The Carolina Panthers released the disappointing David Carr on Wednesday and picked up Muhsin Muhammad, who was released from the Chicago Bears last week. He rejoins the time after spending nine seasons with the Panthers after they drafted him in 1996. He spent three seasons with the Bears after a monster season in Carolina in 2004. The Panthers released him because of a salary-cap move and have never been able to get another receiver to complement Steve Smith at wide receiver. Both receivers were Jake Delhomme’s top two targets in the 2003 season when the Panthers had their only trip to the Superbowl. They lost 29 – 32 to the New England Patriots, but Moose recorded the longest play from scrimmage in a Superbowl with an 85-yard TD reception in that game.
I wish Moose all the luck in the world and I’m sure he’s happy that he’ll have a chance to finish up his career with the team he started with, but the guy is getting old. He had a chance to be the Bear’s #1 receiving threat and brought a lot of wisdom and leadership to the receiving corps. However, he dropped too many passes and Bernard Berrian was much more of a #1 than Moose was. I wish he would have been able to recreate his 2004 season with us just once, but, dare I ask, is Jake Delhomme a better quarterback than Rex Grossman or Kyle Orton? If you think back to their 2003 and 2004 seasons, they had a monster passing tandem in Steve Smith and Muhammad. They also had a solid running game and defense. I’m sure that Steve Smith is happy to have another passing threat in the line-up so that some pressure is taken off him upfield. Then Keary Colbert, Drew Carter and Dwayne Jarrett can fight for the #3 spot. It’ll be interesting to see how they do next year, depending on how well Delhomme comes back after surgery.
I think the Bears need to take note here. Solid running game. Defense who establishes themselves. Decent quarterback throwing to a deep threat and a reliable slot/route/#2 receiver. O Line protecting the QB and making holes for the running backs. Hmmm….the Panthers may have had something there. Throw in the fact that we should have a better RB in Cedric Benson than anyone the Panthers have. And with Greg Olson and Desmond Clark at TE, we should have a reliable option in the short-passing game. If Berrian comes back and Hester develops, we know that both of them have the ability to get open down field. Mix that with a healthy defense and we should fair better in 2008.
I know what you’re saying. Wishful thinking, huh?
Archive for the ‘Carolina Panthers’ category
I am somewhat bitter about this week’s games. Mostly because of fantasy football. I’m in five leagues this year, which is about three too many, even for a fantasy geek like me.
In my most important league, I lost to one of the worst teams because Shane Graham kicked seven fucking field goals. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–Marvin Lewis has Graham on his fantasy team, and its starting to piss me off.
In my second most important league, I am fighting for a playoff spot and was virtually tied with the best team in the league going into Sunday night. I had Manning and Addai, he had the SD defense. Easy win, right? No, of course not. Of course the douchbag would throw six picks and Darren Sproles would return two kicks for touchdowns in the first fucking ten minutes.
Here are the games:
Green Bay 34, Minnesota 0–I think its time to start seriously considering Brett Favre for NFL MVP. Tom Brady and Randy Moss are getting all the publicity, but look at what Favre is doing with almost no help from the running game: 67.2 completion percentage, 2757 pass yards, 16 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, passer rating of just over 96. Keep in mind this team is one fluke loss to the Bears away from being undefeated. I think I would vote for Favre as MVP at this point. Meanwhile, Purple Jesus hurt his knee. If its serious, expect fire and brimstone to rain down on Wisconsin.
Jacksonville 28, Tennessee 13–Can we just combine these two teams and call them the Jacksonsee Jagans? They both have shitty quarterbacks, no receivers, a plodding/boring running game, and decent defenses. Both will probably make the playoffs or at least contend until Week 17, and both will do nothing once they make the postseason. Watching the Titans gives me a headache. They’re fucking boring as shit. I’d rather watch the Madden simulation of this game than the actual game.
Denver 27, Kansas City 11–Seriously, does anyone give a shit about the AFC West? Do you realize that if the Raiders had held on yesterday and if Viniateri had hit the field goal at the end of the Chargers-Colts game, Oakland would have been one game out of first? I know thats a combination of ‘ifs’ that didn’t happen, but lord–Oakland’s best offensive player is Justin Fargas. Anyway, the Broncos tie the Chiefs for second place in the division despite getting waxed seven days ago by the fucking Lions. Hooray.
