My Football Year

My football year was kind of disappointing. This is the first year in about 10 years that I didn’t play fantasy football. This was for a couple of reasons. One, even though I know there are free leagues out there, the one I normally play in has an entry fee and we’ve been broke ever since my wife has gone on maternity leave. Two, I just haven’t had the time since Baby E has been born. Continue reading

Week 13 Thoughts: MNU

I’m going to start with the games that I actually watched at least some of.

* The Bengals got killed 35-7. They were beaten in all 3 phases of the game. While there is hope for the Bengals in the future, this game proved that they still have some work to do before they catch up to the Steelers.

*Tebow brought the Broncos back again, this time against the Vikings 35-32. Willis McGahee has looked like a beast since Tebow has taken over. Maybe the Broncos have a playoff chance after all.

*Even when the Packers don’t have their best game, they still find a way to win. His receivers were dropping passes all day, but Aaron Rodgers still brought them back to beat the Giants 38-35. It was an awesome game to watch.

*I only watched a few minutes of the Saints/Lions game, but I really didn’t miss much from what I saw of the highlights. The Saints pretty much dominated, beating the Lions 31-17. The Lions have fallen apart, and now stand at 7-5 after starting the season 5-0.

Onto the games I didn’t see any of, except for highlights.

*Only one thing of note happened in the Chiefs 10-3 victory over the Bears, and that was the injury to Matt Forte. The Bears’ offense revolved around Forte, especially with Jay Cutler being injured, and without Forte for at least 2 weeks, their playoff chances are all but gone.

*The Eagles implosion continued as they lost to the worse-than-average Seahawks 31-14. Marshawn Lynch had another “Beast Mode” run, and it was awesome.

*The Colts at least made the score respectable in their loss against the Patriots, 31-24. Dan Orlovsky, of running out of the back of the endzone fame, had what will probably be the best game of his career, completing 30 of 37 passes for 353 yards and 2 TDs.

*The 49ers spanked the Rams 26-0. Nothing else really needs to be said about this game.

*Ray Rice rushed for over 200 yards as the Ravens destroyed the Browns 24-10. The only reason I cared about this game is that I have Rice on my fantasy team.

*Dallas drops another December game they should have won, this time losing to the Cardinals 19-13. All talk after the game was about Jason Garrett icing his own kicker at the end of regulation, leading to his kicker missing a game winning field goal. All I can do is laugh at them.

*I don’t know how the Falcons lost to the Texans, even though the Texans were down to their 3rd string rookie QB and with Andre Johnson injuring his other hamstring in the 3rd quarter.

There’s a few games I haven’t done, but they really didn’t matter to me. So in the interest of saving the best for last, here goes my take on my Panthers:

The Panthers finally put together a complete game, owning the Bucs 38-19. Cam Newton ran for 3 TDs and threw for another. His best stat of the game? No turnovers. Stewart and WIlliams combined to rush for over 100 yards and 1 TD.

The defense finally had a good game, holding Tampa Bay’s offense to less than 300 yards, allowing only 78 yards rushing on only 2.9 yards per rush. Where has that been all year? I know some people will say, “Yeah, but the Bucs were without Josh Freeman.” So what? Freeman hasn’t been all that good this year anyways. He sure as hell isn’t as good as he was last year.

I just hope that both sides of the ball learn from this game and keep it going. If the defense can stay with it, it will take some pressure off of the offense. If Cam can continue to limit his turnovers, something he hasn’t been doing to well all year, then this will be a dangerous team.

*Monday Night Update: The Chargers finally showed up for a game, beating the Jags 38-14. Granted, it was against the Jags, but San Diego’s offense finally looked like they should have all season. If only they could play this way all year…

Midseason Review: Carolina Panthers

Record: 2-6

This could easily be 4-4 or better. With the exception of the Atlanta game, where they lost by 14, all of their losses have been by a touchdown or less. The game that sticks out the most in this regard is the last one they played, against the Vikings. All their kicker had to do was make a 31 yard field goal, which would have sent the game into overtime. He botched it.

Offense:

The offense has looked very good, for the most part, all season. Cam Newton has been phenominal. I said before the draft that I didn’t think he was going to be a very good quarterback in the NFL. Then, during the preseason, he played like crap and I was preparing for a very long season. The first two games of the season, however, he goes into beast mode, eclipsing 400 yards passing in each. Granted, we’re only halfway through the season, but it looks like Cam is going to prove me wrong. I hope he does. The Panthers need him to keep playing like he has been, only with fewer turnovers.

Steve Smith has been benifitting the most from Cam’s play. He already has as many receptions, more yards and more touchdowns than he did all of last season. While the Panthers still don’t have another big threat at WR, the additions of Jeremy Shockey and Greg Olsen at TE have been huge for Smith and Cam. Combined, the duo has 53 receptions, 651 yards, and 5 touchdowns, meaning that the defense can’t always focus on Steve, giving him opportunites to get open.

