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Steve Smith wants to burn all the plays from the Panthers loss to the Giants

No Hakeem Nicks? No Ahmad Bradshaw? No problem. NFL teams often use the phrase “next man up” when starters go down with injuries, and the Giants exemplified the importance of depth by adhering to it on Thursday night. Their offense looked as good as it has all year, as Eli Manning had his way with the Carolina secondary and reserves Andre Brown and Ramses Barden enjoyed career nights.

But it wasn’t only the Panthers’ defense that struggled. Their offense looked stale right out of the gate. Cam Newton was picked off three times and pressured a ton by the Giants front seven. As Steve Smith put it after the game, nothing worked.

“Everything that we did tonight, we need to go ahead and get a trash can – a good, tin one – and burn those plays and never go back to them,” he said according to the News and Observer. “Because it was shameful for the fans. It was just flat-out terrible. We just got our tails whipped from the beginning to the end in every aspect. It was pretty disgusting.

Sympathy for Carolina fans seemed to be a common theme after the game, as Newton agreed with his star wideout that the loss was embarrassing.

“Who wants to support something that puts on a performance of embarrassment? That’s what that was,” Newton said. “If I was a fan of the Carolina Panthers I’d be holding my head down in shame at the product that was out there.”

The good news for Panthers fans — if there is any — is that it’s only Week 3. Sometimes a little humility early in the season can go a long way.

Photo credit: Chuck Cook-US PRESSWIRE

Steve Smith says a Saints player admitted he targeted his ankles out of bounds

Another day, another awakening accusation regarding the Saints bounty program. This time, the alleged victim is Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith. During an interview with Dave Dameshek of NFL.com, Smith said he has always known about Gregg Williams’ bounty programs and that a Saints player once admitted to targeting him during a game.

“I actually had an altercation with a guy who told me firsthand,” Smith explained without naming the player. “I was going out of bounds, and the guy went for my ankle. I said, ‘Hey, man, cut that out.’ He’s like, ‘Well, we get fined if we don’t go after your legs when you go out of bounds.’ … And actually this past year, this last game when we played them, I had a little conversation with Gregg Williams. … He took responsibility, he was saying it wasn’t right, but that’s who he was.”

This sounds like more of the same, but it’s interesting that Smith said the player claimed he would be fined if he didn’t go for his legs out of bounds. To this point, most of what we heard centers on being paid for “kill shots” and injuring an opponent. We haven’t heard anything about being fined if you don’t try to injure an opponent. That certainly wouldn’t shock anyone, but it would add another disturbing element to the storyline.

H/T to NFL.com’s Around the League
Photo credit: Chuck Cook-US PRESSWIRE

Steve Smith Taking His WR Teammates to Pro Bowl in Hawaii

Only two Carolina Panthers were named to the Pro Bowl, but the team will have many more representatives in Honolulu. Steve Smith, who earned his fifth Pro Bowl honor, has decided to bring his wide receiver teammates with him for the trip to Honolulu.

Smith surprised his teammates last week by telling them he was paying for them to take the trip with him.

“They kind of looked at each other, and I said, ‘I’m serious,’” Smith said. “Once they got the call from my travel agent, they kind of knew it was for real.”

So why is Smith taking them to Honolulu?

“All those guys ran routes to get me open. At times they took it for the team and ran some clear-out routes for me,” Smith said. “For me to sit here and say I did it on my own and all that stuff, it’s unfair. This is an opportunity for me to thank them and enjoy as a group the success that we all played a part in.”

Players who have had successful seasons often give gifts to their teammates as a thank you. Reggie Bush didn’t make the Pro Bowl, but he was grateful for his offensive linemen and bought them some pretty sweet motorized scooters.

I don’t know about you, but I’d take the trip to Hawaii. And that was a pretty nice gesture by Smith, who hasn’t exactly been a model teammate at times.

Steve Smith: Tim Tebow Wouldn’t Make My Son’s Flag Football Team

Tim Tebow has turned almost everyone into a believer these days, but one person who still hasn’t bought in is Panthers receiver Steve Smith. During an appearance on the Dave Dameshek Football Program, Smith gave credit to Tebow for winning, but was unwilling to praise him for being a difference maker.

“I don’t want to be one of the those guys like everybody saying ‘oh he’s not this’ — he’s winning,” Smith conceded. “But at the end of the day, you can’t be 3-10 for three quarters and you go into the fourth quarter. Because Tim Tebow is ‘Tebow Time’ I keep hearing, but nobody is giving credit to who deserves it — which is that defense, because it’s playing lights out.”

