CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The agent for Carolina Panthers linebacker James Anderson says his client has been informed that he’s been released by the team.
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.
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.
In a season chocked full of rookie sensations, one is rapidly climbing the Defensive Rookie of the Year ladder. Linebacker Luke Kuechly leads the league in tackles, just like he led the nation at Boston College, and despite the Panthers losing record, he could get serious consideration for the top first year player award. Carolina is also knee deep in players on injured reserve.
In a season filled with injuries, the Panthers are very used to saying, “Next man up.” This week is no different as they have to replace their number one back and number two receiver as they host the 11-1 Falcons who are in a lot better shape, physically.
When you are down and out and playing out the string, there is little to play for other than your job, but as far as Cam Newton is concerned, the Panthers have a lot more on the line. While it doesn’t seem like much, tying last season’s win mark would be a good way to take some of the bad taste the 2012 season will ultimately leave behind. Winning out would be a great step toward next year.
Not many people knew what to expect when the Chiefs hosted the Panthers on Sunday, because there was nothing to compare it to, but right from the opening drive there was a sense the home team was about to play their best game of the season. And they did, despite the horrific murder-suicide that took place a little more than 24-hours earlier.
If the Panthers are to get their third win of the season this may be the weekend to do it even though they will be playing on the road. The Eagles are arguably the worst team in the league and things don’t get any better for them with two of their offensive stars sitting this one out.
The Panthers played one of their better games of the year but in the end they came up short against another struggling team, the Cowboys. The 19-14 loss drops Carolina four games under .500 after just six games and any hope of a postseason berth might have just gone up in smoke.
Running back Jonathan Stewart returns to the Panthers lineup but will the running back help DeAngelo Williams establish a running game good enough so quarterback Cam Newton can open up the playbook? Even if all things go well, the Atlanta Falcons are still a force to be reckoned with in the NFC South not to mention the National Football League.