Category Archives: Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers

Newton, Panthers concern Lions

The wraps came off Cam Newton on Sunday. It’s no coincidence that he suddently resembled the quarterback who won the 2015 Most Valuable Player award.

Newton passed for 316 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 44 yards and another score in Carolina’s 33-30 win at New England.

It was a breakthrough performance for a quarterback coming off a colossally disappointing 2016 season and offseason shoulder surgery. Newton averaged 188.7 yards passing and gained a total 46 rushing yards while throwing twice as many interceptions as touchdowns in the Panthers’ first three outings this season.

“We just need to stop the run and put them into 3rd-and-long situations,” Cincinnati safety George Iloka said. “Every week, we challenge ourselves to be the best defense on the field.”

The Bengals’ defense wasn’t quite as good as whoever was getting to feast on Andy Dalton mistakes the first two weeks. But since Bill Lazor became offensive coordinator after a sloppy Week 2 loss to Houston, Dalton has looked like the guy who guided Cincinnati to four straight playoff berths.

In two games with Lazor calling the shots, Dalton has produced passer ratings of 124.1 and 146.0. In the rout of Cleveland, Dalton completed 25 of 30 passes for 286 yards and four touchdowns without an interception.

Snead and McVay know there are tougher defenses ahead on the schedule, including matchups with divisional foes Seattle and Arizona (each twice), plus road trips to face the solid defenses of the Vikings and Giants.

But they like what they’ve seen so far and are hoping the success carries through the regular season and into the playoffs.

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If the Saints want to trade Kenny Vaccaro, we know the perfect spot

It’s strange to think about any spot on the New Orleans Saints defense being loaded enough that they can afford to trade a player, much less a starting safety like Kenny Vaccaro. This is the same team that opened the season by allowing Sam Bradford to turn in the week’s best quarterback performance.

But that hasn’t slowed the team’s resolve as they spent the week shopping safety Kenny Vaccaro, according to Ian Rapoport.

Does this make sense? On the surface it does. The Saints have Vonn Bell, a second-round pick in 2016, ready to ascend. Vaccaro is in the last year of his rookie deal, the fifth-year option, which pays him $5.7 million in fully guaranteed dollars. He’s a free agent next year, so it makes sense to try and get some draft value or maybe even a competent player at any other spot on the defense where they need help.

There’s also the little matter of Drew Brees’ contract. If they want to re-sign him next year, they’ll need a mountain of cap space to do it … despite the fact that he’ll be 39 in 2018.

Is it time for panic in Dallas? Not at all. The team is 1-1, just like it was at this time a year ago. While the struggles to get moving offensively damper the hype for a team that has come to define itself by its stout offensive line, it’s a long season and there are plenty of lesser defenses on the way.

An early hole against the Broncos meant leaning heavily on Dak Prescott to lead the Cowboys back and he finished with a career-high 50 pass attempts. The Cowboys aren’t likely to favor Authentic Mike Evans Jersey the pass that much in the future and will have a chance to establish the run more against future opponents, including the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3.

Prescott was also the team’s leading rusher — although, it took just 24 Jaroslav Halak Youth Jersey yards on the day to easily grab that crown.

Bears’ Kevin White out several weeks with broken shoulder blade

Kevin White’s season is in jeopardy once again.

The Bears wide receiver has been diagnosed with a break in his left shoulder blade and will be placed on the team’s injured reserve for the third time in three seasons, coach John Fox announced Monday.

White suffered the injury Sunday in the fourth quarter of the Bears’ 23-17 loss to the Falcons in just his fifth career regular-season game. While the team has yet to determine if surgery is necessary, he isn’t expected to return until the team’s Nov. 12 game against the Packers at the earliest.

After video review, the ruling on the field was upheld as a fumble, much to the dismay of the Redskins, their fans, and even Fox Sports rules analysts Dean Blandino and Mike Pereira.

“I would also like to thank the Raiders organization, my agents at Sun West Sports, Frank Bauer and Kenny Chapman, and everyone who believed in my talents which allowed me to continue playing the sport I love. Of course, none of this would be possible without the support and love from my wonderful mother, Janet Jones, my grandmother, Gram (Bernice Calhoun) and my beautiful wife, Tamika Jones.”

Jones signed with the Chargers last year, but was released prior to the season and did not play in 2016.

Jones said in his announcement on Pitch Engine he will join NFL Network as an analyst.

“I’m hoping to follow in the footsteps of other great Packer legends like Greg Jennings and Charles Woodson and take my talents into broadcasting,” Jones said. “I admire what they have been able to achieve post-football, so if I can only do one-third of what they’ve accomplished, I should be fine.”
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Michael Bennett represents the best of the NFL — a leader on his team and in his community.

Here’s an interesting move: The Chargers have revived their old shield-based logo, originally used during the team’s AFL days. Remember, the Chargers started out in L.A., so it makes a certain amount of sense for them to resurrect this logo now that they’re back where they started.

Héctor Pesquera, the superintendent of the Puerto Rico police, said at least 14 hours of wind and rain is expected, calling the storm more dangerous than Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in Texas Aug. 25 as a Category 4 storm.

“If ever there was a storm to take seriously in the Keys, this is it,” Monroe County Emergency Management Director Martin Senterfitt said in a statement released by the county. “The sooner people leave, the better.”

A spokesperson for the Naval Air Station at Key West said a separate evacuation order has been issued for the base’s 5,500 personnel and their families, effective Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Bennett called the matter “a traumatic experience for me and my family.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a message of support for Bennett:

“Michael Bennett represents the best of the NFL — a leader on his team and in his community. Our foremost concern is the welfare of Michael and his family. Whille we understand the Las Vegas police department will address this later this evening, the issues Michael has been raising deserve serious attention from all of our leaders in every community. We will support Michael and all NFL players in promoting mutual respect between law enforcement and the communities they loyally serve and fair and equal treatment under law.”
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Mike Williams, Chargers’ 1st-round pick, may miss 2017 season due to herniated disk

In an effort to give Philip Rivers all the tools he needs to succeed as his career winds to a close, the Los Angeles Chargers selected game-changing wide receiver Mike Williams with the No. 7 overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft. Unfortunately for all parties involved, the rookie may not get a chance to see the field this fall.

A week before his eventual release, Whitehead claimed his dog, Blitz, had been kidnapped and was being held for $20,000 ransom. The dog was later returned by rapper Boogotti Kasino who said he purchased the dog and just wanted his money back.

But the incident that resulted in Whitehead’s release was an arrest warrant issued on Monday. Earlier in July, Whitehead was accused of shoplifting in Virginia, even though his agent claimed there was proof the return specialist wasn’t even in the state.

“I just wanted some time to clear my name,” Whitehead told Wright. “I think I deserve that a little bit … It was just unfortunate how it all happened. I wish I got a chance to clear my name up.”

Police validated that claim Tuesday by dropping all charges and explaining that the man arrested had no identification, but provided Whitehead’s birth date and social security number. But that was one day after an arrest warrant was issued because Whitehead missed a court date and was subsequently released by the Cowboys.

At the end of it all, Whitehead was back where he started with a dog back in his possession and no legal troubles. But he was without a team before the Jets ended that.

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NFLPA video hints at labor strife: ‘Save now. Fight later.’

Here’s an interesting video the NFL Players Association posted heading into the weekend before camps open for some teams.

The message: “Save now. Fight later.”

Left open to interpretation is what exactly the union means, which could be as simple as the bottom line of financial literacy.

“Don’t spend all your money,” NFLPA executive committee member Zak Deossie says in the video. “Put your f—g money away.”

There is a larger context, though, of NFL players seeing NBA-sized paychecks and perhaps awakening to the fact that to get a larger slice of the NFL’s multibillion-dollar pie might take a union stand against ownership in the next collective bargaining negotiations after the 2020 season.

“We have such a long CBA that I knew my role was probably going to be to get these guys ready for the next fight,” NFLPA president Eric Winston says in the video.

But the fundamental problem, writes attorney Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, continues to be this:

“As far as the stuff that was preached [by the Cowboys], I was left out to dry,” Whitehead said. “You see the mantras that are all around The Star. I mean, by 12:45 I figured out that this is even going on. By 2:30 I was released. What’s the real reason? Let me clear my name. I didn’t have time to do that.

“I was pretty much called a liar.”

Meanwhile, second-year running back Ezekiel Elliott remains on the team despite an ongoing domestic violence investigation by the NFL, an altercation in which he allegedly punched a DJ at a Dallas bar, and a 100 mph speeding ticket.

Whitehead, 25, had a combined nine catches for 64 yards in his first two seasons in Dallas. He made headlines earlier this month after his dog was stolen and held for ransom by a rapper, though Whitehead said he got the dog back after paying an undisclosed amount.
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Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony was asleep during the NBA trade deadline

After weeks of trade rumors, Carmelo Anthony stayed put in New York at the NBA’s trade deadline.

Even if there had been a last-minute deal, Anthony would have needed to be contacted in order to waive his no-trade clause. But he told reporters Thursday night, after a team loss to the Cavs, he was fast asleep when everything was going down.

“The trade deadline has come and gone, and me talking about it has come and gone too. I will not be talking about trades anymore the rest of the season.”

As for what’s next, Anthony seemed unclear. He admitted he doesn’t know what Phil Jackson’s plan for the future of the team is and that the Knicks have to get “back to the drawing board.”

The first thing to pay attention to is which players are on the floor with Thomas in fourth quarters. Take a peek at NBA.com, and you’ll see five of the 10 lineups that have played at least 10 minutes in the fourth quarter for the Celtics this season have a net positive. The small-ball lineup of Thomas, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder and Al Horford has surprisingly struggled to stop teams from scoring, whereas the trio of Thomas, Smart and Jonas Jerebko with a center and shooter surrounding them has fared rather well on both offense and defense.

The important takeaway from that data is eight of those 10 lineups are scoring at a similar level as the Rockets, Cavaliers and Warriors. While some lineups have a hard time slowing teams down, being able to stretch the floor for Thomas with at least three 3-point shooters on the court has proven to be incredibly difficult for any defense to stop. As long as the Celtics finish with one of the net positive lineups, their high-octane offense is usually enough to carry them to the finish line.broncos_130

NBA playoffs 2017: Wizards, Hawks kick up first-round intensity with war of words

The tag team of Dennis Schroder and Paul Millsap won Round 3 against the duo of John Wall and Markieff Morris, but the battle didn’t stop after both teams left the Philips Arena floor.

Milwaukee is one of the youngest teams in the NBA and its rising stars had an off night in Toronto. After scoring 28 points on 13-of-18 shooting in Saturday’s 97-83 win over the Raptors in Game 1, Giannis Antetokounmpo was just 9 of 24 from the floor in Tuesday’s 106-100 loss. The 22-year-old still finished with a team-high 24 points and 15 rebounds, but the shooting was too inconsistent.

Also in his third NBA season, 26-year-old Matthew Dellavedova had an awful shooting night. He missed badly on seven of his 10 attempts and finished with 7 points.

Rookie guard Malcolm Brogdon was also off, going 3 of 11 from the floor for 7 points.

Kyle Lowry’s jumper with 8.9 seconds remaining made it a two-possession game and sealed the 106-100 win over the Bucks to even the series at a game apiece.

Game 2: Thunder at Rockets, 8 p.m. ET, TNT (Rockets lead 1-0) — The Thunder hope to bounce back from Sunday’s blowout loss. The Rockets had five players hit double digits, led by James Harden’s 37 points. If the Thunder are going to avoid another rout, Russell Westbrook has to lead the way after going just 6 of 23 from the floor on Sunday.

“He approaches everything with such competitiveness and that rubs off,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said following the game. “He loves to play. He loves to be out there. He’s such a competitor. He’s been good for the chemistry of our team.”
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Le’Veon Bell reveals release date of ’26 Savage’ rap album

Le’Veon Bell is staying busy off the field this offseason.

