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  • NFL Monday Night Football open thread
    by Bradley Smith on September 24, 2019 at 12:00 am

    Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images The Bears face Washington on Monday Night Football tonight. The Chicago Bears face off against Washington on Monday Night Football tonight. Use this space to talk about the action as it unfolds. You know the drill. This is now an open thread!

  • Kyle Allen will start Sunday’s game against the Texans
    by Bradley Smith on September 23, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Backup quarterback Kyle Allen will start his second straight game in Cam Newton’s stead this Sunday in Houston. Update: Ron Rivera says there is ‘no timetable’ for Cam Newton’s return. Ron Rivera, on ruling out Cam Newton this week: There is no timetable.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) September 23, 2019 The Carolina Panthers have announced that quarterback Cam Newton will not play on Sunday against the Houston Texans and backup quarterback Kyle Allen will start in his place for the second straight week. The Panthers have ruled out QB Cam Newton for Sunday's game at Houston (foot).— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) September 23, 2019 As I discussed in today’s stock up, stock down column, this is probably the best course of action for the Panthers to take. Something is clearly wrong with Cam’s foot, and the best thing they can do is give him a few weeks off to fully recover before putting him back out there and risking further injury. Allen played well against the Arizona Cardinals yesterday, and while it’s not likely that he’ll play as well against a better defense this week, we’ll at least get to see what he can do against an opponent who has more film on him and more time to prepare to face him. Hopefully he’ll be able to keep the team afloat for a few weeks and give Cam the needed time to heal up and be ready for a playoff run over the last 10-12 weeks of the season, or in the absolute worst case scenario prevent this season from being a complete disaster that’s not enjoyable to watch. Ron Rivera is expected to speak to the media shortly, so stay tuned as this story will likely be updated throughout the day.

