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文章發表於 : 週三 2月 20, 2019 11:30 am 
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As I reflect on the things I’m grateful for on this Thanksgiving Day www.pantherscheapshop.com , being a fan of the Carolina Panthers definitely makes my list. I grew up in West Valley City, Utah in the 1980’s as an avid sports fan who played the basketball-baseball-football annual cycle. then to wide receiver and safety in junior high as my friends mutated through puberty earlier than I did. Living in Utah meant I had no hometown NFL team. I jumped on the Los Angeles Raiders bandwagon as a kid because of guys like Marcus Allen, Lyle Alzado, Todd Christensen, and Howie Long, but none of my friends were Raiders fans so I had nobody to commiserate with on Mondays. There were small pockets of Denver Broncos fans due to geography and smatterings of San Francisco 49ers fans in the 1990’s because of Steve Young’s ties to Utah. Ultimately, I felt like an NFL nomad, a kid who was passionate about the Raiders and the NFL in general, but few people reciprocated my level of interest in professional football. This continued into my twenties until my wife and I moved to Greensboro, North Carolina for work in 2003. I immediately jumped on the Panthers bandwagon and fully embraced my new hometown team. The Cardiac Cats reciprocated that season with their exhilarating run to the Super Bowl. After my experience growing up without a local NFL team, I’m thankful to have the Carolina Panthers in my own backyard. The community of Panthers fans who passionately follow our team makes my life more enjoyable as we revel in the wins and bellyache together about the losses. Being a Panthers fan surrounded by other Panthers fans adds happiness and community in my life. There are many states and cities that don’t have what we have here. And not only do we have a football team to call our own, we have a consistently good football team to root for! Since I arrived in 2003 the Panthers have gone 136-113-1 (.546) which ranks them No. 12 in wins over that period of time. To get even more recent, the Panthers 57 regular season wins between 2013 and 2018 ranks fifth in the NFL, trailing only the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Seattle Seahawks.When it comes to the postseason, since 2003 the Panthers have made the playoffs in seven of 15 seasons, including four of the last five years. Their eight playoff wins ranks No. 8 in the NFL since 2003 and they’ve reached the Super Bowl twice. The vast majority of NFL fans would trade their franchise’s recent track records for the Panthers in a heartbeat. Not only are the Panthers a winning team, we as fans are fortunate to have incredibly fun players to watch. Cam Newton has a dominant mix of passing and running that has never before been seen in the NFL. Luke Kuechly will go down as one of the best linebackers in NFL history, health permitting. Thomas Davis has been an inspiration for the last 14 years. Julius Peppers has returned home. Greg Olsen is one of the most productive receiving tight ends the league has ever seen. Christian McCaffrey is absolutely electric with the ball in his hands and D.J. Moore might become Steve Smith 2.0. This isn’t to say everything’s perfect about being a Panthers fan. We seem to be blowing the 2018 season after a promising 6-2 start. While our team is capable enough to consistently compete Carolina Panthers T-Shirt , we’re just not quite good enough to consistently contend. The circumstances leading up to Jerry Richardson’s sale of the franchise will hang over the team’s reputation for years to come as well. That said, I can’t imagine my life without the Panthers at this point. Despite the last two ugly losses, the Carolina Panthers make my life so much more enjoyable. I know what it’s like to not have a hometown NFL team. I’m thankful I have one now. And I’m grateful it’s the Carolina Panthers. Note: This is my first article as a contributor at Cat Scratch Reader. I’ve been an everyday reader and infrequent fan poster here for about ten years. It is an honor and pleasure for me to contribute and I hope you enjoy my content as much as I enjoy creating it.In this segment we’ll take a look at the progress and projections of each of the Panthers 2018 draft picks. Six weeks from now we’ll revisit this report and see just how each rookie stacks up against their pace from the first third of the season. Hopefully, we see some exponential returns as the game slows down for these first year Panthers.D.J. Moore, WR—Round 1, Pick 24 (No. 24 overall)Through six gamesReceiving13 receptions (18 targets)191 yards1 touchdownRushing46 yards (4 attempts)Full season paceReceiving35 receptions (48 targets)509 receiving yards3 touchdownsRushing123 yards (11 attempts)A D.J. Moore-type player was the answer to our prayers. Weapons to keep Cam Newton from having to drop dimes that clunk off the hands of Kaelin Clay in the playoffs were everything we could have asked for. Although Moore isn’t quite ready to be a stark contributor yet, he has the tools to be an absolute superstar in this league. Teammates have spoken glowingly of Moore and what he can bring to this offense, but patience is a virtue when it comes to the development of wideouts in this league. Nevermind what four-year Saban spawn, Calvin Ridley, has done on a pass-happy Atlanta team. Ridley may have a higher floor of potential, but his ceiling is dramatically lower than that of Moore’s. I stoutly believe that D.J. will surpass his current season pace as he continues to ramp up his responsibility under Norv Turner. Considering the play of Donte Jackson, the Panthers seem to have made the right choice with their first round pick. Outlook: Ice Up, Son 2: Rivera’s RevengeDonte Jackson, CB—Round 2, Pick 23 (No. 55 overall)Through six games3 interceptions1 forced fumble28 tackles5 passes defensedFull season pace8 interceptions3 forced fumbles75 tackles13 passes defensedThis kid can