Buffalo 13, Miami 10–The NFL is one pathetic shitbox, I tell ya. This game was 10-2 before Marshawn Lynch scored and then added a two-point conversion to tie it up. A field goal by…..whoever the Bills kicker is won it. Lynch is quietly putting up an outstanding rookie season and is a nearly a lock for AFC Offensive Rookie of the Year. If not for Purple Jesus, Lynch would be getting more publciity. Meanwhile, the Dolphins have a real shot at 0-16. Take a gander at their remaining schedule: at Philadelphia, at Pittsburgh, NY Jets, at Buffalo, Baltimore, at New England, Cincinnati. They should be the underdog in every one of those games, and really only have a decent shot of beating the Jets, Ravens, and maybe Bengals.
St. Louis 37, New Orleans 29–Look out for the Lou! Somewhere, Nelly weeps in relief while Everyones On Steroids pats him on the back. I’m going to make a bold prediction–by Christmas, the Rams will have at least 5 wins. Shit, they way teams in the NFC West play, they could end up 8-8 and win the fucking division.
Pittsburgh 31, Cleveland 28–The Steelers escaped in the game of the day, as ECUM’s adopted team blew a two-minute drill and Phil Dawson came up just short on a 53-yarder which would have tied it. Josh Cribbs cemented himself as the second best return man in football with two sick runs. Also, Ben Roethlisberger is quietly putting up a huge season. He’s having the second best season by a quarterback in the AFC (yes, better than Manning), and was doing so with Santonio Holmes as his number one receiver until last week.
Philadelphia 33, Washington 25–Well, Joe Gibbs is officially senile. Up 22-20 with four minutes left, the Redskins had a third and goal from the Eagle seven. Gibbs decides to run a draw and settle for the field goal, even though his quarterback was having his best game of the season and a touchdown would of cemented the win. The Eagles score two touchdowns in the next two minutes and stay alive–barely–in the NFC playoff picture. Also, this just in–Brian Westbrook is going to step on you en route to eating your brains. What a beast.
Atlanta 20, Carolina 13–Wow. How shitty do you have to be to lose to Atlanta at home? The Panthers are now 0-4 at home, and thats good enough to be one game out of the division lead. This league seriously blows. Also, the first time I have Steve Smith, and he suddenly blows asshole. I think it has to do with the fact the Panthers are starting Earl Morral at quarterback, but still. Oh, and there was an Alge Crumpler sighting.
Cincinnati 21, Baltimore 7–Kids, lets look at this. I want all of our readers (yes, all four of you) to think about Brian Billick and his offensive genius here for a minute. He was hired by the Ravens to take over as head coach before the 1999 season. This was after he was offensive coordinator in Minnesota and the Vikings were the most explosive team of the previous year. (Meanwhile, no one mentioned at the time that this explosiveness was 50 percent ‘Throw a jump ball to that Moss kid’). He goes to Baltimore, and within two years, wins a Super Bowl. But he did it because he had arguably the most dominant defense of the past 30 years. Since 2002, the Ravens have continuously sucked offensively, and now have hit their low point: 14 points and 11 turnovers in a 6-day span. They almost got shutout by the Bengals. The Bengals, man. Here are the scores of the Bengals opponents this year: 20, 51, 24, 34, 27, 31, 24, 33, 7. The two low scores, 20 and 7, are both Baltimore. So now–how shitty of a coach is Brian Billick?
Chicago 17, Oakland 6–Watching this game literally got me sick. I had body aches and headaches, and I just wanted it to be over so that I could go on with my Sunday night. Sexy Rexy got back in there and made it real damn sexy, almost too sexy for his own good. Cedric Benson dominated perhaps the worst run defense in all of football to the tune of 2.7 yards per carry. All in all, this was probably the least enjoyable Bears win I’ve ever experienced. Good times.
Dallas 31, NY Giants 20–And the second annual New York Giants’ second half collapse has begun! Yippee! Can we just cancel the rest of the season and have Dallas and Green Bay play for the NFC Championship and New England and Indianapolis play for the AFC Championship? Oh, here come the Pittsburgh fans: ‘What about us? We can beat those teams! Wah, wah wah!’ Shut up. I hate you.
Arizona 31, Detroit 21–Speaking of second half collapses, it is going to be awesome to see all these experts jump off the Lion bandwagon after calling them a playoff team this past week. Here’s their remaining schedule: NY Giants, Green Bay, at Minnesota, Dallas, at San Diego, Kansas City, at Green Bay. Sure, they could win 4 or 5 of those games, but its entirely possible they could go 0-7 from here on out. In other news, Kurt Warner proved that God loves him more than Jon Kitna, and after the game he celebrated the win by watching ‘The Passion of the Christ’ while drinking the blood of a thousand Jews.
San Diego 23, Indianapolis 21–You know how shitty of a coach Norv Turner is? His team was at home, playing a HUGE game against a team coming off the biggest game of their season (obvious letdown). His opponent was missing a Hall of Fame receiver, Pro Bowl tight end, and starting left tackle. During the game, his opponent lost their starting right tackle and number one defensive player to injury. The opponent’s signal caller, perhaps the best of all time, threw six fucking interceptions. His team scored 23 points in the first 17 minutes and led 23-0 early. And the only reason Norv didn’t lose is because the best kicker of all time missed a chip shot by an inch. He’s the worst coach in the league, and Joe Gibbs, Brian Billick, Brad Childress, and rest of the shitty coaches fraternity owe him a debt of gratitude for taking the cake, week in and week out.
Yeah, it turns out it wasn’t Rex after all. Who would have thunk it? (Oh, yeah, me).
But I wasn’t the only one that saw past Rex’s horrible passes and into deeper reasons for the Bears offensive ineptitude. The receivers drop passes and outside of Bernard Berrian, don’t get open frequently. The offensive line seems half as effective as they were in 2006, both in the passing game and in the running game.
But the real issue is Cedric Benson. The guy is not an every down, load-bearing back.
Sure, like I said earlier, the offensive line isn’t opening the same holes. But it can’t be doing that much worse than in 2006. And I’m not buying into the idea that many meathead Bears fans believe, that with Thomas Jones the offense would be cruising along. Check Jones’ stats with the Jets. He’s not exactly tearing it up.
But if a guy is going to be a focal point of an offense, a 300-carry, 1200-yard plus running back, shouldn’t he be the a top ten or top fifteen back? I think so. And yet, if the Bears had their choice, I bet there are a ton of running backs in the league they would start ahead of Benson for the remainder of this season.
In fact, lets go with that premise: How many active running backs would I, hardawayhatesyou, rather have as the Bears’ premier back for the remaining twelve games on the schedule?
- Dallas: 2; Marion Barber is a definite and Julius Jones is a strong back who has proven he can be a number one back.
- Philadelphia: 1; Brian Westbrook is an absolute yes–sure he might break down on his first carry, but if he’s healthy he is a beast.
- NY Giants: None; You could make an argument for both Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward, but neither have proven to me that they can be an every-down NFL back.
- Washington: 2; While Clinton Portis has not shown the same burst in DC as he did in Denver, he’s definitely better than Benson. Ladell Betts went over 1000 yards last year and is a strong runner.
- Minnesota: 2; Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor are both better than Benson.
- Detroit: None; Like the Giants, Detroit has two backs–Tatum Bell and Kevin Jones–who one could argue are better than Benson, but I’m not ready to go there. Jones would be a definite yes if I thought he could last more than six games.
- Green Bay: None; Maybe in a year or two Brandon Jackson will be a stud, but I’d take my chances with Benson at this moment. I’ll take their quarterback, though.
- Seattle: 1; Shaun Alexander is a definite yes.
- San Francisco: 1; Frank Gore, despite his recent struggles, is clearly a better option.
- St. Louis: 1; Steven Jackson, see the Gore comments.
