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#pounditWednesday, January 20, 2021

Articles tagged: Carolina Panthers

Dwayne Haskins to visit Panthers

Dwayne Haskins

Dwayne Haskins may be moving closer to getting his second chance in the NFL.

The free agent quarterback is scheduled to visit the Carolina Panthers on Monday, as first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. For now, the visit is for fact-finding purposes, but the Panthers could move to sign Haskins if the visit goes well for both sides.

Haskins has some existing ties to Carolina’s coaching staff. Head coach Matt Rhule has known Haskins since high school, and Rhule also worked alongside current Ohio State coach Ryan Day at Temple in 2006.

The Panthers’ quarterback situation is unsettled, with Teddy Bridgewater largely failing to impress in 2020. That could leave an opening for Haskins, but he has a lot to prove after the way his Washington career ended.

For what it’s worth, the Panthers have been consistently linked to Haskins since he left Washington. Their interest seems very legitimate.

Report: Dwayne Haskins already receiving interest from this team

Dwayne Haskins

Dwayne Haskins may have blown his chance with the team that drafted him in the first round, but it sounds like the quarterback’s days of playing in the NFL are far from over.

Haskins has already received interest from several NFL teams, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports. One of those teams is the Carolina Panthers.

It is unlikely that Haskins will sign with a team before the end of the 2020 season, but the fact that teams have inquired is obviously a good sign.

Haskins was waived by Washington this week after he was benched again for poor play. The former Ohio State star was also fined by the team twice for violating COVID-19 protocols and stripped of his captainship for his latest off-field blunder.

Though he is 23 and has undeniable talent, it sounds like Haskins had some serious work ethic issues during his brief time in Washington. Any team that signs him would likely bring him in as a backup, at which point he would have to prove he has learned from his mistakes. If Haskins can do that, there’s certainly plenty of time to revive his career.

Matt Rhule shoots down talk of taking over Panthers GM role

Matt Rhule

The Carolina Panthers need a general manager, but the head coach emphasized that he won’t be the one filling the role.

When asked about possibly taking over the GM role from fired Marty Hurney, Panthers coach Matt Rhule made clear that he had no interest in the position and shot down speculation quickly.

“I do not want to be the GM. As clearly as I can say that,” Rhule said Monday, via Joseph Person of The Athletic.

The combined coach/GM model is one that a few franchises have embraced in recent years. While there are exceptions, it hasn’t worked out all that well. It makes even less sense for Rhule, who has only been an NFL head coach for one season and doesn’t have the track record or resume that would suggest he deserves an expanded portfolio.

Some quotes from ownership raised questions about Rhule’s role in running the Panthers. It seems he wants to be an advisor, though, not the man in charge.

Panthers owner delivers strong quotes after firing GM Marty Hurney

Carolina Panthers logo

The Carolina Panthers have fired general manager Marty Hurney in the wake of their loss to the Green Bay Packers on Saturday, and team owner David Tepper is not sugarcoating his reason for making the move.

Tepper told Darin Gantt of the Panthers’ official website that he recently had conversations with Hurney about the team’s football operations department and realized there were some conflicting ideas. He indicated that he regretted not changing GMs when he fired Ron Rivera and hired Matt Rhule last year.

It seems obvious there was a disconnect between Hurney and Rhule, and Tepper says the head coach will be a part of the search for a new GM.

“You look at successful organizations, and there’s a certain alignment between the head coach and the GM,” Tepper said. “To think that you can do that without some sort of alignment is nuts. So to not have a head coach with some input into that is stupid. I don’t want to be stupid, OK?”

Hurney had been with the Panthers since 1998. He joined the team as director of football administration and worked his way up to GM. He originally held the GM job from 2002-2012 before being removed from his position. Hurney then returned to his GM role on an interim basis in 2017 and was once again named the full-time GM after that season.