be special. Really special. The Carolina revolution continued with the addition of the fastest defensive back in the draft. With 4.32 speed and unmitigated swagger, this defense immediately improved with the addition of the former LSU cornerback. The most surprising aspect of Donte’s game has been his ability to tackle in open space. He makes this defense significantly more fun to watch, although the comparisons to Josh Norman are unreasonable. Josh wasn’t this impressive in his rookie year.Outlook: Dave Gettleman won’t be able to rescind his franchise tag, so we’ve got that going for us.Rashaan Gaulden, S—Round 3, Pick 21 (No. 85 overall)Through six games7 tackles, 1 TFLFull season pace19 tackles, 3 TFLWith their third pick of the draft, the Panthers decided to double down in the secondary Carolina Panthers Hats , taking hybrid safety Rashaan Gaulden out of Tennessee. This pick had Ron Rivera written all over it. The intention of the coaching staff is to develop Gaulden into a “big nickel” corner to specialize in shadowing the freakishly athletic tight ends that we’ve seen popping up all over the league. Gaulden hasn’t played much this season, especially after the addition of Eric Reid, but I can’t say I’ve seen him make any major mistakes either. This is still the greatest highlight we have from Gaulden, and I’m okay with that.Outlook: Someone is going to have to lock down Travis Kelce in the Superb Owl.Ian Thomas, TE—Round 4, Pick 1 (No. 101 overall)Through six gamesReceiving10 receptions (16 targets)72 yardsFull season paceReceiving27 receptions (43 targets)192 receiving yardsThis may have been the Panthers most intriguing pick. Ian Thomas, a JUCO transfer, contributed sparingly at Indiana, but showed major potential through his sheer size and athleticism. The Panthers decided to kick off the third day of the draft by taking the heir-apparent to an aging and injury-prone Greg Olsen. This pick was all about upside, and similarly to his career at Indiana, Thomas has shown flashes but has yet to fully contribute. This is to be expected. Thomas was thrusted into a starting role in Week Two after Greg Olsen went down with a broken foot for the second straight season and, at times, looked like a deer in headlights. Thomas has made a number of mistakes at crucial moments, including a dropped touchdown against Atlanta and two quit routes that led to Cam Newton interceptions against Cincinnati. The kid is a work in progress but the ceiling is high. Let’s just hope Jason Witten can rebound in the Monday Night Football booth so ESPN doesn’t have to give Greg Olsen a call this offseason. Outlook: Somewhere between Brandon “Swole Bones” Williams and Antonio Gates.Marquis Haynes, DE—Round 4, Pick 36 (No. 136 overall)1 game activeThe all-time sacks leader at Ole Miss hasn’t seen much playing time this year. Marquis Haynes has been inactive for most of the season, and that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. While Haynes may be solid depth at the moment, if Hurney were to pull the trigger and trade for a pass rusher to boost this defense, Marquis could be on the chopping block. Outlook: Depth third down pass rusher, but probably better off as a 3-4 outside linebacker.Jermaine Carter, LB—Round 5, Pick 24 (No. 161 overall)6 games active, 1 tackleJermaine Carter was an interesting pick here considering the abundance of talent the Panthers have at the linebacker position already. Once you get past the fourth round Carolina Panthers Hoodie , all bets are off when it comes to drafting for need. A captain of the defense and numeric counterpart to DJ Moore at Maryland, Jermaine was highly respected by teammates and coaches alike. He led the team in tackles for three consecutive seasons. After a flashy preseason, Carter was able to achieve a spot on the roster and has had a substantial impact on special teams. The former Terrapin has also gotten a few snaps at outside linebacker, where he’s gotten to learn under some of the best in the business.Outlook: Solid depth at a position that could look at lot weaker after the Mayor of Charlotte chooses to get into politicsAndre Smith, LB—Round 7, Pick 16 (No. 234 overall)1 game active I’m a big Tarheel fan and, honestly, this felt like a steal in the seventh round. Andre Smith was spectacular at North Carolina before missing the final 10 games of his Junior season with a major knee injury. Making the roster was impressive, but this retention was based on potential more than anything. Especially in an absolutely stacked linebacker room. Thus far we haven’t seen much of Andre, especially since he is currently dealing with a hamstring injury. Look for him to potentially step in and make an impact on special teams sooner than later, especially considering linebacker Jared Norris was recently placed on IR. Outlook: Low risk, high reward potential special teams aceKendrick Norton, DT—Round 7, Pick 24 (No. 242 overall)0 games active, practice squadKendrick Norton hasn’t had much impact on this Panthers team. He was delegated to the practice squad after an underwhelming training camp. However, Norton quite possibly gave us the best quote of the season after being passed over by all 32 teams in the NFL draft numerous times. Incredible. He’s got a long way to go here, but hey, it’s only his year one. Outlook: Practice body with some fire in his belly.The Panthers drafted a lot of “boom or bust” players. Guys that have extremely high ceilings, while also presenting some risk to dud. In typical Ron Rivera fashion, this roster defers to veteran players. It’s been difficult to fully evaluate what a majority of this draft class will contribute (or not contribute) to this team yet, but the potential for greatness is there. Hopefully the next time I write this segment we have a much clearer view these players’ roles unobstructed by the bubble wrap placed on them by a coaching staff that predicates themselves on crippling conservatism.


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