- Arizona: 2; Here is where I might lose some people. Edgerrin James is easily better, but I’m also gonna throw Marcel Shipp as a better option than Benson. Shipp had over 800 yards on 188 and 224 carries, respectively, in 2002 and 2003. He also had 103 receptions in his first three seasons. So yes, I’d rather have Marcel Shipp than Cedric Benson. Wow.
- Tampa Bay: 1; And its not Carnell Williams. I’m going to go with Earnest Graham, a guy who is just recently getting a chance. He runs hard and finishes his runs with a fervor I have never seen out of Benson.
- Carolina: None; DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams are the two backs in Carolina, and while both might be better, I wouldn’t necessarily want both ahead of Benson. Foster can impress, but he is really injury-prone.
- New Orleans: 1; Reggie Bush isn’t an every down NFL runner, but I’d take him ahead of Benson. And this number would be 2 if Deuce McAlister hadn’t just blown out his knee.
- Atlanta: 1; Warrick Dunn has proven he can carry the load successfully. Jerious Norwood might pass Benson by the end of the season, as well.
- Indianapolis: 1; Joseph Addai is a monster.
- Tennessee: None; Although Vince Young might be a better running back than anyone on the Bears roster.
- Jacksonville: 2; Maurice Jones-Drew has not played well in 2007, but I saw enough out of him last year to know that he’s better than Benson. And yes, I’m going to say I’d rather go to bat with Fred Taylor. Taylor is about as injury-prone as it gets, but when healthy, he might be one of the ten most talented and hard-working backs in the NFL.
- Houston: None; No, Ahman Green is not better than Cedric Benson. Its close, though.
- Cincinnati: 1; Rudi Johnson, no question, and Kenny Watson–if ever given an opportunity–could prove to be an adequate dual threat out of the backfield.
- Cleveland: None; I am not a Jamal Lewis fan. Unless I can get the 2003 version.
- Baltimore: 1; Willis McGahee is not a picture of health, but he’s clearly a better player than Cedric.
- Pittsburgh: 1; Willie Parker, absolutely. And I’m tempted to add Najeh Davenport here, partly because he is a tough runner and partly because he once took a dump in a girl’s laundry basket.
- New England: 1; I love Laurence Maroney, although he seems pretty injury-prone. Sammy Morris may be a solid back, but I’m not ready to say he’s a better option than Benson.
- Miami: 1; Ronnie Brown’s resurgence this year has me flabbergasted.
- NY Jets: None; This is interesting. I have to divulge that I agreed with the decision the Bears made in trading Jones and allowing Benson to be the number one guy. Jones, while hard-working and a leader, isn’t fast and doesn’t break enough tackles to be considered a better option than Benson.
- Buffalo: 1; Marshawn Lynch has already proven to be what Benson should be, and he’s only been in the league for a month. Damn.
- San Diego: 2; I’m not even going to argue about one of these; and yes, I think Michael Turner, while having never had more than 25 carries in an NFL game, has shown enough that I would want him to be the Bears running back in the last twelve games of the season.
- Denver: 1; Travis Henry is better, although its hard to tell how good Bronco backs are because almost everyone can rush for 1200 yards there.
- Kansas City: 1; LJ is better, no question.
- Oakland: None; I’ll believe the Lamont Jordan renassiance when he carries the load for a full season with either sucking or blowing out a knee. Although I like the idea of Justin Fargas, Huggy Bear’s son, being an NFL star.
So there you have it. A total of 28 running backs in the league are better options than Cedric Benson. Six teams have two backs on their current roster who I would rather see taking the bulk of Bear carries for the remainder of 2007. And only nine squads have the same issues at running back as Chicago does. Of those nine teams, only Detroit, Green Bay, and Tennessee have winning records. Detroit won’t have one by the end of the year; the Packers and Titans have superhuman quarterbacks to even things out.
So there ya go. The answer is not actually Brian Griese, or someone else behind center; its the guy behind the guy.
