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December 31, 2008

Lloyd: Best kicker in K-ball era

Panthers kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd has made some history this season.

Lloyd's 30 touchbacks are the most in the NFL since the league began using the "K-ball" in 1999. The league introduced the K-ball -- an unused ball specifically for use by punters and kickers -- in 1999 so they couldn't gain an advantage by breaking it in too much.

Lloyd also had the second-most touchbacks in a season since the kickoff line was moved from the 35 to the 30 in 1994. That record is held by Mitch Berger (40) in 1998. The next season, using a K-ball, Berger had just 13.

Lloyd's kickoffs have had a large impact on the Panthers. Their opponents' average starting field position is the 24.7, third in the league. That follows a 29.0-yard line starting point in 2007 when John Kasay handled the kickoff duties, 19th in the league.

The Panthers had four touchbacks in all of 2007. Kasay had one of them ;Lloyd had the other three when he signed for the last game of the season. -- David Scott   


Posted by Observer Sports on December 31, 2008 at 02:04 PM | Permalink


Way off topic, and admittedly putting the cart waaaaay b4 the horse but...
I'm already thinking about the draft. Do guys have any ideas about what we should be looking for?

I'm thinking DT, WR, CB (Sorry Ken Lucas) I'm also wondering what the plan is for QB of the future. I figure Jake has 3 or 4 years left tops. Fox doesn't want to draft a rookie to play immediately, what happens when Jake gets to the end of his career?

Posted by: rawjem | Dec 31, 2008 3:31:13 PM

I agree with you on drafting DT, WR, CB, I would also draft another OL, TE, and this would be for backup security measures. our TE's are not living up to to anything right now. they should be our main 3rd down threat..

Posted by: rjackson | Dec 31, 2008 3:47:12 PM

Do they keep Rhys after signing Kasay to that extension?

Posted by: Keeping It Real | Dec 31, 2008 3:58:27 PM

DT and WR should be what we focus on first. CB position maybe but Richard Marshall will fill that void well I think.

As far as WR, I would love to see UNC's Hakeem Nicks in a Panther uniform.

Posted by: Brandon | Dec 31, 2008 3:59:52 PM

Depending on what happens with resigning Julius Peppers and Jordan Gross, the Panthers may need to draft a LT or DE as well. If they resign them both, I'll be surprised. Assuming they keep Peppers, they should have Wharton or Otah that they can put at LT. That means they need to find another quality LG or RT. And it's important that they keep the O-line stocked so the "Double Trouble" boys can keep having success.

Aside from that, I agree DT, WR, and CB are areas of need. Personally, I think we're fairly good at TE. No major blocking TE's in our crop, but Jeff King's getting the job done. If there's a blocking TE available via free agency or that we can skim when other teams start cutting down their rosters next year, that might be a more worthwhile way of getting one than looking in the draft.

Just my two-cents,

Posted by: NSpicer | Dec 31, 2008 4:06:10 PM

Additionally...and just get back on topic...I think Rhys Lloyd is a keeper. John Kasay, too. So that's a roster spot we're going to have to give up that might otherwise have gone to a lineman or a DB or an extra LB or RB.

To quote Fox, though...it is what it is...and frankly, Rhys Lloyd is the best special teams weapon the Panthers have right now. Unless they develop the skills of our special teamers beyond what they are right now (and given our seeming lack of coaching expertise in that area, that seems unlikely)...Lloyd's got to stay. His numbers and success from this season easily justify it.

Another two-cents,

Posted by: NSpicer | Dec 31, 2008 4:09:36 PM

Neil, you say "no major blocking TE's in our crop," but I beg to differ with you.

Watch in our next game, when you see 47 and 88 line up next to each other to Jeff Otah's right -- that bunch formation has resulted in an amazing number of holes for Brad Hoover to go through, and for DeAngelo Williams to follow.

Dante Rosario hasn't caught many passes since the miracle at San Diego -- but he's turning himself into a valuable blocker. Together with Jeff King, he's Double Trouble blocking up front, and to the second level.

TE is one position we're set at. And I still think that this year's seasoning for Gary Barnidge, on Special Teams, will show good results for us next year, too.

But back to the topic -- great decision by the coaches to sign Rhys Lloyd, and use him as the ultra-valuable specialist he's turned into. He is the K-ball King!

Posted by: bigdavis | Dec 31, 2008 5:47:40 PM

The Panthers will get both Gross and Peppers back because neither wants to leave and both will accept a home team discount to stay. We are good at TE. King and Rasario have quietly been nursing injuries for most of the season which has slowed them down. We also have Gary Barnidge as third TE. He has speed, can catch and can block and has a lot of potential. He will get more playing time next year. Needs in the off season will be depth on both lines especially D, a corner to compete with Lucas and another WR that can catch.

Posted by: Jim | Dec 31, 2008 5:47:45 PM

our offense isnt really set up to give the tight ends a lot of catches. i like our t.es.depending on what happens with peppers and gross and free agency we always have to pick the best avail football player.off and def linemen seem to be the safest draft picks. w.r and c.b seem to be the biggest gamble in a draft. i do feel that lucas has got to go.hopefully we can keep gross and peppers both and resructure some contracts and maybe even pick up a c.b and a 3rd receiver.if not i would feel pretty comfy with the team we have .the def is o.k. we just need a def coordinator . trdo sucks.

Posted by: ray | Dec 31, 2008 8:33:04 PM


I hear you. And you bring up a good point. But when you see Jeff King and Dante Rosario bunched up next to Jeff Otah, that's an overload blocking scheme to that side of the ball. You bring Brad Hoover through as a lead blocker and Deangelo (or Stewart) is going to find some huge holes over there whether the TE's are involved that much or not. Or rather, the point I'm making is that neither of those TE's have to be all that effective as blockers to contribute to opening those holes.

Instead, if you just look at their individual skillsets, Rosario and Barnidge are far more suited as pass-catching TE's than blocking TE's. Originally, Jeff King was that way, too, when he joined the team. But he's improved on his blocking because of the amount of experience he has in the league now. King is still a better pass-catcher than blocker. But he's got a decent enough mix (and veteran experience) that he's the preferred starter at TE because of it.

Even so, if you look across the league at other TEs, you'll find several who are equal in pass-catching ability to our guys...but better blockers. And you'll also find some that are better blockers than route-runners and pass-catchers. It varies by guy. Just like it varies for our guys. But regardless, I still contend that our TEs are pass-catchers first...and blockers second. King is serviceable right now as a blocker. And by lining up next to someone like Otah (and Vincent, previously), they could collectively bulldoze that side of the line for Deangelo and Jonathan Stewart. They could do it even better if we had a bigger, blocking TE on the roster.

But I don't think that's going to be a primary need addressed by the Panthers anytime soon (via the draft or free agency). That's because all three of our TEs are good enough athletes, we'll want to keep them around if at all possible. With that being the case, the important thing is that they get coached up really well on how to block more effectively for our run-oriented offense.

Just my two-cents,

Posted by: NSpicer | Jan 1, 2009 1:40:08 PM

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