kris Jenkins. This year, despite all the new faces and energy, the lone rotted apple held over from last year can end up bringing the rest of the team down with him.

I'm basing this on the fact that any underdog will tell you that attitude is everything... and that those attitudes can be contagious! So IF he is still indeed DRAGGING HIS FEET in practice, then he will most likely drag many of his team-mates down with him.

Therefore, IF THIS IS THE CASE with Peppers, it's best to get rid of him and get what you can while you can instead of risking what might be a Superbowl run season in order to keep your billboard name.

To further reinforce this point, Bill Bellicheat is a managerial genius when it comes to roster talent (and many professionals agree). Frankly the guy sickens me and it pains me to compliment him in any way, but "it is what it is." Anyway, would he keep a player like Peppers around (with a huge salary cap figure and/or subpar attitude)?? Just ask Glenn, Law, etc., etc...

Posted by: SYRPIS | Jun 17, 2008 6:10:49 PM

I sure hope we do not have to go all summer without our daily fix of Panther news. My mind will stagnet - stagnat - go blank. It's already began. Aargh. As always, GO CATS!

Posted by: iamhubby | Jun 17, 2008 7:31:03 PM

SYRPIS, Belichick and the Patriots gave Richard Seymore his big payday, what 2 summers ago? And if I remember correctly, he held out of training camp for a few days.

I wouldn't consider those guys that you were mentioning bad apples. Those were guys that were just wanting to get theirs.....Just like Urlacher is doing right now in Chicago. Would you call him a bad apple?

If Peppers has another season like last year (which I think he won't), then yes, hind sight is 20/20 and we should have traded him when we had a chance and get SOMETHING out of him.

And I would not really consider Peppers a bad apple just because he had an off year last year. I mean even though the guy doesn't say alot, he is a leader and other guys look up to, and follow him. I am not much of a betting guy, but if I did, I would definately put some down on Peppers having a great year (12+ sacks). The guy is what, 6'8, 285 lbs, and as fast as you know what, coming into a contract year? If a new contract and playing on a Super Bowl bound team doesn't motivate someone then I don't think anything else will.

The way I look at it is this, Peppers HAS to have a great year next year "if" he wants top market value and wants to be resigned by the Panthers. I believe Peppers would rather retire than play somewhere else other than Carolina, which could even mean retiring next summer. John Fox HAS to win this year, meaning at least the Playoffs if not a win or 2 deep, "if" he wants to keep his job.

So, basically we have all of our "chips" as well as next years 1st rounder invested in this this season. If we do what we should, everyone will be satisfied and no one will be cleaning thier locker out. If we don't, we won't see Peppers or possibly Gross here next year and we surely won't be seeing Fox.

This is Pepper's year to step up for this Franchise and be the player that we drafted him to be whether he wants it to be, or not. Our future is in his hands.

Posted by: rhackney | Jun 17, 2008 9:20:59 PM

*our future: Meaning the Panther's future

Posted by: rhackney | Jun 17, 2008 9:24:13 PM

Another Idiot,
when would you prefer we take vacation? During the season? The Panthers are on vacation as well, but we've got a good bit of stuff left in the tank to help you guys make it to training camp...

Posted by: stan olson | Jun 17, 2008 9:59:01 PM

Good points rhackney. Thanks

Posted by: SYRPIS | Jun 17, 2008 11:37:08 PM

Rhys Lloyd is a good placekicker as well as a kickoff specialist. He has a great leg, and was NFL Europe's final leading scorer last year while also tying an NFL record with a 56-yarder.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jun 17, 2008 11:38:16 PM

Must be an NFL Europe record, NFL record is 63 if im not mistaken.

And Stan, don't feel like you have to defend yourself from these "idiots." If they're really having seizures from lack of news coming from this blog, they need to get a life. Or at least a baseball team.

Posted by: Christian | Jun 18, 2008 3:48:03 AM

Hey Stan I've got a question.

Is it true that the 3rd guy pictured above is a clone produced from your's and Chandler's DNA? Because he really does look like a combination of the two of you guys.

Posted by: Randy | Jun 18, 2008 7:41:32 AM

Yes, Rhys Lloyd's 56-yarder was an NFL Europa league record. Aside from that, he's got a fairly lackluster career. Banged around from Baltimore to Greey Bay to the Frankfurt Galaxy and back to Baltimore before being claimed off waivers by Carolina. He's had more time on practice squads and preseason rosters prior to cutdown than actual active playing time.

