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October 31, 2008

Sporting News Honors Beason, Kasay

The Sporting News has named two Panthers players, middle linebacker Jon Beason and kicker John Kasay, to its midseason all-pro team.

Beason,  who was just named NFC defensive player of the month for October, was named by The Sporting News an inside linebacker on its first half team along with San Francisco's Patrick Willis. Both entered the league last season as first-round picks.

Kasay, 39, is off to one of the hottest starts of his NFL career. He has made 16-of-16 field goal attempts and 18-of-18 extra points. It was announced this week that he signed a four-year contract extension.

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on October 31, 2008 at 09:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (17)

Beason: NFC Defensive Player Of Month

Panthers linebacker Jon Beason, in only his second pro season, was named NFC defensive player of the month for October.

He's the first Panthers player to win the award since defensive end Julius Peppers in October 2006. The only other Carolina linebacker to be so honored was Sam Mills in November of 1995 and '96.

Beason helped the Panthers to a 3-1 record in October to put them at 6-2 going into this weekend's bye.

He led the defense in October with 37 tackles and two interceptions, one of which he returned 44 yards in last Sunday's 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on October 31, 2008 at 01:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (36)

October 29, 2008

Terms of Kasay's deal (best guess)

Neither Panthers kicker John Kasay, who represents himself and doesn't have an agent, nor general manager Marty Hurney would divulge details of Kasay's new four-year contract extension.

But the average annual payout for the NFL's top five highest paid kickers is around $2.496 million, so it would be safe to assume that Kasay's pay over the next four years will be somewhere close to $10 million, give or take a million or so.

The fifth highest-paid kicker is Atlanta's  Jason Elam, who signed a four-year, $9 million deal ($2.25 million per year) with the Atlanta Falcons in the offseason.

The top-paid kicker is St. Louis' Josh Brown ($2.84 million per year).

Kasay's new deal runs through 2012.

His salary this season under his old contract was $1.5 million.

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on October 29, 2008 at 04:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (13)

Kasay signs extension

Kicker John Kasay signed a four-year contract extension with the Panthers, the team announced today.

Kasay, 39 and the last of the original Panthers, is the franchise's all-time leading scorer and passed Jan Stenerud last week for eighth place on the NFL's all-time field goal list with 374.

"We are very pleased to know that John is going to remain a Carolina Panther," said general manager Marty Hurney. "He has meant so much to the organization and is valuable in many ways."

Kasay has made 21 straight field goals over two seasons, one away from his personal record. -- David Scott

Posted by Observer Sports on October 29, 2008 at 02:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (49)

October 27, 2008

More on top 15: Four who just missed


Beuerlein might be Panthers toughest QB ever.

After compiling a list of the Top 15 players in Panthers history to earmark the franchise’s 15th birthday, here’s a look at four more players who narrowly missed being in the rankings. They are listed here alphabetically:

  JON BEASON, linebacker – If he keeps playing the way he has his first season and a half, Beason will easily rank among the Top 15. He’s already the leader of the defense and is playing like a Pro Bowler. He was left off primarily because his career is just beginning.

STEVE BEUERLEIN, quarterback (above) – If only he’d had the chance to play behind an offensive line as good as the one the Panthers have this year. Beuerlein was as tough as quarterbacks come, and he needed to be considering how often he was hit. He was a true leader and ranks second behind Jake Delhomme in team history in passing yards (12,690) and touchdown passes (86). However, he never led the team to the playoffs.

I also found the past few days that Beuerlein has strong support from Panthers fans. Here’s what longtime PSL holder Amy McNelis had to say in an e-mail suggesting Beuerlein should have made the Top 15 list:

“One MAMMOTH exclusion was the BEST LEADER this team has ever had. … He never pointed fingers or threw the football down in disgust. That man took more hits than any other Panther quarterback and kept a positive spirit and, most importantly, had the respect of his fellow players on and off the field. I truly feel that excluding him from your list was wrong.”

ERIC DAVIS, cornerback – He had five interceptions for five consecutive seasons (1996-2000) and was the leader of the defense, helping train safety Mike Minter to take over that role after he left. Davis brought a winning mentality when he joined the Panthers as an unrestricted free agent in ’96 from
San Francisco, where he had won Super Bowl championships and learned from Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott.

LAMAR LATHON, linebacker – At his best, Lathon was a pass-rushing terror and one of the most athletically gifted outside linebackers in the NFL. However, his only stellar season was 1996, when he finished second in the league with 13 ½ sacks and teamed with Kevin Greene to form a pass-rushing combo nicknamed “Salt & Pepper.” The year before, in ’95, Lathon was a bit of an underachiever (eight sacks). Knee injuries limited him to two sacks in ’97 and ended his career prematurely in ’98. 

