Sharpe Shooter: Bring on the Patriots

 

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original image via Charlotte Observer

Opinion: If the Panthers win the NFC Championship and advance to Super Bowl 50, I want to see the Patriots on the opposite side of the football

CHARLOTTE N.C. – Being the first opinion piece in my column for Bring Back The Buzz, let me breakdown what to expect in this piece, and in future opinion pieces. My column is titled “Sharpe Shooter.” It’s a play on words, referencing my last name. It also alludes to the fact that I have a low tolerance for bullshit…I have a very blunt and straightforward personality. I don’t sugarcoat anything, especially when I have an opinion on something. So without further ado, let me shoot it to you straight: Bring on the Patriots.

With the NFC Championship game on Sunday versus the Arizona Cardinals at The Bank, the team and the fans’ primary focus is obviously on the task at hand: Winning the game and securing our second trip to the Super Bowl in franchise history. Without a victory on Sunday, the next step in this historic season isn’t possible. However, diehard Panthers fans can’t help but focus on what is on the backburner: The AFC Championship game, with the winner being our opponent if we advance to the Super Bowl. Myself included, many Panthers fans would like to see the Patriots win the AFC Championship, so if we punch our ticket to Super Bowl 50, we have an instant-classic rematch of Super Bowl 38 – something that still haunts us all 13 years later.

After conducting a Twitter poll, 56 percent of fans that voted wanted to see the Panthers face off against the Patriots. Honestly, I was very surprised at statistic. I predicted a ballpark number around a 70 percent to 30 percent range, in favor of fans wanting the Patriots to be our potential opponent. After the Patriots received a slim percentage of being the favored opponent among fans, I conducted a second Twitter poll. With Patriots vs. Panthers being the matchup that more fans desired, I had to ask the question: Why? Fifty-four percent of voters wanted revenge from Super Bowl 38. Eight percent of voters wanted to dethrone the reigning Super Bowl champions. Thirty-four percent of voters responded to both aforementioned reasons. Personally, I identify with the latter group of voters. I want revenge and to dethrone the reigning champions, as well as to knock the Patriots off the pedestal they’ve been put on since Super Bowl 36. As follower @alexiariggins stated in a reply to the poll, she wants revenge, and argued, “to be the best you’ve got to beat the best.” While I have some strong feelings about the Patriots being “the best,” there is no denying they have been the most successful franchise since the turn of the millennium.

I agree with the voters and the vast majority of Panthers fans: I want revenge. I want to dethrone the reigning Super Bowl champions. Times are changing in the NFL. While a few franchises around the league – including the Panthers – have built a successful, winning platform to ride for the foreseeable future, the Patriots are on the decline. They are doing anything – and everything – to try and keep up (insert references to scandals over the years). Losing Super Bowl 38 to the Patriots still haunts me. The drive down the field leading up to the game-tying touchdown pass from Jake Delhomme to Ricky Proehl with 1:08 left on the clock in the fourth quarter is still one of my favorite on the field moments in franchise history. However, I still feel heartbreak when thinking about the following John Kasay out-of-bounds kickoff, giving the Patriots the perfect field position to set up Adam Vinatieri for the game-winning field goal – which I still hold as the most devastating moment as a fan of any of my sports teams. I still ponder what could’ve happened in overtime.

However, we cannot dwell on Super Bowl 38 forever. We can’t change the past, but we certainly have control over our future. The team is in the driver’s seat to tack the exclamation point onto this historic season. I feel like it is destiny. The team and the fans need to channel our memories and heartbreak from Super Bowl 38 into fuel for a possible matchup versus the Patriots. This is our year. To cap off this historic season, nothing would make a potential Super Bowl victory even sweeter than if it were to be a win over the Patriots. We want the Patriots. I want the Patriots. I have a gut feeling that this is fate, with fate being on our side 13 years later.

 

 

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Will the Legion of Boom Meets it’s DOOM This Sunday?

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DING DING DING!!!

Its about to go down in the QUEEN CITY! The Battle on the Gridiron that everyone has been waiting for. Your Carolina Panthers against the Seattle Seahawks. This will be one for the record books as these two herculean teams brawl for a trip to the Super Bowl.

So what will make or break these teams? lets take a look at the Achilles Heels of both teams and be sure to watch for it come game time.

  1. Seattle has a quick off the go QB we all know, Russel Wilson. Even though his playing style out of the pocket reminds me of a tiny speedy gondolas from the Loony Toons , he CAN and WILL hurt you on the ground and with his arm. SO DON’T BE FOOLED!!! If the Panthers -D line can effectively collapse the pocket on the sides instead of up the middle the SEA-HAWKS tapes and highlights this season show that he will most often hold and run up the middle. So Panthers if you are reading this do not let him shake you. If they kill the pocket Wilson will have less time and more pressure which as his stats showed earlier this year that he throws off either high or low-aka NORMAN-COLEMAN territory.
  2. Panthers have all of their top guns in the front lines again minus a Charles “Peanut” Tillman. Some see this as a hurt for the Panthers not having him in. However, Peanut is a huge asset on the sidelines and everyone on the team listens to the veteran, he will keep guys in check and guide them on what to look for-so in a way it helps not hurts to have another pair of eyes that knows what to look for on the field.

