Panthers open preseason with new focus on winning

Entering his third NFL season when open the preseason against the Chicago Bears on Friday night, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has plenty to prove.

Even though he set a handful of records his first couple years, the main stat that defines Newton is the Panthers 13-19 record since 2011.

When Dave Gettleman was asked this week if Newton was the quarterback the team should build around, the first-year general manager paused, and then answered, “Yes, he is. But now it’s time to win.”

Gettleman at once praises Newton and believes his accomplishments are often overlooked, but is specific about the bottom-line issue.

“Cam has had the best two years of any rookie quarterback in NFL history,” Gettleman said, sort of extending the meaning of a rookie year. “And everybody talks about the other young (quarterbacks). What he’s done has been completely lost in the sauce because of the elephant in the room — the 13-19 record.”

But for Newton to be successful, the parts around him have to provide a significant amount of help. To many, some of his growth was stunted by former offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, who ran too much of the Panthers offense through his young quarterback.

Besides needing new offensive coordinator Mike Shula to realize Carolina has a talented stable of running backs that can handle much of the offensive load, Newton would benefit immensely by the emergence of at least one more weapon in the passing game.

Wide receiver Steve Smith and tight end Greg Olsen are very good 1/1A options, but the Panthers offense would be much more formidable if a guy like fourth-year wideout Brandon LaFell could improve significantly on his 44-catch, 667-yard, four-touchdown 2012 season.

With LaFell locked into the No. 2 spot, free agent signees Domenik Hixon and Ted Ginn were expected to battle for the No. 3 role. But after very solid OTAs and minicamp, the previously disappointing Armanti Edwards has continued to impress during camp.

During a recent practice in which Smith sat out, Edwards was used as the second receiver during team drills. And the former college quarterback, who many thought would be cut over the past couple seasons, continues to make some eye-catching receptions.

“I’m really excited to see him when we get to actually playing the football games in the preseason,” Rivera said. “And I hope it does translate because he’s earned it.”

While the Panthers desperately need at least one guy from the LaFell, Hixon, Ginn and Edwards group to emerge this season, the fact remains no wideout is as essential as Smith.

The 34-year old is entering his 13th NFL season, but he surprisingly hasn’t lost the bulk of his speed or explosiveness.

So what’s been his secret to sticking around so long? He credits good genes and a diet of organic foods.

“What I’m doing at 34, there are GM’s hoping and praying they can draft a guy that can do what I’m doing,” Smith said.

As the clock winds down toward Carolina’s new season, there’s plenty of folks praying Smith can keep doing what he’s been doing. And perhaps there’s no one hoping as much as Carolina’s young quarterback and new GM.

Comments

comments

Chiefs stumble at Stags, suffer first loss of season

Chiefs stumble at Stags, suffer first loss of season North Myrtle Beach's record-setting season came to an end Friday [more]

Chants land in Bahamas with hot hand for hoops

Chants land in Bahamas with hot hand for hoopsFour players reached double digits for Coastal Carolina in the [more]

Gamecocks bounce back, blow out UTEP in Conway

Gamecocks bounce back, blow out UTEP in ConwaySouth Carolina's debut in the Puerto Rico Classic at the [more]

Beach Ball Classic lineup has big names, top teams

Beach Ball Classic lineup has big names, top teamsThe 2017 Beach Ball Classic announced its schedule for the [more]

Coastal shuts out Mercer, advances to face Clemson

Coastal shuts out Mercer, advances to face ClemsonFrantzdy Pierrot teamed up with Martin Melchor to give the [more]

Chants go west in quest for first Sun Belt victory

Chants go west in quest for first Sun Belt victoryThe Coastal Carolina football team (1-9, 0-6 Sun Belt) will [more]

Redbirds top Gamecocks in opener of PR Tip-Off

Redbirds top Gamecocks in opener of PR Tip-OffThe South Carolina men's basketball team has home court of [more]

CCU men, women suffer narrow six-point losses

CCU men, women suffer narrow six-point lossesJaylen Shaw scored 17 points, but it was not enough [more]

CCU nets honors, enters SBC tourney as top seed

CCU nets honors, enters SBC tourney as top seedThe Sun Belt Conference announced its final weekly volleyball awards [more]

Chants win Sun Belt title, face Mercer in NCAA tilt

Chants win Sun Belt title, face Mercer in NCAA tiltCoastal Carolina men's soccer team gathered in the athletics field [more]

Golf: SJ's White inks deal; CF's Spencer closes strong

Golf: SJ's White inks deal; CF's Spencer closes strongSt. James High golfer Jordan White made her first hole-in-one [more]

Gamecocks invade Strand to compete in PR Tip-Off

Gamecocks invade Strand to compete in PR Tip-OffFresh off its first Final Four appearance, South Carolina travels [more]

Riptides Racing swimmers dive in for rare double dip

Riptides Racing swimmers dive in for rare double dipRiptides Racing team had a busy weekend with two squads [more]

Youth Soccer: BUFC, Coast claim four championships

Youth Soccer: BUFC, Coast claim four championshipsSixteen Coast  FA teams entered the Adidas Clash in Greensboro, [more]

CCU volleyball captures Sun Belt title, No. 1 seed

CCU volleyball captures Sun Belt title, No. 1 seedThe Coastal Carolina volleyball team clinched the number one overall [more]

CCU suffers ninth straight defeat to big-play Trojans

CCU suffers ninth straight defeat to big-play TrojansMarcus Jones returned the opening kickoff 91 yards for a [more]

Late goal lifts Chanticleers into Sun Belt tourney final

Late goal lifts Chanticleers into Sun Belt tourney finalFrandzty Pierrott scored the winning goal in the 82nd minute [more]

NMB holds off Crestwood, goes to Lower State semis

NMB holds off Crestwood, goes to Lower State semisThe North Myrtle Beach High had to battle to keep [more]

Seahawks stunned on final play by Lower Richland

Seahawks stunned on final play by Lower RichlandShocking! That's the only word to describe Myrtle Beach's heartbreaking [more]

Class 5A: Tigers, Panthers defeated in second round

Class 5A: Tigers, Panthers defeated in second roundThis looked like it could be the year for Conway [more]

CCU men, women open seasons with big victories

CCU men, women open seasons with big victoriesCoastal Carolina University started the 2017-18 season in strong fashion [more]

Local trio of girls golfers playing in North-South

Local trio of girls golfers playing in North-SouthA trio of Horry County senior golfers are closing out [more]

Playoff Previews & Picks: Catch fire when it counts

Playoff Previews & Picks: Catch fire when it countsIt's not how you start, but how you finish. That [more]

CCU baseball announces 'ambitious' 2018 schedule

CCU baseball announces 'ambitious' 2018 scheduleHome games versus eight 2017 NCAA Regional teams and facing [more]

Carolina Forest, St. James top local list of signees

Carolina Forest, St. James top local list of signeesCarolina Forest and St. James had four student-athletes sign college [more]

Chiefs stumble at Stags, suffer first loss of season

Chiefs stumble at Stags, suffer first loss of season North Myrtle Beach's record-setting season came to an end Friday [more]

Chants land in Bahamas with hot hand for hoops

Chants land in Bahamas with hot hand for hoopsFour players reached double digits for Coastal Carolina in the [more]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2017 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach