When Greg Olsen went down with a broken right foot in the Panthers week two victory over Buffalo, things were starting to look bleak for the Carolina offense. A week three offensive performance that was the football equivalent of a dumpster fire made matters only worse, as it looked like the Panthers would be completely anemic without their stud tight end. Then, suddenly, the Panthers passing offense awoke with a jolt, lighting up both the Patriots and the Lions for 300+ yards through the air and reassuring fans that they weren’t going away any time soon. Cam Newton has taken a lot of the credit for this offensive resurrection, but a player that has been overlooked a little bit is Devin Funchess, who has without a doubt been playing the best football of his career this season. When Funchess was drafted by the Panthers out of Michigan in the second round of the 2014 Draft, the selection raised more than a few eyebrows. After all, Funchess’ best pro comparison to a current NFL player was Kelvin Benjamin, so it wasRead More
A very interesting week for Cam Newton and the Panthers (to say the least) was capped off in about the best way possible: a solid team win in Detroit and another brilliant performance by Newton. Cam, who sported a Rosie the Riveter pin a few days after “the incident” went down, carried the team for a second straight road victory against a formidable opponent. There was a point in the game where Newton had a perfect passer rating of 158.3, and he finished the day completing 78.8% of his passes for 355 yards, marks that seemed unimaginable just two weeks ago. Despite making a dumb mistake and then having to deal with insane levels of fallout and media scrutiny because of it, Cam didn’t let the events of the past week affect his performance at all. Perhaps even more pleasantly surprising than Newton’s second consecutive gem was tight end Ed Dickson’s 175 yard day. A traditional backup pushed into the starting role because of Greg Olsen’s injury, Dickson gained more than 150 yards receiving before halftime, which was more thanRead More
The 2017 NFC Season, roller coasters and yo-yos. Three items that operate in a similar fashion. Of course a roller coaster or a yo-yo never ripped out your heart when they lose. What-the-hey just happened? Week 4 of the NFL season continues to push the concept of parity to new heights. The NFC Power Ranking will post weekly with regular ProFootballTalkLine.com analyst, authors, and pundits from your favorites team creating individual list that we then add together for the combined (and final) ranking. Below the chart each contributor will list their reason(s) for the biggest move up or down their board from the previous week as well as discuss any detail they feel important to their rankings. You can sort the ranking from any individual contributor by clicking on their name. You can also use the series links at the top and the bottom of the post to navigate to any specific 2017 NFC Power Ranking. Ed Note: Click here for the 2017 AFC Power Rankings As always … comment below.
Cam Newton had been putting up some uninspiring performances so far this season, and after his first interception of the day in the first quarter, it seemed like this would be just another game to add to the list. He had struggled in every game so far this year, missing easy throws and making horrendous decisions. Panther fans were ready to hit the panic button and declare that Newton had lost his ability to perform at a high level, and reports swirling around about possible front office concern with Cam’s health only fed the growing fire. So, the collective thought that ran through the minds of the Panther faithful after their QB’s fifth interception of the season? “Oh no, here we go again,” I’ll be the first to admit it. I was beginning to lose faith in Cam. After a total dud of a 2016 season, I was ready to see him come back with a vengeance this year and light the league up like he did in his MVP campaign. I also recognized that there would be a bit ofRead More
The Panthers managed to put up 23 points on the 49ers, but the offense’s performance was anything but pretty. Cam Newton only threw 24 passes in last week’s victory, among the lowest totals in his career. Newton was rusty for the entire first half, at times looking like he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with some passes. His worst miss was overthrowing a wide open Ed Dickson in the end zone that directly cost the team points. But everyone expected Cam to struggle. After all, he’d only thrown two passes in the entire preseason after undergoing shoulder surgery a few months before. And, Newton rebounded significantly, completing all six of his passes after halftime. The wide receivers struggles are a different story. Cam Newton may have been conservative with his sore shoulder, but for whatever reason, Panthers wide receivers were only targeted eight times the entire game on Sunday. Eight. Rookie running back Christian McCaffery was thrown at seven times, for a little perspective. It may have been the Panthers game plan to feature McCaffery heavily during the game, and offensiveRead More
The Carolina Panthers have definitely had an interesting offseason. Whether it was firing their General Manager a mere eight days before training camp or allowing their starting QB to only throw a grand total of two preseason passes, the Carolina front office has made a few questionable decisions. Some fans may be a little angry at what interim GM Marty Hurney has decided to do with the roster while shaving down the amount of players from 90 to 53. Fan favorites like Austin Duke and Ben Boulware didn’t survive the final cuts, while less-than-fan-favorites Graham Gano and Harrison Butker (two kickers) both did. However, these moves were made for a reason, and although you may not agree with them, it’s important to understand the thought process behind a few of the more controversial decisions. Keeping Two Kickers Look, I’m not much of a fan of this move. I think one of the kickers is taking up a valuable roster spot that could either be used on a defensive back or a wide receiver. Graham Gano’s days seem to be numbered inRead More