Green Bay 31, San Diego 24–Brett Favre is playing like he’s ten years younger and the Packers are off to a 3-0 start. Down 21-17 with under five minutes left, the Packers drove down the field, setting up a 4th-and-inches from just outside the goal line. For some reason, they spread it out to a 5-receiver shotugn formation, and Favre’s pass was incomplete. But Brett took the Packers’ coaching staff off the hook with a great final two minutes, throwing a perfect slant to Greg Jennings which he took the distance to give the Pack the lead. Nick Barnett then picked off a pass on the ensuing Charger possession and returned it inside the San Diego five to set up the clinching score by Brandon Jackson. With the superb play of Favre and a tough defense, the Packers have proven themselves the team to beat in the NFC North so far.
Kansas City 13, Minnesota 10–I really don’t have much to say about this game. Adrian Peterson looks like the real deal. But until the Vikes get a passing game, they’re not going to score a lot of points. On the other side, Dwayne Bowe has been impressive in his first few NFL games, and he caught a game-winning touchdown pass with under ten minutes remaining.
New England 38, Buffalo 7–The Patriots continue their early dominance and Dick Jauron inches closer to unemployment. Randy Moss has five touchdowns in three games, and the Patriot defense, playing without standout safety Rodney Harrison, looks outstanding. Its very early, and a lot of things can happnen, but at this point New England is easily the best team in football.
NY Jets 31, Miami 28–A matchup of 0-2 teams netted a pretty high-scoring game, as the Jets held on to beat the fish. The score made it look closer than it actually was, as New York led 31-13 with 9 minutes left. The Dolphins outgained the Jets 424 to 259, but a Leon Washington 98 yard kick return was key to the New York win. Trent Green (318 yards) and Ronnie Brown (211 total yards, 3 TD) led Miami, but the inability to stop the Jets running game killed any chance for a road victory.
Philadelphia 56, Detroit 21–Racists everywhere ridiculed Donovan McNabb after this game for not scoring 60 points. In reality, McNabb threw for 381 yards–322 to Kevin Curtis and Brian Westbrook. The score was 42-21 at halftime, and seemingly over. The Lions defense will look to rebound next week against an atrocious Bears offense.
Pittsburgh 37, San Francisco 16–The Steelers look like a top 3 NFL team right now, as Willie Parker ran for 133 yards in the win. Pittsburgh has only given up 26 points in 3 games thus far, and Ben Roethlisberger is playing extremely well to this point. The Niners got nothing from Alex Smith or Frank Gore, and a little shine from their 2-0 start was taken away after this loss.
Tampa Bay 24, St. Louis 3–The Rams are in real trouble as they got spanked by the Bucs down in Florida. Marc Bulger had his worst game in a long time, throwing for under 120 yards. Steven Jackson went over 100 yards for the first time this year, but a lack of a passing game hurt the Lou. For the Bucs, Earnest Graham scored two times to lead a strong rushing attack which picked up 182 yards. Some dude named Ruud had 11 tackles and a pick for Tampa, and Jeff Garcia celebrated by watching ‘Steel Magnolias’ and having a good cry.
Baltimore 26, Arizona 23–The ravens continue to prove to be one of the worst good teams in NFL history. They always have quarterback issues, a somewhat solid running game, bad receivers and a good defense. They’re really boring to watch, yet they’re in the playoffs all the time. They’re like the AFC Chicago Bears. Anyway, Kurt Warner put down the clipboard and led the Cardinals back from a 23-6 defecit to tie the game, but a last second Matt Stover field goal won it for Baltimore.
Indianapolis 30, Houston 24–This is almost a moral victory for the Texans, who without their best player, Andre Johnson, played the defending champs very close but were unable to pull off the win at home. Peyton Manning had a ho-hum 20 for 29 day, throwing for 279 yards. But he only had one touchdown. What a scrub. Special shout out to Colts corner Marlin Jackson, who had 15 tackles. 15 tackles for a corner? Who was keeping the stats, Marlin’s momma? Anyway, the Texans look much improved but the Colts have to feel good at 3-0, including two road division wins.
Jacksonville 23, Denver 14–I’m beginning to think Mike Shanahan is a really overrated coach. Yes, he has two titles. But he also had the best quarterback, best running back, best offensive line, great receivers, perhaps the best tight end and an underrated defense on those teams. Remember, this dude traded Clinton Portis because anyone could be a star runner in his system, and he then drafted Maurice Clarett in the third round. Now, the Broncos are two last second field goals away from being 0-3. The Jags dominated time of possession by holding the ball for almost 39 minutes, beating Denver at their own game.