The running game has been somewhat dissappointing. While DeAngelo Williams (4.8 ypc) and Jonathan Stewart (4.6 ypc) have been good, they really haven’t been as explosive as they have been in past years. I know some of that has to do with Cam being able to run the ball, but I was expecting more from this duo.

Defense/ Special Teams:

The Panther’s defense and special teams has been it’s downfall all year. When you lose a leader like Jon Beason to injury, like they did after only a week, it’s hard to recover from, but with Rivera’s defensive knowledge, he should still be able to coach this group up better than he has. Maybe this week’s bye will help with that. They need to be able to stop the run consistantly now to turn those close losses into good wins.

Our kick/punt returners have been horrible this year (KR: 21 ypr/ PR: 5.5 ypr). Either put someone else on the team back there that can give us better field position, or pick up someone off the waiver wire who can.

Overall:

This team looks a lot better than the one they put on the field last year, but there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.

Thoughts on the game

My brother and I went to the Panthers/Bengals game last night. I know it’s only a preseason game, but I saw a few things that troubled me about how the Panthers played.

1. Cam Newton sucks. Sure, he made a few plays with his feet, but his throwing was atrocious. I’m not saying that he will never become a good starting quarterback in the NFL (although I don’t think he will), but he’s nowhere near ready right now. I would rather see Clausen or Derek Anderson start at this point. Cam needs to sit on the bench for at least a few games. Start Clausen for those games, if he plays like he did last year, bench him and put Cam in. I have a feeling that if they start Cam game one, he’ll just be a more mobile version of Jamarcus Russell.

2. The Panthers defense needs some work. Our corners were constantly getting burned. They said Gamble left the game due to a thumb injury. It wouldn’t surprise me if they took him out because he was playing like crap. Also, the defensive line was getting pushed around whenever the Bengals ran the ball. I know that the defensive tackles are both rookies and they need some experience, but if they’re going to be the starters, they need to grow up quickly.

3. The running game looked pretty weak, as well. Preseason is when you’re supposed to work out the kinks in the system, and I know they took DeAngelo Williams out after the first quarter to make sure he didn’t get injured, but they were using the wrong backs on the wrong plays even before they took him out. They were pounding Williams up the middle, which is what they should have Stewart doing. They had Stewart running sweeps, which is what Williams should be doing. This is Rivera’s first year, but come on. Anyone who has ever seen a Panthers game should know that.

4. People in Cincinnati are crazy. Before we even get into the game, some guy in front of the stadium, holding a sign that said he was homeless, went nuts and started kicking a garbage can. On our way back to the car, after the game was over, some weird bitch was walking around with a puppet. Dumbass people…

Panthers Offseason Moves

This has been a very busy week for all NFL GMs. I’m just going to focus on what the Panthers have done so far.

1. Resignings- I’m pretty happy with the people that they’ve kept. DeAngelo Williams, while expensive, is the most explosive back that they have and is the best receiver they have out of the backfield. After Peppers left, nobody expected defensive end Charles Johnson to have the kind of season he had, posting 11.5 sacks. I’m not sure that they should’ve given that kind of money to someone for having just one good year, but if they didn’t pay him that, somebody else would have.

Giving Jon Beason a contract extension was a must. He’s been the best player on their defense since his rookie year in 2007. Thomas Davis, if he can stay healthy (which is a big if), can have as big an impact on the defense as Beason.

2. Signings- Before the lockout, they signed Jeremy Shockey. That will be either a very good decision or a very bad one. I don’t think there will be any middle ground in that move. I hope he can go back to being at least 75% of what he was in New York. If he can, that will be great, because he spent much of his time with the Saints injured.

I don’t get them signing QB Derek Anderson. I know they wanted to bring in a QB with some experience to teach Claussen and Newton, but, with the exception of one year, Anderson hasn’t done anything except suck. If they wanted to teach them to suck, they could’ve kept Matt Moore or brought back Jake Delhomo (although, if they brought back Delhomo, I’d mutiny).

3. Cuts- The only cut I have a problem with is K John Kasay. It’s not that he’s a good kicker anymore, he’s not. He blew an easy one last year at the buzzer that cost the team a win against the Browns. It’s just a sentimental thing. He’s been their kicker since the franchise formed in 1995 and was the last remaining original Panther until a few days ago.

4. Trade- I really like the trade they made with the Bears. They gave up next year’s third round pick to get TE Greg Olsen. Olsen has been a beast for the Bears, but his numbers dropped last year and I think I know why. Tight ends don’t do very well in the Mike Martz system. If either of the young QBs can get the passing game going, I’d bet that Olsen would be the reason for it.

That’s all I have for now. I might update this if any moves happen that I feel like writing about.