The Panthers have made some significant changes since Tepper bought the team, and some of them have focused on changing the culture. The latest was made in hopes of improving the on-field product, as Carolina is now a disappointing 4-10 on the year.

Shaq Thompson unloaded on Panthers after loss to Bucs

Shaq Thompson

The Carolina Panthers have lost five straight games after looking like a playoff contender early in the season, and veteran linebacker Shaq Thompson decided he had seen enough after Sunday’s blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Panthers lost 46-24 in a game that seemed to unravel after Bucs running back Ronald Jones ripped off a 98-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. That flipped things entirely, as Carolina immediately went from trailing by a field goal with favorable field position to down two scores.

According to Panthers defensive back Rasul Douglas, Thompson unloaded on his teammates in the locker room after the game.

“I’m not going to curse every other word on the media, but he said some things,” Douglas told reporters, via Steven Taranto of 247 Sports. “He basically told everybody to look in the mirror. … He basically cursed everybody out and said we didn’t fight hard enough, we didn’t want it more. It’s a lot of stuff he said but he basically just told everybody about themselves.”

Safety Tre Boston confirmed that Thompson lit into his teammates, saying Thompson “wanted to let us know that everyone has to buy in” and that he echoed what head coach Matt Rhule has told the team all season.

The Panthers began the year 3-2, and many felt they were a playoff contender with Teddy Bridgewater under center. They’re suddenly 3-7 and dealing with some unfortunate circumstances.

Thompson, a former first-round pick, is in his sixth season with the Panthers. He has taken on a bigger leadership role since Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly left, and it’s clear he is a respected figure in the locker room.

5 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 10

Russell Wilson

Weather caused problems across the league in Week 10, with passing games severely disrupted, and rain causing trouble for offenses and defenses alike. That has to be factored in when thinking of some of Sunday’s results — the Texans-Browns game, in particular, was just plain ugly. But professional football players don’t make excuses, and we won’t make them for them, because there were some bad weeks across the league.

Here are five big disappointments from Week 10 action.

Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks

Wilson’s MVP candidacy looked to be back on track, but this stinker undid a lot of the progress. Wilson threw for only 248 yards and turned the ball over three times against the Rams, who did an excellent job on Seattle’s receivers and forced Wilson into mistakes. The mistakes have been uncommon this year, but MVP voters would have wanted to see Wilson do better against a quality defense to prove his credentials. Wilson will be fine, but this game may mark the end of his serious MVP hopes.

Carolina Panthers’ defense

The Panthers had the misfortunate of facing a fired-up Tom Brady coming off a bad game. That was already a bad sign, but they absolutely did not respond. Brady picked the Carolina defense apart for three touchdowns and 341 yards. Worse, the team seemed utterly unprepared to stop the run; Ronald Jones’ 98-yard touchdown was simply a major defensive lapse. The gameplanning could also be blamed here: apparently, their matchups were bad enough that the Buccaneers saw Jones’ touchdown run coming.

Houston Texans’ offense

Blame it on the weather, but this was still an inept performance from Houston’s offense. Deshaun Watson had just 71 yards at halftime, and the only reason he ended up with a fairly respectable statline is because the team had to open things up a bit late to try to get back into the game. The Texans gained 90 yards on the ground, but the run game wasn’t consistent enough to compensate for the inability to pass, either. This was just ugly to watch.

New Orleans Saints’ passing game

Drew Brees didn’t look right even before he left with his rib issue. Jameis Winston only threw 10 passes, completing six of them for 63 yards. This was a reminder that San Francisco’s defense remains nothing to sneeze at, but it’s also an indicator that sometimes the Saints aren’t as explosive as they should be. They won by two touchdowns and look fine going forward, but the Saints won’t want to miss Brees for long.