Still, he's got a booming kickoff. He had made some long field goals. And with Kasay always struggling on kickoff distance, I think Lloyd was picked up to help them in that area. What will be interesting is to see if they keep him and carry two kickers on the roster rather than using his spot for an extra lineman, RB or LB, like Fox has done in the past.

Personally, I think the Panthers need a strong shot-in-the-arm to boost their special teams play. And it starts with kickoff distance. So having Lloyd on the roster just as a kickoff specialist might be a roster spot well-spent.

But that's just my two-cents,
--Neil

Posted by: NSpicer | Jun 18, 2008 7:42:12 AM

No prob SYRPIS.

I totally agree Neil that our not so special teams needs a boost. I am tired of watching Kasey kickoff and the ball land somewhere around the 5 or 10 yard line. Having the other team return the ball to the 35 yard line really kills our momentum after a scoring drive. It's almost like 2 first downs and the other team is already in field goal range. Plus it never really gives our defense a chance to "pin their ears back" and attack the QB and apply preasure when they are deep in their own territory.

I never thought Kasay was an adequate kickoff option even before the Super Bowl. Very rarely did the ball ever make it in the endzone on the fly. We need someone who can really drill it and make the other team second guess a return when we kickoff.

Posted by: rhackney | Jun 18, 2008 8:25:48 AM

Stan,
Here's some ideas to keep you busy:
There's 53 guys that will make the final roster and around 70 currently signed. Pick two each week and write an article about them. How about a "Where are they now?" article on some Panthers that aren't here any more? What's Mike Minter doing these days? Has anybody called up Jonathan Stewart and asked him what he's doing while he can't practice? Put in some tape and diagram out a couple of the Panthers' favorite plays from last season and write an article on that. Track down Julius Peppers' mom in Bailey, NC and ask her what he said when he talked to her last season. How about an article on what players buy for their impoverished parents once they get their signing bonus?

Posted by: Another Idiot | Jun 18, 2008 9:10:13 AM

Hey another idiot...how 'bout you look that stuff up and get back to us. I myself would rather the guys take a break in the summer as opposed to during the season. Let us know what kind of info you were able to dig up. Thanks in advance!

Posted by: that guy | Jun 18, 2008 10:38:50 AM

I feel that this is the most talented panther team ever and with a coach like belechick or dungy they would go deep in the playoffs. i hope im wrong but i have little confidence in fox and his staff. trdo and crossman are terrible.i see no imagination in their planning.the game has passed fox by. in todays game you use the spread offense with 3 and 4 receiver sets to set up the run.all the teams run it now.if the defense brings in 5 dbs to stop the pass , then you pound the ball.defenses are too sophisticated for teams to run the 3 yards and a cloud of dust philosophy.dont even get me started on how unmotivated this team has been. that goes directly to the head coach.i just hope the talent level offsets the coaching deficiencies. on def they should be running a lot of 3/4 with all the talent at l.b and a thin def line,but they wont.fox just cant adjust.

Posted by: ray | Jun 18, 2008 10:59:17 AM

I feel that this is the most talented panther team ever and with a coach like belechick or dungy they would go deep in the playoffs. i hope im wrong but i have little confidence in fox and his staff. trdo and crossman are terrible.i see no imagination in their planning.the game has passed fox by. in todays game you use the spread offense with 3 and 4 receiver sets to set up the run.all the teams run it now.if the defense brings in 5 dbs to stop the pass , then you pound the ball.defenses are too sophisticated for teams to run the 3 yards and a cloud of dust philosophy.dont even get me started on how unmotivated this team has been. that goes directly to the head coach.i just hope the talent level offsets the coaching deficiencies. on def they should be running a lot of 3/4 with all the talent at l.b and a thin def line,but they wont.fox just cant adjust.

Posted by: ray | Jun 18, 2008 10:59:18 AM

That guy,
Are you Stan using a fake name or are you just wanting to save money by not having to buy the Observer during the summer months? They've got three guys covering one off-season sport and only writing a few hundred words a week. I think they need to earn their paychecks and justify the price of a subscription to their customers.

Posted by: Another Idiot | Jun 18, 2008 11:11:24 AM

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