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January 27, 2015

Brandon LaFell: 'Shocking' how Panthers blew up 2013 playoff team

PHOENIX -- New England Patriots wideout Brandon LaFell said it was "shocking" to see how quickly the Panthers blew up a team that won 12 games and the NFC South in 2013.

LaFell was part of an offseason purge last year that saw the Panthers cut franchise receiving leader Steve Smith and let their other top three receivers leave in free agency. General manager Dave Gettleman also overhauled the secondary.

"The last meeting we had as a team, it was all the guys, all the coaches, and we were talking about how great teams win and win consistently. They build from the year they had before," LaFell said Tuesday during Super Bowl media day. "To break up the team the way they did, it was shocking."

LaFell signed with New England, where -- after a slow start he attributed in part to learning a new offense -- he finished as the Patriots' third-leading receiver (74 catches for 953 yards and 7 TDs) behind Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman.

LaFell followed the Panthers from afar as they made a late-season surge to win the South again. And while he doesn't understand why Gettleman rebuilt the roster, LaFell says he has no hard feelings.

"They didn't give me an explanation for why they did it. They didn't owe me one," he said. "I appreciate those guys drafting me and giving me an opportunity to play ball. I love those guys and wish them the best."

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on January 27, 2015 at 04:20 PM | Permalink


Amazing how the Pats started 2-2 and had a terrible pass offense, but suddenly started clicking in game 5. Maybe LaFell learned the offense that week, or maybe that's when they started deflating footballs to make them easier to catch.

Posted by: Authority | Jan 27, 2015 4:36:18 PM

hahaha - you think they deflated balls all year! Maybe for many years... LaFell did have a good year though.

The Panthers lost four guys (LaFell, Ginn, Mitchell and Captain) basically so they could pay Hardy. That didn't work out so well - and the Panthers had an up and down year because of that. Now they have young guys with experience and have money so last year was just something that happens with the salary cap.

Posted by: Dom | Jan 27, 2015 5:06:31 PM

not just that.....they paid smith to play for the ravens, beason to play (before getting injured again) for the giants, and jordan gross to retire kind of young. oh and gaffney to sit on injured reserve for the pats. and godfrey to scout for the falcons. and like 15 others.

recognizing sunk costs is one thing. paying guys to play for your opponents and do damage is a completely different thing. especially in smith's case.

the hardy decision was dumb for a multitude of reasons. it would seem reasonable to say gettleman couldn't have seen that coming, except the guy has demonstrated for years that he's a head case. you know how agents usually wait on signing that franchise tender.......not hardy's.....dude signed that thing immediately. they knew nobody was going to put up that kind of money for the guy no matter how good he is.

and it's even worse knowing that jared allen, julius peppers, and several other top flight veteran pass rushers played this season for about half the money hardy got. could have easily signed an allen, and kept EVERYBODY except hardy. just dumb.

i'm sure this offseason will clean out just about every hurney draft pick not named cam or luke. just for the sake of doing things dave's way.

Posted by: charlottean | Jan 27, 2015 6:12:32 PM

Cam is still AWFUL!

Posted by: Cam is awful | Jan 27, 2015 6:13:09 PM

Is it so hard to structure sentences properly? Who writes paragraphs without ever capitalizing?

Posted by: d | Jan 27, 2015 6:35:03 PM


Hind sight is 20/20! So get your head out of your arse and STFU!.

Posted by: Charlaton | Jan 27, 2015 6:49:42 PM

There is a reason why Hurney will never sniff another GM position.

Posted by: dave | Jan 27, 2015 7:48:03 PM

The only thing "shocking" is that LaFell is getting some playing time. He hasn't done squat. Also, Brandon, the ball just got that much harder to catch. Pats won't be able to CHEAT in the bowl.

Posted by: willy loman | Jan 27, 2015 8:31:07 PM

hindsight? run it back, i said (posted here) the same thing in JUNE chief. all summer. before the hardy charges.

lafell was solid here. he didn't have as many catches as he has, but he was always great in run blocking. you just know you effed up on a guy when the patriots see something in him. its like the spurs in the nba.

Posted by: charlottean | Jan 27, 2015 10:04:46 PM

charlottean has been saying this for a long time and everything has been true in most cases.

Posted by: A fan | Jan 28, 2015 8:56:41 AM

Who cares what Lafell thinks. Why is this even news? Move on from former players. Especially ones that did not make an impact.

Gettlemen is a cheap, conniving, POS. He will try to low ball Cam or franchise him. He will bring cheap cast offs to this team again during the off season. He will expect a full course meal to be made from left overs & scraps. He botched the whole Smith thing, he botched the Gross thing, he franchised a head case DE, he didn't give Cam any help on the offensive line, & people thing he's such a great GM.

Posted by: D.W.G. | Jan 28, 2015 9:16:22 AM

Cam is still AWFUL!

Posted by: Cam is awful | Jan 28, 2015 9:58:35 AM

I knew LaFell would greatly improve with the patriots, most players do.

