nba, nfl, nhl

Panthers DC: I wanted to jump from plane after loss

As Davis reaches the twilight years of his brilliant career and coach Ron Rivera holds Kuechly out of game action due to concussion concerns, it’s natural to wonder how long the dynamic duo will remain intact.

Davis was forced to confront his football future at a recent charity event when his daughter raised her hand and asked, “Why aren’t you around more?”

As Davis reaches the twilight years of his brilliant career and coach Ron Rivera holds Kuechly out of game action due to concussion concerns, it’s natural to wonder how long the dynamic duo will remain intact.

Davis was forced to confront his football future at a recent charity event when his daughter raised her hand and asked, “Why aren’t you around more?”

Now, I’m sure Rivera wishes that he could open up the medical cabinet and find the remedy for the Panthers’ ailments, but the truth lies in the tape — and the All-22 Coaches Film doesn’t paint a pretty picture. To be frank, Carolina looks nothing like the rock-solid squad that obliterated opponents with a high-octane, smashmouth offense and cheap nhl jerseys and a suffocating defense that thrived on takeaways and splash plays.

This year, the offense has been stuck in neutral, as Cam Newton struggles to regain his form. The sixth-year pro is completing just 57.9 percent of his throws with a 6:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio and an 80.2 passer rating. Those numbers are pretty jarring, considering the stats that he produced a season ago (59.8 percent completion rate, 35:10 TD-to-INT ratio, 99.4 passer rating) while directing an offense that led the league in scoring at 31.2 points per game. Although Newton is pacing the team in rushing yards — which actually isn’t a good thing — the big-bodied playmaker is having a tough time finding his mojo. And now he’s out for Sunday’s game against the Bucs, having suffered a concussion in the loss to Atlanta.

Rookie corner James Bradberry went down with an injury early in the 48-33 beatdown. The rest of the Panthers defensive backs got repeatedly picked on by Jones. The Panthers cut starter Bene’ Benwikere the following week.jersey

Entering Saturday’s rematch in Charlotte, the Panthers still rank last in pass defense, allowing an average of 274.8 yards per game. The young back end still has a tendency for too many breakdowns, but Bradberry and fellow rookie have improved as the season has progressed.

After the Panthers placed and then suddenly rescinded their franchise tag on Norman, the All-Pro signed a five-year deal with Washington, becoming the most valuable cornerback in the league at $15 million a year. Norman’s absence in Carolina’s secondary was immediately felt at the start of the season, most notably against the Falcons during Julio Jones’ 300-yard game, and has haunted Ron Rivera and throughout the year. Meanwhile, the corner is having quite a nice season in Landover — he’s the 18th-ranked cornerback in the league according to Pro Football Focus — and is proving wrong those who suggested he was a product of a Carolina game plan that kept him away from top-tier wideouts.

Of course, Norman has a massive chip on his shoulder, saying earlier this week that he’s as eager to match up against his former team “just as much as I’m looking forward to being Santa Claus.” Whatever that means. We expect the quips to keep coming on Monday night and to see some fireworks from both sides when Norman lines up against Kelvin Benjamin, Ted Ginn and Carolina’s receiving corps.

The Panthers entered the 2016 season with a streak of 32 consecutive games over 100 rushing yards — the longest such stretch since 1976. Since that streak came to an end in early October, they have been held under the century mark five more times. Lead back Jonathan Stewart turned back the clock for a season-high 132 yards in Week 15, but has otherwise averaged a problematic 3.6 yards per carry. Due nearly $6 million in 2017, Stewart will be a 30-year-old back with too much mileage under his belt, diminishing speed and a lengthy injury history.

Whether or not Stewart is retained, general manager Dave Gettleman has to place a priority on finding his successor. Scat back Fozzy Whittaker is limited to change-of-pace duty and kickoff returns, while 2015 fifth-round pick Cameron Artis-Payne has yet to crack the rotation. It’s past time to add a dynamic playmaking element to this backfield.