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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


Yeah I think Beuerlein has to be on the list of top 15.

Posted by: Chuck Bell | Oct 27, 2008 8:11:50 PM

Hey Beuerlein stepped in following the Kerry Collins debacle, and immediately pulled the Panthers together. Wasn't his quote: "there's a new sheriff in town." He certainly was... despite that no one was going to save us from Seifert's stupidity....

Posted by: Ashe | Oct 27, 2008 8:44:47 PM

U R CRAZY...how can you NOT have Hoover in here...the guy has been stand up, class personified, he's from NC and has probably been the only guy outside of Kasay to have the most stabilizing force in the locker room since he's been a Panther. He will wear one jersey and is as unselfish a player this has head, sticking his head in there for a number of running backs who have come and gone in his tenure. When called upon he's always there picking up neccessary yardage, never making the bone headed mistakes. I bet if you were to ask Fox, he'd have Brad in the Top 15.

Posted by: catdawgman | Oct 27, 2008 9:54:28 PM

Fox hasn't been here long enough to speak of some of the other top 15 players in the Panthers history.

Posted by: Bryan Sweeney | Oct 28, 2008 12:06:49 AM

1. Stephen Davis 2. Jake 3. Smitty 4. Moose 5. Mills 6. Minter 7. Rucker 8. Greene 9. Walls 10. Beurlein 11. Peppers 12. Michael Bates 13. Kasay 14. Hoover 15. Jordan Gross

Posted by: matt | Oct 28, 2008 9:24:05 AM

No disrespect to Stephen Davis and what he did for the Panthers, but I think I would put Mike Minter on the list instead of Davis.

Posted by: PETER ETIENNE | Oct 28, 2008 9:41:59 AM

I dont know, a strong argument could be made that no panther in the teams history had the impact stephen davis had even if it was for just one season.

Posted by: matt | Oct 28, 2008 10:14:23 AM

Hoover is nothing special and doesn't deserve to be in the top 15.

Posted by: Joe | Oct 28, 2008 11:31:04 AM

if he is nothing special, how has he been around so long?

Posted by: matt | Oct 28, 2008 11:40:44 AM

I tend to think of it in terms of...knowing what you know now about those particular players...which of them would you be willing to spend a 1st round draft pick on to have them on your team (Panthers, fantasy football, or whatever). Then, rank them in the order of importance to you.

I hate to say it...but as much as I like Brad Hoover...I wouldn't draft him ahead of the other 15 players on the list. Jon Beason, on the other hand, maybe. I'd certainly take him over Dan Morgan...again, given all that we know now about these players.

My two-cents,

Posted by: NSpicer | Oct 28, 2008 12:41:36 PM

And for what it's worth, I took Kris Jenkins and Dan Morgan off the list Charles put together and selected Steve Beurlein and Eric Davis instead. I just think those two guys were more instrumental in the development of the Panthers during the team's early years than Morgan and Jenkins managed to do during their stint with us.


Posted by: NSpicer | Oct 28, 2008 12:48:14 PM

I don't know, both Morgan and Jenkins were pivotal members of the only team the Panthers have ever had that reached the Super Bowl. Plus Jenkins went to multiple pro bowls, one of only a couple Panthers to do so. Before his injuries, Jenkins was named the best DT in the entire league. Hard not to put a guy like that in your top 15.

Just my opinion though.

Posted by: Mason | Oct 28, 2008 3:07:32 PM

Beurlein only had 2.5 seconds to throw most (if not all) of the time. He ran a West Coast offense, which takes more game management skills then the current status quo. Let's not overlook the fact that he never had a running game to help take pressure off of the pass attack. In fact, it was the passing game that helped open things up for the run.

His toughness was best described by Kevin Greene, who called him an old-fashioned warrior. He had about seven surgeries after his first season as a starter (he held off during the season and played through his injuries): two of which were in this throwing shoulder. He followed that up with about another three after his second season as a starter; again having to go back into his throwing shoulder.

In fact, the first time the Panthers made a deep run into the playoffs (1996), Beurlein was the one that stepped in for Kollins (when he had some kind of obscure injury when facing a tough oppenent) and pulled out the wins. If you doubt that, just over one season later, Kollins asked to be benched because his "heart is not in the game." Beurlein was (and unfortunately remains) one of the most underrated QB's in Panther history; if not NFL history.