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on October 27, 2008 at 05:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (21)

Fox Q&A

Here's the transcript from coach John Fox's Monday news conference as the Panthers head into the bye week with a 6-2 record and hanging on to first place in the NFC South:

Q. Injury update?

"No updates on injuries. We had no new injuries from the Arizona game. As it relates to the guys who were hobbled, it's a good time for them to get healed. We'll update you when we get back to work next Wednesday."

Q. Are you relatively confident Jeff Otah and Ryan Kalil will be ready for Oakland?

"As relatively confident as you can be."

Q. How's Darwin Walker, who was in a car wreck Saturday?

"He's got got some soft muscle tissue soreness. We're lucky it wasn't more serious than it is. He was just a little too stiff and sore Saturday night and again Sunday morning when he woke up. He didn't sleep too well, either. I don't know the exact damage of the car, but it wasn't just a fender bender. It was a wreck, a pretty serious accident. I don't want to go into too much detail, but it wasn't on the interstate. It was close to the stadium."

Q. Are you pleased with how the first half of the season's gone?

"We're on the road to a final destination. We're just on the path and we haven't gotten lost. We're on target; on schedule. We definitely haven't gotten there yet. We're halfway there."

Q. What have you liked about this team?

"We've played as a team. When one side has struggled, the other side has come through in all three phases. We're starting to see us playing as a team. We're on target and on schedule but we have work to do."

Q. Some of the players talked about how physical practice was last week. How do you balance working them hard enough, but not so that they get beat up?

"It's like a two-minute drill right before halftime. We tell them they need to step it up a little bit before you get your break at halftime."

Q. Would you rather have the bye after eight games like this or earlier in the season?

"If I was voting on it, it's be like this all the time. But that's now how it really works. I think it's an ideal time, but sometimes it might not be ideal. You might be really healthy and on a roll. It come at a good time at game 4 if you've got a bunch of injuries. It's unpredictable."

Q. Has Jonathan Stewart's playing time lessened because of how well DeAngelo Williams is playing or is he just having a tougher time?

"You guys keep trying to separate them. We look at them kind of together. The running position, they've both played well. Nobody on this team has played perfectly; I don't think we've coached perfectly. They're both fine players and we're pleased with them."

Q. Did you think Steve Smith's foot came down out of bounds on his long touchdown play?

"No. It looked like (his heel) was in the air to me and it never touched anything. I think the officials concurred. Again, they're not going to catch every little detail, even with replay. But it was a great effort on Steve's part. He's done a lot of remarkable things in my tenure and probably did before I got here. He's extremely competitive and very gifted. He comes to play."

Q. What do you need to do to be successful the rest of the season?

"Stay healthy. Continue to work hard. Not get complacent. That's probably what a lot of other coaches are saying right about now, bye or no bye."

Q. Are you pleased with Jake Delhomme's play?

"Like other things, he's on schedule. I can say that positionally on both sides of the ball. There's a lot of room for improvement. We haven't arrived yet, but we're on schedule."

Q. Talk about the timeout you called before the Cardinals' fake field goal near the end of the half. It wasn't 12 men on the field (like against Minnesota) again, was it?

"No, it wasn't too many guys. I told you I'd get that right eventually. It actually was a time issue. We didn't want to get time run off the clock. It was actually kind of goofy how it happened. We were trying to get 15 seconds back and get the ball back with time. We thought they'd rewind the clock (which had malfunctioned at the time). When they OK'd that, that's when they called the fake field goal."

Q. Charles Godfrey, who made the tackle on the play, said he thought the Cardinals had called timeout and had called the fake then.

"I'm not really sure. It kind of looked like they didn't realize we had called timeout. It was hard for our players to keep track because of the clock malfunction. They weren't really sure. But it was us that called the timeout. I'm sure glad (Godfrey) was tipped off. Whether it was our timeout or not, I'm glad he knew it. It was a big swing."

Posted by Observer Sports on October 27, 2008 at 01:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (30)

October 26, 2008

Answering your post-game questions

Is it time for the bandwagon/media storm? Or will this team keep flying under the radar?

Posted by: PantherGuyFan | Oct 26, 2008 4:28:14 PM

PGF: The more they win, the more they'll start being covered by the national media. ESPN's Website and Yahoo have had writers at Panthers games for the past few games. I heard Steve Smith on ESPN radio last week. They'll get their due, don't worry. -- David

Did you guys have Mark Jones listed as inactive at one point today? I KNOW I saw him listed. Then later he was replaced with Kenneth Moore.

