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

Pelicans open second half with eye on playoff streak

Pelicans open second half with eye on playoff streakThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans begin the second half of the [more]

Mutiny gives Strand fans small taste of World Cup

Mutiny gives Strand fans small taste of World CupAmerican soccer fans don't have a rooting interest in this [more]

All-County Track & Field: Second shots strike silver

All-County Track & Field: Second shots strike silverThe frontrunners in this year's My Horry News All-County Girls [more]

Pelicans help propel South to victory in All-Star Game

Pelicans help propel South to victory in All-Star GameA pair of Myrtle Beach Pelicans played key roles in [more]

NMB's Ballard, MB's Coble reconnect at North-South

NMB's Ballard, MB's Coble reconnect at North-SouthA pair of former teammates and rivals joined forces for [more]

Pelicans fail to finish .500 after losing first-half finale

Pelicans fail to finish .500 after losing first-half finaleThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans dropped their final game of the [more]

CCU's Biermann, Lancaster make All-American squad

CCU's Biermann, Lancaster make All-American squadCoastal Carolina shortstop Seth Lancaster and designated hitter Zach Biermann [more]

Ibarrondo comes to rescue to rally first-place Mutiny

Ibarrondo comes to rescue to rally first-place Mutiny The Myrtle Beach Mutiny needed a wake-up call late Saturday [more]

Pelicans split twinbill with Mudcats, play finale today

Pelicans split twinbill with Mudcats, play finale todayAfter the Myrtle Beach Pelicans fell 2-1 to the Carolina [more]

Pelicans lose fifth straight, play doubleheader today

Pelicans lose fifth straight, play doubleheader todayVictor Diaz's seven strong innings for the Carolina Mudcats were [more]

All-County Boys Tennis: Johnson, MB duo top list

All-County Boys Tennis: Johnson, MB duo top listThe future looks bright for the sport of high school [more]

Hess carves his way to Team USA surfing nod

Hess carves his way to Team USA surfing nodCarter Hess carved his way to a spot on the [more]

Pelicans' bullpen spoils Thompson's perfect start

Pelicans' bullpen spoils Thompson's perfect startAfter Keegan Thompson was removed following seven perfect innings for [more]

Piggot feasts, scores four goals to lead Mutiny win

Piggot feasts, scores four goals to lead Mutiny winThe Myrtle Beach Mutiny rolled to a 6-0 victory over [more]

CCU trio makes all-region; Lancaster an All-American

CCU trio makes all-region; Lancaster an All-AmericanCoastal Carolina shortstop Seth Lancaster was named to the Perfect [more]

Braves' icons Avery, Jones to appear at Pelicans game

Braves' icons Avery, Jones to appear at Pelicans gameThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans will welcome former MLB All-Stars and [more]

Coastal guard Labinowicz announces plan to transfer

Coastal guard Labinowicz announces plan to transferCoastal Carolina University men's basketball player Artur Labinowicz plans to [more]

Report: Myrtle Beach Bowl 'near lock' for 2020 kickoff

Report: Myrtle Beach Bowl 'near lock' for 2020 kickoffIn yet another development in the Grand Strand's booming sports [more]

Adaptive surfers depart for US Surfing Championship

Adaptive surfers depart for US Surfing ChampionshipLocal surfers, volunteers, and family members gathered at the Charleston [more]

All-County Boys Golf: MB's Jarman trades bat for club

All-County Boys Golf: MB's Jarman trades bat for clubIf things had worked out differently, Myrtle Beach High senior [more]

Gamecocks' season ends one win shy of Omaha

Gamecocks' season ends one win shy of OmahaThe University of South Carolina baseball team saw its season [more]

Pelicans' Ademan, Pereda, Peyton make all-star team

Pelicans' Ademan, Pereda, Peyton make all-star teamMyrtle Beach catcher Jhonny Pereda, right-hander Tyler Peyton and infielder [more]

Johnson wins at St. Jude, recaptures No. 1 ranking

Johnson wins at St. Jude, recaptures No. 1 rankingFormer Coastal Carolina two-time All-American and Myrtle Beach resident Dustin [more]

Gamecocks slam their way into final game with Hogs

Gamecocks slam their way into final game with HogsThe South Carolina baseball team scored five runs in the [more]

Pelicans win ninth straight, make late run at first place

Pelicans win ninth straight, make late run at first placeThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans racked up their ninth straight win [more]

Pelicans open second half with eye on playoff streak

Pelicans open second half with eye on playoff streakThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans begin the second half of the [more]

Mutiny gives Strand fans small taste of World Cup

Mutiny gives Strand fans small taste of World CupAmerican soccer fans don't have a rooting interest in this [more]

Leave a Reply

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

© 2018 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach