Hitting To All Fields: Bigger Blowout – Duke Over UNC Or Deadspin.com Over Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson?
What was the bigger blow-out: Duke over North Carolina in Chapel Hill or Deadspin.com’s exposé of Panthers’ owner Jerry Richardson?
When a bad season is over it is said to have ended mercifully, but in the case of the Panthers there is a real sense that the best is yet to come despite a 7-9 record. Cam Newton may have come of age in a single 60 minutes of play while head coach Ron Rivera gave his boss, Jerry Richardson, something to think about when it comes to his job. Happy New Year, Panthers’ fans!
The Panthers did what they had to and that was beat the Saints to sweep the season series, but was it enough to save Ron Rivera’s job as head coach? Only owner Jerry Richardson knows what will happen next but if Sunday was indeed Rivera’s last call his team didn’t lay down on him.
For the fourth time in the last five seasons, the Panthers will close out the season against the division rival Saints, and the only thing on the line for either club is to finish on a positive note. Carolina desperately wants to surpass last year’s win total while New Orleans, disappointed that they will miss the postseason for the first time since 2008, is looking to go 8-8.
Defense has not been a trademark of the 2012 Raiders, having given up 402 points in 14 games, so it will be no surprise if they add to that inflated number this weekend. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Richard Seymour has somehow stayed on the active roster all season, despite missing the last six contests, and he will be out again when his team tries to slow down the recharged Panthers.
The world did not come to an end as the Mayans had predicted, so that is good news for the Panthers as they get to play a downtrodden Raiders team on Sunday to close out their home schedule. After a brutal start to the season, Carolina is one win away from matching their record from a year ago and have a chance to better it with one game remaining on the docket.
The Panthers are playing the way many expected them to early in the season so one might say it is better late than never. If fans thought their team played a well rounded game against the Falcons last weekend, the whooping they put on the Chargers on Sunday was as good, if not better.
The way they have been playing of late the Panthers were probably looking forward to taking on the reeling Chargers. That is, until the Friday injury report put them behind the eight-ball with eight starters on it, three definitely out and possibly two more ready to join them.
You can call him short, stout or thick, but one thing you can’t say about Mike Tolbert is that he is greedy. The Coastal Carolina University standout reportedly left more than $1 million behind in San Diego when he signed with the Panthers as a free agent, and he could be one of the most underrated players on the team.
As a season winds down, you can always count on someone saying, “If the season ended today …..,” but in the Panthers’ case, it would be “If the season STARTED today …..,” as in six weeks ago. Over that span they are 3-3 and coming off a solid win against a division rival while Cam Newton is looking more like he did last year than in the first seven games of 2012.