  • Panthers 38 Cardinals 20: Stock up, stock down
    by Bradley Smith on September 23, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images There’s a lot to be happy about after the Panthers picked up their first win of the 2019 season. It sure feels better when the Carolina Panthers win, doesn’t it? Yesterday’s 38-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals was an all-around impressive display by all three parts of the Panthers team. I was very happy with the offense, defense and special teams, especially in the second half. The Panthers got off to a bit of a slow start, but fortunately they woke up in the second half and put the game away when they needed to. This week we’ve got a lot of players in the stock up section, and not much in the stock down section. That’s my preferred way to write this column, so hopefully the Panthers keep giving me reasons to do this. On to the stock report... Stock up There are so many people to point out here, so apologies if I forget anyone. I’m not going to go into extreme details here (otherwise this column will be way too long) so I’ll try to hit the highlights and be brief where possible. Kyle Allen: It’s a tough task for a backup quarterback to come into a game on short notice, and while Allen probably knew all week that he was going to start (even if the team kept that information from the media), fans were well within their right to have low expectations going into yesterday’s game. But boy oh boy did Allen deliver a memorable performance. He was 19-of-26 for 261 yards, FOUR touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating was 144.4 (Unfortunately it didn’t make it to 150; that would have been excellent.) and his ESPN QBR was 90.4 (I still don’t love that stat but it’s worth pointing out that even ESPN thought he played well). The only negative thing I can say about Allen’s game was the fumble on the first drive, and I’m not entirely sure it was his fault. He probably could have thrown the ball away, but I think it’s at worst a 50-50 share of the blame with the offensive line. Aside from that one bad thing, Allen was everything you could ever want from a backup quarterback in a spot start. And yes, this was a spot start. He’s not taking Cam Newton’s job if Newton is healthy. There is no quarterback controversy yet. This was one game, and while it was a good game, it was still one game against a lower level team with hardly any film on Allen. So let’s pump the brakes on the ‘we have a new quarterback’ takes, okay? And no, I’m not saying you can’t be happy for Allen. In fact, you SHOULD be happy for him. He played well and deserves to be celebrated. I’m just saying let’s hold off on crowning him as the new franchise quarterback. We’re not ready for that yet. If he’s 100 percent healthy, Cam is still the starter, but one thing’s certain — the Panthers at least have a decent option at backup quarterback for a few games if Cam’s not quite ready to play. I’m not sure what the coaching staff wants to do yet, but I wouldn’t be mad if they decided to let Cam have one more week off to ensure he’s 100 percent ready to go for the rest of the season. I think Allen can hold down the fort for one more game if necessary, especially if the end result is a fully healed Cam Newton. DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel: Both receivers played well yesterday and both found the end zone. Moore had an impressive 52-yard touchdown reception where he displayed his immense run after the catch ability, and Samuel worked his way open in the back of the end zone to tie the game at 7-7 early in the second quarter. Samuel also made what was arguably his best catch in a Panthers uniform to set up Greg Olsen’s second touchdown of the day when the snagged a ball out of the air and got both feet down at the Cardinals three-yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter. I like what both of these guys bring to the offense and can’t wait to see more of them. Christian McCaffrey: Mr. Everything was everywhere for the Panthers offense yesterday. He rushed for 153 yards on 24 carries (including a 76-yard touchdown run where he juked a defender right out of his cleats) and caught three passes for another 35 yards. You already know the story: CMC is pretty good, and the Panthers are lucky to have him as a focal point of their offense because he truly is a Swiss Army knife player. Greg Olsen: The ageless wonder’s still got it, y’all. He caught six balls for 75 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown gave the Panthers a 21-17 lead in the third quarter, and his second one gave Carolina a 35-20 lead that helped seal the victory in the fourth quarter. The only bad thing I can say about Olsen is that he was on my bench in fantasy football, but that’s more my fault than his. (In my defense, I also have George Kittle.) Christian Miller and Brian Burns: Both of our rookie edge rushers had good games yesterday, and Miller picked up his first two (of hopefully many) career sacks. Burns also added another sack to his tally, and both players showed why the Panthers were so high on them during the draft process. I like what I’m seeing from these two players and hope that we continue to see more of it as the season goes on. Donte Jackson: Action Jackson had two picks yesterday, the second of which was one of the most impressive feats of athleticism I’ve ever seen from a Panthers defender. It reminded me of that Josh Norman interception in the end zone against the New Orleans Saints a few years ago. Holy smokes that dude can get up in the air can’t he? (ICYMI: Yes, he can.) Mario Addison: The crafty veteran proved that he’s still got it with three sacks. In case you’re keeping count, Kyler Murray got sacked a lot, which is a good thing if you’re a Panthers fan (and you probably are if you’re still reading this). Shaq Thompson and Luke Kuechly: The two stud linebackers were all over the place yesterday, combining for 21 tackles (11 for Shaq, 10 for Luke), one sack, one tackle for loss and one quarterback hit (all Shaq). We need these two guys to be the glue that holds the defense together, and they were exactly that against the Cardinals. Eric Reid: Reid played well yesterday with six tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack and one quarterback hit. I’d like to see more of this, please! Stock down This section’s gonna be light, y’all. There’s not much that I can complain about, at least not enough to fill out this section of the column, so I’m just gonna point out one player and then a miscellaneous grab bag of goodies at the end. Is that okay? Good. Daryl Williams: The experiment has to be over at this point. He’s not a left tackle. When he was in at left tackle, the offense struggled. When Greg Little was in at left tackle, the offense soared. Watch the tape, Ron. Use it to make the right decision. Please, we’re begging you. Miscellaneous defense: I didn’t like the first half defense as much as the second half defense, because it seemed like the Panthers took a while to figure out how to stop Kyler Murray. There were moments where the tackling was a bit suspect (like when David Johnson scored early in the third quarter), and I thought Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald were open more times than I’d like to see. Other than that I thought the defense was pretty good. Miscellaneous offense: I wasn’t a fan of Kyle Allen’s fumble and the ensuing touchdown, but fortunately the Panthers shook it off and took control of the game in the second half. I also wish that Ron Rivera would have gone for two when the Panthers took a 28-20 lead to give the Panthers a two-score lead instead of a one-score lead. The only downside to going for two is that you’re up seven instead of eight if you fail, and the benefit is that you’re up nine if you succeed. It ended up not mattering, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the thought process there. Overall this was a great game for the Panthers and it’s good to see them pick up their first win of 2019. Hopefully this performance gives them a much-needed confidence boost they can build on to pick up their second win next week when they hit the road to face the Houston Texans.

  • Monday Morning Optimist: The Panthers aren’t dead yet
    by Brian Beversluis on September 23, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports The Carolina Panthers won their first football game of the 2019 season, without Cam Newton. And they aren’t done yet. I’m at a loss for words for what I just witnessed. The Carolina Panthers entered this game without Cam Newton, 0-2, coming off a brutal loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and basically grasping for straws to justify fans buying into this 2019 iteration. With Newton hurt and quite possibly as far away from his 2015 swagger as possible, walking into Sunday seemed like an execution. The Arizona Cardinals run more three or four wide receiver sets than any team in the NFL. They’ve thrown the ball more than all 31 other teams. This smelled like a bloodbath. And it certainly seemed like one as the game began. The Panthers started this game as they have the other two games of the 2019 regular season: productive, until they hit the redzone. Kyle Allen got hit with a strip sack after a promising first drive, the Cardinals scored on a methodical 14 play drive, and there I was watching this game wondering what exactly I did to justify this eternal suffering. But then, the Panthers fired back, with an 11-play touchdown drive of their own. But I wouldn’t be fooled. I knew better than to put my faith into this team, this was just a rare flash in the pan that didn’t leave me with burns. The teams traded punts, as we all expected, and Carolina had another chance inside of two minutes to (as we’ve come to expect) appear as though they were going to be aggressive and go for points, only to run the game clock out and jog to half time. Except... they didn’t. Instead, Norv Turner drew up a play to capitalize on last year’s first round pick’s talents, and was rewarded with a 52-yard catch and run for a touchdown, which turned out to be the shot of adrenaline this Panthers’ offense needed. They went after the Cardinals for the remainder of the game, gashing out 24 second half points, as Allen looked nothing like an undrafted free agent from one year ago and this offense finally delivered on the flashes of promise we saw the last two weeks. The Cardinals did everything in their power on defense to make Allen win this football game and by God did he make them pay for it. I don’t want to take anything away from this defense, or Donte Jackson and his two miraculous interceptions. But we knew this defense was good, and despite a Cardinals offense that initially kept them on their heels, they were still good. This six sack performance didn’t surprise me. Making consistent stops in the redzone was basically expected based on the body of work from this season. What surprised me was the offense, and Allen deserves his due. Allen didn’t come out and do just enough for the Panthers to win. Kyle Allen WON this football game. He was 19-of-26 for 261 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. This Panthers team tried very hard to make Christian McCaffrey the engine of their offense, and looking at the statistics alone you might be inclined to believe that he’s the reason the Panthers walked away with a win. But it isn’t. McCaffrey made a ton of plays, but when push came to shove and the Panthers needed a good passing play, more often than not, Allen succeeded. And he showed us all why he’s the first choice opposed to Will Grier at the moment. He didn’t play well, he thrived. This Panthers team seemed done for 2019, whether Cam sat out a week or the rest of the season. I had mailed in this season and devoted my time to making fun of the fact that Kyler Murray is physically comparable to a Corgi in regards to the other quarterbacks in the NFL. Allen brought me back to caring. Because he showed me that this team can succeed without Cam Newton doing everything. They don’t need Newton to be the 2015 MVP that he was, and probably will never be again. They just need Cam to allow the parts around him to make plays, and while he’s unavailable, Kyle Allen has more than bought my faith. This team can succeed without breaking the back of their quarterback, and they don’t need one to drag them to success anymore.

  • The Scratching Post: 9/23/19
    by Bradley Smith on September 23, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports Here’s today’s collection of Panthers links for you to discuss. Greetings, internet users. Welcome to The Scratching Post. Here’s some reading material from outside CSR for you to consume. Panthers DT Gerald McCoy fined for unnecessary roughness vs. Bucs | Tim Weaver, PanthersWireReport: Panthers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy fined for unnecessary roughness penalty vs. Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen. Jake Delhomme on his first broadcast: I was foaming at the mouth | Will Bryan, Panthers.comThe former Panthers quarterback and current radio analyst reflects on his debut in the booth. Carolina Panthers: Ron Rivera right to snap at media for questions | Danny Jaillet, Cat CraveThe Carolina Panthers head coach was involved in a little bit of a tense situation with the media In regards to Cam Newton on Thursday. Feel free to discuss the links above, or use this thread to chat about (almost) anything you want: video games, food, movies, non-football sports, you name it. As long as it’s allowed by the site’s ToS, it’s fair game here. You know the drill. This is now an open thread!


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