Note: I am glad to see Kollins enjoy his current successes, but I always thought he got all the credit when others should have (ie- Kollins is to Beurlein what Delhomme has been to Stephen Davis). Just...

Posted by: Keeping It Real | Oct 28, 2008 3:29:32 PM

If there's an argument for Beuerlein, I think the transition from 2000 to 2001 shows just how much he was holding the team together. With a mediocre offensive line, an old and worn out defense, no reliable running attack to speak of, and truly feckless coaching, Beuerlein won eight and seven games in his two years as the full time starter, and in 1999 was held out of the playoffs only by a blizzard in Pittsburgh. On the 2000 team, he managed to throw for 3,730 yards and a 79 QB rating, despite getting sacked a whopping 62, over 1 out of every 10 times he dropped back.

With largely the same team the next year, Chris Weinke, who later proved himself a decent backup, went 1-15 and set the NFL record for consecutive losses.

Beuerlein absolutely belongs in the top 15 list. I'd move Dan Morgan or Michael Bates out to make room for him.

Posted by: BullCityDog | Oct 28, 2008 4:11:12 PM

I truly think that Jake Delhomme should be ranked behind Julius Peppers and Steve Smith. No lower than that. The man is a living legend, and without him the Panthers would be nowhere. They would have never made the 03 Super Bowl without him. Same for Beuerlein, except that his supporting cast was so horrible that they would have never gone anywhere. Lucky for us we have John Fox. He's an excellent coach, and he might have made a Super Bowl or two if John Fox was there and gave him a decent supporting cast.

Posted by: Revshawn | Oct 28, 2008 4:54:49 PM

Amy the PSL holder,
If you're so upset that Jake 'slams the ball on the turf' then don't go to the games. In fact, disappear!
Jake is a competitor who is emotional. He is the number 1 player in franchise history not because of his stats or his popularity but because of his ability to WIN GAMES. And if you think that is silly, his playoff record is 5-2 with two NFC title game appearances. The list of QB's that have gotten their teams that far twice is not that long.
Also look at the Panthers this year as opposed to last year!
It is fans like Amy that give Charlotte a lot less credibility than it deserves. I bet you sit at the games and yell at people to sit down in front of you.

Posted by: Thomas | Oct 28, 2008 6:55:51 PM

Another vote for Beurline here.

Dan Morgan? one week in, three weeks out, two weeks in, four out. How many times did we see him run out that tunnel for a "return to glory" just to see him go out five plays later? I wish he could have played every down of his career but he didn't.

And Jake should be in top 5 forever with Smith because without each other neither is the same.

Posted by: Joe | Oct 29, 2008 7:16:07 AM

There is NO question that Hoover is in the top 15. If I'm not mistaken, it was Davis who paid for Hoover and his family's trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl after the 2003 season, stating that he couldn't have done it without him. And, wasn't it Deangelo Williams two years ago that said, "Brad Hoover. Best fullback in the NFL."? If these two high-powered running backs speak so highly of him, he's been around as long as he has, does exactly what he's called upon to do - and then some, and is a role model for ALL - players and fans alike...then how is he NOT amongst the top 15? It's a no-brainer.

Posted by: buck | Oct 29, 2008 9:59:15 AM

When Jake got his pants ripped against Falcons and used tape to fix em. Now that is tough.

Posted by: JoePro | Oct 29, 2008 1:15:43 PM

Joe, Delhomme is fully capable of being a great quarterback without Smith. See 2004, when he was in the top 7 in the league for both passing yardage when Smith played only half a game.

Uhh...buck, ALL running backs credit their FBs (and their o lines, while we're at it.) Hoover's been a longtime contributor, but if you just took the word of their running backs, there'd be 32 HoF fullbacks in the league right now.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Oct 29, 2008 1:44:54 PM

The same people who leave Buerlein off this list becuase "he didn't lead the team to the playoffs", are the same people who leave Dan Marino out of the Hall of Fame because "he didn't win a Super Bowl". To reduce a 22-player (or 24, or 53) team game to one person "going to the playoffs" is journalist-speak - that is to say, "idiocy".

Posted by: Charles C | Nov 1, 2008 4:28:59 AM

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