“Everybody wants to say Tim Tebow is that difference maker,” Smith said, “he wouldn’t be on my son’s flag football team.”

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Steve Smith Says Cam Newton is the Third-Best Quarterback He’s Played With

Just when it appeared as though Steve Smith’s best years as an NFL receiver were behind him, Cam Newton came along. With Newton at the helm, Smith has had a complete resurgence. The four-time Pro Bowler is second in the NFL with 1,060 receiving yards, and fifth with 18 yards per catch. You would figure that would result in sworn allegiances to Cam, but Steve still has love for some of the other quarterbacks he’s played with.

Asked by Dave Dameshek if Cam is the best quarterback he’s played with, Steve Smith said no.

“I have to be honest, I would say Jake (Delhomme) is No. 1 because Jake’s career is over here in Carolina. Cam, he’s been in the league for about 15 minutes. I think that’s one of the things that the media does. They jump on a train too quick. But Jake played for a number of years, for various teams for various reasons, but at the end of the day, he played a long time because he made plays.

“No. 2 would be a guy who’s probably surprising,” Smith said. “When Jake got hurt, we brought in Vinny Testaverde, and Vinny taught me some things to this day that I have at home on my nightstand. He taught me how to run some routes (from) all the guys he played with, Keyshawn (Johnson), Wayne Chrebet, he played with some guys I grew up admiring. So that’s why Vinny’s No. 2 and Cam’s No. 3.”

I really hope nobody interprets this as a shot at Cam. I actually think it’s cool that Smith thinks fondly of both Delhomme and Testaverde. Many people forget that before he became a useless turnover machine, Jake Delhomme was a productive quarterback who made a Pro Bowl and led the Panthers to the Super Bowl. Smith won’t forget that, nor should he, and it doesn’t mean he doesn’t think Cam will improve.

Here is audio of Smith’s appearance on Dameshek’s podcast. The interview begins around the 21:30 mark.

Steve Smith Distances Himself from Carolina Panthers in Interview

Steve Smith has another two years and $14.75 million left on his contract with the Carolina Panthers, but it’s clear he would like to play for another team. His desire is fair; he is one of the top receivers in the NFL when healthy, and at 32 years old he probably wants to play for a Super Bowl-caliber team rather than a franchise in rebuilding mode. There has been speculation that he’ll be traded when the lockout ends and that the Chargers are a possible destination. While we don’t know what will happen, what we do know is that Smith is distancing himself from his former team.

First off, Smith has not been in attendance for the team’s recent workouts, citing personal issues. Since we don’t know what’s going on with him personally, it’s not entirely fair to hold his absence against him. However, Joe Person noted in an article on Smith that the receiver referred to Carolina as “they” not “we.”

“I think the fundamental things the Carolina Panthers are doing right now are huge. I think anybody to say they’re not making any moves would be unfair and biased. They’re making great changes.”

Distancing himself from the team by saying “they” indicates Smith’s current mentality, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t play with the Panthers if there is a season. It just means he doesn’t feel like he’s a part of the team, and that he likely wants out. We’ve heard the Chargers are interested in him, and if they’re able to land him in a trade, it will make an already explosive offense even more effective. I’m hoping for Smith’s sake that he’s able to get out of Carolina and onto a more competitive team.

Helmet knock to Evan Silva for the tip

Panthers Won’t Punish Steve Smith for Flag Football Injury

On Wednesday, we told you about how Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith suffered a broken arm that required surgery while playing in an adult flag football league.  Obviously, participating in a recreational flag football league is in no way related to a club activity, so if the Panthers’ brass wanted to punish him finanacially for the injury they could have with good reason.

As we could have probably predicted, they aren’t going to.  I mentioned Wednesday that they could easily take the Ben Roethlisberger approach, meaning they don’t want to piss off their franchise player even though he injured himself acting like a bit of a bonehead.  However, I must say that I agree with Pro Football Talk’s Gregg Rosenthal that the Panthers are doing the right thing.

Unlike Big Ben — who has spent portions of his off-season boozing with college girls and putting himself in stupid situations — Smith was having fun with some friends and got a little too competitive.  They can’t expect professional athletes to refrain from doing anything physical for their own enjoyment in their free time.  The worst part for Carolina is that it’s the second time their star wide receiver has broken the same arm.  As of now it doesn’t look like he’ll miss any regular-season games, but the Panthers can only hope the arm heals properly and doesn’t become a liability.

Sources:
Panthers won’t hit Smith’s wallet [ESPN NFC South Blog]
Panthers won’t go after Steve Smith’s money [Pro Football Talk]