Oakland 26, Cleveland 24–So last week, the Broncos called a late timeout just before the Raiders attempted a game winner, making them try the same kick twice. On the second attempt, they missed the field goal and the Broncos went on to win. Sunday, the Browns lined up for a game winning field goal and made it, but the Raiders called timeout just before the kick, forcing the Browns to kick again. On their second attempt, the Raiders blocked it and held on for the win. (That make sense?). Anyway, look for whoever is playing the Browns next week to get the same crap pulled on them en route to a Cleveland late victory.
Seattle 24, Cincinnati 21–These are, like, the same team. Good offenses, soft defenses. But Seattle was at home, so they won by 3. Ya know how they say if two teams are even, the home field advatage is worth three points. Here you go. Look at this game, and the Jets-Miami game. And the Kansas City-Minnesota game. Anyway, Nate Burleson caught a late touchdown and the Seahawks are 2-1.
Carolina 27, Atlanta 20–Joey Harrington blew the fuck up, son. It didnt matter. Carolina continues to be consistently inconsistent, if that makes sense. Steve Smith gets one catch, yet they score 27 points. Whatever.
NY Giants 24, Washington 17–The Giants came back from a 17-3 defecit to win their first game of the year. Plaxico Burress made a spectacular catch and run to give New York their 7 point lead, which would eventually be the difference. But Joe Gibbs might be more of a difference maker in this game than Burress. With little time left, the Redskins faced a 3rd and goal on the Giants 2. Gibbs then took over the playcalling duties from offensive coordinator Al Saunders and called two running plays for Ladell Betts, both of which were stuffed to give the Giants the win. With a mobile quarterback like Jason Campbell, to not call at least one playaction or run/pass option play in those last two is just insane. I understand you’re Joe Gibbs and you run the ball, but a stretch play on the goalline is not the call to make down 7 on 4th down. On the bright side for Washington, Campbell looks like he’s really maturing into a solid NFL signal caller.
Dallas 34, Chicago 10–Holy Christ. 3-3 at halftime. 10-10 with 5 minutes left in the third quarter. From then on, it got real dirty. And not dirty in the Christina Aguilera, sexy slut kind of way. I mean ugly. I’ve been a Rex defender for the last year-plus; but he’s playing worse now that he did late last year and even in the Super Bowl. I think you have to make a change. But the real problem here is that changing the quarterback is not going to save this offense. The front line has been brutal for three games. Olin Kruetz has proven to be really overrated. Guys just run through him and he’s good for one personal foul a game, at least. Cedric Benson sucks. I was really wrong about this guy. I thought trading Thomas Jones was a solid move. Benson showed flashes of greatness last year and I thought he deserved a chance to carry the load, but so far this year, when he has gotten the touches, he’s looked shaky. He has also fumbled in key situations twice already this year. Bernard Berrian is dropping the ball. Muhsin Muhammed is the most overpaid player in the NFL. Seriously, he’s worthless. He gets open like 3 times a game, and out of those three times he drops the ball at least once. Ron Turner is having a horrid first three games. the Bears are down 20-10 last night with 10 minutes left. They need a nice, sustained drive which gets at least 3 points. You have a quarterback who has shaky confidence. Do you run the ball on first down? No. Do you throw a screen, hitch, or slant to give Rex the optimum chance of completing a pass? No. you run a two-receiver route, with one guy running a flag route twenty yards downfield. The guy is triple-covered, and it gets picked off and returned for a touchdown.
So, to recap, other than the quarterback, running back, wide receivers, playcalling and offensive line, the Bears offense is looking really good. The Cowboys offense, on the flip side, is beastly. Tony Romo is running around making plays, and John Madden says Romo reminds him of Favre. Since Favre might be retiring soon, Madden needs a quarterback who’s balls he’s gonna caress during every game. looks like the EIU product is the leader in the clubhouse. Marion barber is an absolute killer. He might be best running back not getting the majority of his team’s carries in NFL history. Seriously, he just trucks people. And TO was open all day, just manhandling the Bears secondary.