Local Football Bloggers
The Panthers and Saints will not be playing past this weekend as both will miss the playoffs, but there are some interesting story lines to watch for. Does Carolina go for a knockout blow against Drew Brees for New Orleans targeting Cam Newton last year or do they simply try to keep him etching his name in the record book – again?
‘Tis the season to find out who was naughty and who was nice, so when Roger Goodell gets handed the paperwork from Sunday’s Raiders-Panthers game, he will see that Carolina’s Cam Newton was very, very naughty. The NFL Commissioner will leave a few lumps of coal in Newton’s stocking and could add a note telling the quarterback to just watch his team’s season finale on TV.
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 riding the kind of natural high associated with their first winning streak of the season, and one player has been instrumental in that success. Thomas Davis has come back from injuries that would have sent others into retirement, and along with his off-field charity and volunteer work, he now has the honor of being the Panthers’ nominee for a very significant award named after an NFL legend.
When an individual or group expresses outrage at something but hides behind the anonymity of a keyboard, they are usually dismissed as trolls. So why is a group calling themselves a disgruntled group of business folks getting so much attention just because there was enough money to take out an ad in a Charlotte newspaper? Is ignorance truly bliss?
There are just two games left in the season and it could be the final audition for Ron Rivera to remain as head coach of the Carolina Panthers for at least another year. The 5-9 record notwithstanding, the Panthers are playing their best football of the year, but how far will it go with owner Jerry Richardson?
What is more important: How you begin or how you finish? For head coach Ron Rivera, the Panthers have begun to turn things around, but is it too late to keep his job beyond 2012. Over the last half-dozen games, Carolina is a .500 club and deserves a commitment for at least one more year from owner Jerry Richardson.
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.
Matt Ryan stirred up a hornet’s nest with some late game comments the first time the Panthers faced the Falcons in Atlanta earlier this season. This weekend Ryan brings his team to Charlotte and there could be more story lines than just an 11-1 team squaring off against one that is 3-9.