Philadelphia Eagles’ defense

The Eagles’ linebackers, in particular, leave a lot to be desired these days. They made the Giants look like an elite rushing team, as New York put up 151 yards between Wayne Gallman, Daniel Jones, and Alfred Morris. All three of the Giants’ touchdowns came on the ground as well. The Eagles remain firmly in the NFC East race, but games like this will give them a lot to worry about. The offense is struggling, but the defense has to step up.

Photo: Larry Maurer/Flickr via cc-by-sa 2.0

Panthers OC says Christian McCaffrey can handle big workload

Christian McCaffrey

In a perfect world, the Carolina Panthers would limit Christian McCaffrey’s touches and win tons of games. In a more realistic world, they have to put the ball in the hands of their best player pretty frequently in hopes of winning the most amount of games. Their new offensive coordinator seems to recognize that.

Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady was asked in a conference call with reporters on Thursday about managing McCaffrey’s workload. While he acknowledged McCaffrey had tons of touches last year, he said the versatile running back can handle it.

“But if there’s one person that can take it — one person that takes care of his body — that’s Christian McCaffrey,” Brady said via the Charlotte Observer. “I can’t sit here and tell you guys the number (of touches) is 400 (in 2020); the number is 350. Every single game will be different. A lot of it will come down to the rest of the personnel on our team.”

That sounds a lot like a guy who is not making it a priority to limit McCaffrey’s touches by any means necessary. New Panthers head coach Matt Rhule may wish to harness McCaffrey’s workload, but he and Brady will have to balance that with the even greater desire to win.

McCaffrey had 1,387 yards rushing and 1,005 yards receiving with 19 total touchdowns last season.

Ex-Panthers owner Jerry Richardson will not fight to have statue restored

Jerry Richardson

The statue honoring former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was removed from outside Bank of America stadium on Wednesday, and the 83-year-old reportedly has no plans to contest the decision or fight to have it restored.

The Panthers said in a statement Wednesday that they were moving the statue of Richardson to a different location “in the interest of public safety,” as there were concerns that protestors could try to take it down. However, Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer reported on Thursday that the team has no plans to put the statue back in its original spot or display it somewhere else in the future. The Panthers want it removed permanently, and Richardson is not going to fight them on the issue.

The statue of Richardson was constructed several years ago as an 80th birthday gift. That was before Richardson was forced out as the owner of the Panthers after it was revealed that he has reached multiple confidential settlements with his former employees over workplace misconduct. The allegations included both sexual and racial components.

New Panthers owner David Tepper said when he bought the team in 2018 that there was a legal obligation to not remove the Richardson statue, which likely meant Richardson wrote into his contract with Tepper that the statue must stay. If that was the case, Richardson is apparently not planning to force his former team to honor the agreement.

Jerry Richardson statue removed from outside Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium

Jerry Richardson

Two years after disgraced owner Jerry Richardson sold the Carolina Panthers, his statue outside bank of America Stadium is coming down.

Richardson sold the Panthers after being accused of racist and sexist behavior, but his statue outside the stadium was kept up. Not anymore, as WSOC’s Joe Bruno reported from the scene that construction workers were preparing to remove it.

In a statement, the Panthers said that they were moving the statue to prevent it from being debased or taken down by others.

When David Tepper bought the Panthers, he said that he was contractually obligated to keep the statue where it was. Given how serious the misconduct was, Tepper is probably more than happy to use the current state of affairs as reason to get it out of sight.

Panthers add Eli Apple after Raiders deal falls through

Eli Apple

Eli Apple’s free agency deal with the Las Vegas Raiders fell through, and the Carolina Panthers are the beneficiaries.

The Panthers announced on Thursday that they have agreed to terms with Apple.

Apple originally agreed to terms on a one-year, $6 million deal with the Raiders on March 18. We learned in April that the deal fell through, which made Apple a free agent.

A former first-round pick by the Giants, Apple was traded to New Orleans in 2018. He played 10 games for them that season and 15 last season. The 24-year-old cornerback had 58 tackles last year for New Orleans and would provide a nice upgrade in the secondary for Carolina.