Posted by: Bill | Oct 26, 2008 4:30:56 PM

Bill: My bad on the Mark Jones/Kenneth Moore thing. It was corrected to Moore being inactive. -- David

Will you please ask John Fox why he didnt call a timeout on Arizona's first TD play. Thomas Davis was one-on-one with Bouldin, someone should have seen that and called a timeout to get into a different coverage. I know Davis has speed and is decent in coverage, but its still a matchup that heavily favored Arizon, I'd just like to know why Fox felt good about that defense they were in

Posted by: matt | Oct 26, 2008 4:33:24 PM

Matt: Didn't get a chance to ask Fox about this. Don't know if it was a blown call or coverage or what. But, you're right, it wasn't a good matchup for the Panthers. -- David

Do you get the feeling that even though Jake Delhomme at qb does make a few mistakes, he with his ability to rise to the occassion under the gun and produce positive results more often then not, is moving into that upper level of respectability among NFL quarterbacks?

Posted by: Kobe | Oct 26, 2008 4:53:23 PM

Kobe: Good luck with your NBA MVP aspirations this season. Yes, Jake will begin to get his due.  He's not making many mistakes these days, if you've noticed, and his QB rating on Sunday was better than Kurt Warner's.

Two Quick Questions:

1. How is Jarrett? He seemed to be in some pain following that 3rd down reception.

2. Is our pass D not as good as the statistic showed before this game, or was it just the matchup with the three quality receivers in Boldin, Fitzgerald and Breaston that allowed over 300 passing yards and multiple TDs?

Posted by: Nate | Oct 26, 2008 5:08:03 PM

Nate: 1. Jarrett was in pain, but he said he was OK after the game. Three really good receivers -- Fitzgerald is a GREAT one, actually -- plus lots of pass attempts from a QB like Warner is going to equal lots of yards. -- David

Posted by Observer Sports on October 26, 2008 at 07:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (25)

Panthers Postgame

Post your questions and comments here about the Carolina Panthers' 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals. One of the Panthers' beat writers will answer your questions later this evening.

Posted by Charlotte Observer on October 26, 2008 at 04:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (51)

Panthers (6-2) hold off Cards, in first place

   For only the third time in franchise history, the Carolina Panthers are 6-2 at the halfway point of their season.

   They rallied from a 14-point deficit in the third quarter to beat the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.

   The Panthers have a bye next week and are expected to have two injured offensive linemen, right tackle Jeff Otah and center Ryan Kalil, back for their Nov. 9 game at Oakland.

   The win coupled with Tampa Bay's 13-9 loss to Dallas Sunday left Carolina alone in first place in the NFC South. The Buccaneers fell to 5-3.

   The other two times the Panthers started out 6-2, in 2003 and '05, they reached the NFC Championship game, winning in '03 to advance to the Super Bowl and losing to Seattle in '05.

   The Panthers hopes were looking dim after Arizona took the opening second half possession and drove for a touchdown to take a 17-3 lead.

   But Carolina answered quickly, getting a 14-yard run and 13-yard pass reception to get an 80-yard drive going that culminated in Williams' 15-yard touchdown to cut the Cardinals' lead to 17-10.

   A fumble by the Cardinals set up the Panthers next score, an 18-yard pass from Jake Delhomme to Steve Smith.

   Later, Smith caught a 65-yard touchdown pass from Delhomme to put Carolina ahead for good.

   Kicker John Kasay kicked two fields to pass Hall of Famer Jan Stenerud for No. 8 on the NFL's all-time field goals made list with 374. He now has made 21 straight over the past two seasons, including 16-of-16 this year.

   -- Charles Chandler


Posted by Observer Sports on October 26, 2008 at 04:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (29)

Halftime update

Score: Cardinals 10, Panthers 3

Carolina missed a prime opportunity for a touchdown after driving to the Arizona 4 midway in the second quarter.

Wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad was wide open in the right front side of the end zone and dropped a pass from quarterback Jake Delhomme.

The Panthers weren't able to get at TD on the next two plays and wound up settling for John Kasay's 22-yard field goal.

A turnover earlier in the second period led to the only touchdown of the first half.

Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby sacked Delhomme, forced a fumble and recovered the fumble at the Carolina 5. Kurt Warner threw a 5-yard TD pass to Anquan Boldin on the next play.

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on October 26, 2008 at 02:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (22)