A great QB that can actually throw the ball and smart coaches seem to really help.

Posted by: tony clifton | Jan 28, 2015 11:36:00 AM

Brady makes mediocre receivers look good. That's the bottom line.

Posted by: Jimcat | Jan 28, 2015 12:41:47 PM

Brady makes mediocre receivers look good. That's the bottom line.

Posted by: Jimcat | Jan 28, 2015 12:41:49 PM

Yeah, Authority, pretty cool how LaFell had his best game of the year in Week 4 without even knowing the offense!

But LaFell has always been a good receiver. During most of his time here, he was one of the best receivers in the league on a per-target basis. Just didn't get enough opportunities.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jan 28, 2015 3:52:39 PM

Charlottean, I agree with you about LaFell, in that he wasn't as bad as some made him out to be. I actually wanted him back too. But if you read Gettleman's most recent interview with Bill Voth, he explains why he couldn't bring him back for what the Pats paid him, given our cap situation, and it certainly gives a glimpse into his monetary value evaluation process. As for your analysis on Hardy, completely disagree...on all of it. He ABSOLUTELY was going to get paid by somebody, if not us. You mentioned Peppers and "other top flight pass rushers" but did you look at those contracts (specifically Peppers)? Are you, as a GM, going to pay a 35 year old a 3 year, $26 mil contract?? The answer is no. If you're dumb enough to say yes, you will learn, just like the Packers are about to, that you don't get to resign a young stud like Randall Cobb without reworking a ton of contracts to make room or risk losing your stud RT Buluga. Allen?? He's done. Who else that has both the combination of youth potential and the proven productivity? The point is, Gettleman made the right call on trying to keep Hardy because there was no way of knowing how the domestic violence stuff would blow up, given prior precedence. The Ray Rice scandal and subsequent media firestorm was unprecedented and ridiculous. But, I guess our society is now moving away from the legal process punishing crimes, now we need employers to do that for us (different soapbox for another time). Had he gotten the normal 2-4 game conduct suspension, Hardy should have still been able to play the majority of the season and there's no reason to think he wouldn't have had a productive year, which would have given Ealy a year to learn instead of being thrown to the wolves. As it turns out, it worked out better because we now know what we have in Ealy and he is going to be a solid player for years to come. As for Smitty, I've said time and time again that I could care less that he left at this point. I agree with everyone that Gettleman should have never made any comments in public about it before he talked to him first (which will serve him well when he cuts DeAngelo this off-season). Smitty was my favorite player, but he was a very divisive player according to MULTIPLE former teammates. I don't care that we paid him to play for someone else. Cam needed to become the captain of the offense just like Luke needed to become the captain of the defense. That's how it works on successful franchises. Devoid of leadership, that's the only time a player like Smith should ever have to step up to lead, in which case you're probably screwed anyway. And to bring up Beason??? Are you serious??? Homeboy's contract was awful and he hardly made it on the field even after we traded him. Sorry dude. Wrong again there. Face it, Gman got us out of a ridiculous cap situation and still managed to field back to back playoff runs. I fully support the guy. With the exception of making the early cut mistake of Gaffney and drafting Kugbila, he's killing it in the draft, so what can you say bad about his talent evaluation? I can't wait to see this team in 2 years when we actually have some cap space.

Posted by: ZB | Jan 28, 2015 4:22:02 PM

If he was so certain to get paid why did rosenhaus have him sign the tender immediately instead of pursuing trades like he does with all other top dollar clients?

After aaron hernandez, teams are more skeptical about guys that look skitzo.

What you dont understand about the cap situation and smith and beason, is that we paid those guys this year and we didn't upgrade their replacements. Smith was on our cap for 5 million and beason a lot more. We didn't save money by cutting them, we actually spent more.

People act like beason wasnt luke keuchly when he signed the contract to begin with. And smith divisive or not, was the best player in franchise history and a guy you dont pay to play elsewhere. Let him walk away? Sure, maybe. But pay him 5 million to play elsewhere at a pro bowl level? We spent the "savings" on jason avant and bretin bersin. Think about it.

Justify gettleman all you want, he tried to fix 12-4 and valued hardy over the entire team to the point of stupidity. Replacement cost matters. He was replaceable for much cheaper.

The only cap hell he's been in is the one he has created for himself.

Posted by: charlottean | Jan 28, 2015 4:32:39 PM

Wait til he sees what Billicheck and the Pats do with their roster after the season to try to keep winning consistently.

Posted by: skivvy | Jan 28, 2015 6:50:36 PM

Brady makes mediocre receivers look good? Lafell improved greatly? Lazy analysis. Lafells yards per catch and yards per target were lower this year than his 3-year avg with Cam. Just got a ton more targets so obviously more yards. He's the same guy he's always been

Posted by: Phil | Jan 28, 2015 11:32:35 PM

I dont want a man who thinks he's 'Superman' to be the leader of my team.

Posted by: A fan | Jan 29, 2015 11:05:40 AM

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