The Steelers running back announced Wednesday his second rap album titled “26 Savage” will be released July 21.

After playing through a groin injury for weeks then aggravating it during the AFC Championship Game in January, Bell underwent a procedure on his core muscle in March and has been in recovery mode leading up to training camp.

Bell, who is set to earn $12.7 million if he doesn’t reach a long-term contract agreement with the Steelers by July 15, has rushed for 4,045 yards and 26 touchdowns since being drafted in 2013 despite missing 14 games because of injuries and suspensions.

Loomis is keeping the band together — Sean Payton and Drew Brees — and trying to wring one more good run out of it. A lot is riding on Adrian Peterson’s addition: not that much money, but how he affects the offense. Moving Brandin Cooks before they had to pay him was a major gamble, so the remaining receivers and the return from that trade have to do well.

When the Glazers surprisingly fired Lovie Smith last offseason, a lot was lifted onto Licht’s shoulders. Dirk Koetter improved as head coach as the season went on. The additions on defense have been good enough to complement Jameis Winston and his growth. But Licht is still on the hook for the trade-up to draft kicker Robert Aguayo … who’s already being challenged for his job by Nick Folk. The competition is already making the Bucs look bad — imagine if Folk wins.warriors_007-115x115

Eagles’ Torrey Smith pays adoption fees of 46 animals at Baltimore animal shelterWhat a defensive-minded debut for Lynch as general manager. He made a terrific, immediate trade with the Bears to stockpile picks and was still able to get two cornerstones for the defensive front-seven in end Solomon Thomas (No. 3) and inside linebacker Reuben Foster. San Francisco is seeing great early results with its hire, including him not panicking and forcing QB. Houston no longer has a QB problem as it contends for an AFC title. The defense and offensive supporting casts are good enough to lift Watson into more winning ways after he led Clemson to a national title. The Texans had to be aggressive to get him once Mitchell Trubisky (Bears) and Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs) went earlier than expected. Torrey Smith may not play for the Ravens anymore, but he isn’t done giving to the city of Baltimore. According to BARCS Animal Shelter in Baltimore, Smith and his wife Chanel paid the adoption fees for cats and dogs — 46 total — at an adoption event on Saturday. They also made an “extra donation” on top of the fees. Smith spent four seasons playing for the Ravens, from 2011-14, winning a Super Bowl with the team in 2013. He caught 213 passes for 3,591 yards and 30 touchdowns over his four years there. He also spent four seasons playing for the University of Maryland from 2007-10. After his playing career in Baltimore ended, Smith joined the 49ers for the 2015 and ’16 seasons. He signed with the Eagles in March.

What a defensive-minded debut for Lynch as general manager. He made a terrific, immediate trade with the Bears to stockpile picks and was still able to get two cornerstones for the defensive front-seven in end Solomon Thomas (No. 3) and inside linebacker Reuben Foster.

San Francisco is seeing great early results with its hire, including him not panicking and forcing QB.

Houston no longer has a QB problem as it contends for an AFC title. The defense and offensive supporting casts are good enough to lift Watson into more winning ways after he led Clemson to a national title.

The Texans had to be aggressive to get him once Mitchell Trubisky (Bears) and Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs) went earlier than expected.

Torrey Smith may not play for the Ravens anymore, but he isn’t done giving to the city of Baltimore.

According to BARCS Animal Shelter in Baltimore, Smith and his wife Chanel paid the adoption fees for cats and dogs — 46 total — at an adoption event on Saturday. They also made an “extra donation” on top of the fees.

Smith spent four seasons playing for the Ravens, from 2011-14, winning a Super Bowl with the team in 2013. He caught 213 passes for 3,591 yards and 30 touchdowns over his four years there. He also spent four seasons playing for the University of Maryland from 2007-10.

After his playing career in Baltimore ended, Smith joined the 49ers for the 2015 and ’16 seasons. He signed with the Eagles in March.
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