My prediction is that the Panthers can win this game since they are playing at home, but they can only do this if they

  1. keep composure under control (Norman)
  2. lock down Wilson on the ground on in the pocket and make sure he doesn’t get a hot hand.
  3. If the WR core can get Olsen open on slants
  4. if Ginn can wear out the defense with his speed
Luke

Sunday Night Football

Fate is not defined, its just a suggestion.

Week 1 Film Review: Jerricho Cotchery

[Photo Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez]

Jerricho Cotchery celebrates the team’s only offensive score of Sunday’s game.    [Photo: Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez]

 

 

There’s a reason that the day immediately following the first slate of NFL games is referred to as Over-reaction Monday.

The casual fan likely watches their favorite team play, or whatever game was broadcast in their market, and later begins to skim the rest of the league’s box scores. While a win in this league is worth it’s weight in gold, scores and stat lines aren’t always a telling indication of a team’s outlook going forward – or where it sits in the current landscape among others.

In week 1, the Seahawks lost to the Rams, Adrian Peterson only rushed for 31 yards, and Peyton Manning didn’t throw a single touchdown. All shocking realities you may have noticed in the score section – but none necessarily any cause for concern. As it relates to the Panthers, Cam Newton’s stat line of 175 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception is unimpressive by any measure. But the film reel would suggest that if not for a questionable pass interference call on Greg Olsen’s would-be touchdown, and an inexcusable drop by an end zone-bound Ted Ginn – Newton is looking at a much more appealing 214 yard, 3-score outing.

Of course, that’s not a sustainable point for argument’s sake; Its impossible to separate individual plays and analyze them in a vacuum. But it’s worth noting, to convey the disparaging gap between statistics and film. Below is another look at the Ted Ginn drop, in which the closest Jaguars defender was seen having a beer across the street:

 

If you’re looking for any hope in the realm of this season’s Carolina pass catchers, there may be reason to look to Jerricho Cotchery. While the 12th-year veteran’s most valuable asset comes off the field in the form of mentoring, and you won’t see him beating any top corners this late in his career — he still possesses the sure hands and precise route-running ability that allowed him to catch 10 touchdowns with Pittsburgh just two years ago.

He put that same route running on display in Jacksonville last week, as he went for Carolina’s only offensive score of the game. It was his supreme understanding of NFL defenses, as well as some timely footwork, that found him wide open in the end zone late in the first half.


 

FILM BREAKDOWN

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On first and goal from the Jaguars 7, the Panthers line up in the Shotgun, with 2 wide receivers Left and Jerricho Cotchery the lone receiver on the Strong side (bottom of frame). He motions toward the middle of the field and settles on the “10”, where he’ll begin his route. Notice both Greg Olsen and Jonathan Stewart drive their routes outward toward the right sideline, taking the outside linebacker and cornerback with them.

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Philly Brown also runs a flat to the left side of the field, sending a total of 3 defenders to the sidelines and opening up passing lanes to the middle of the field. At this point, Cotchery (red) seems to be settling into a short 5-yard route, which forces the middle linebacker to stay and maintain his zone responsibility. This also leaves the free safety with no choice but to lock into help-coverage with Ginn’s post route. (top-right of frame)

It is with great timing and footwork that Cotchery then breaks into the second hitch of his route, allowing him to find free space in the end zone.  Newton makes the correct read and places the ball just outside of the middle linebacker’s reach. Watch the play in-full below:

 

Without top-wideout Kelvin Benjamin this season, the Panthers will need their remaining pass catchers to step into greater roles than they’ve seen in the past — and with Greg Olsen tasked with blocking all-world defensive end JJ Watt this week, don’t be surprised if the veteran Cotchery sees more targets than usual; Especially in the red zone.

 

Cam Newton, We are calling you out!

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Our vocal Bring Back The Buzz supporters range from Mohamed Massaquoi, Alonzo Mourning, Vlade Divac, Dell Curry, Muggsy Bogues, JR Reid, Stephen Curry, Pat McCroy, and Felix Sabates. Lets go for the Mac Daddy himself!!!

So Cam Newton you have put down Charlotte roots. You bought your condo by Michael Jordan. You start a wonderful foundation for the betterment of youth social, emotional, educational, and physical needs in our community. You put Charlotte and the Carolinas back on the map at a new level. An icon for OUR city, the likes of which we have never seen. WE at Bring Back The Buzz are calling you out to save two franchises at the same time in this booming metropolis. 1st! Publicly support the renaming of the Bobcats back to the Charlotte Hornets, have it be radio or TV (your choice 🙂 ) you of all people know what history means to a sports team. 2nd! TELL JORDAN TO BRING BACK THE BUZZ!!!!!

To all our followers of Bring Back The Buzz! This is the next step! Do NOT rest until Cam “Isaac” Newton A.K.A. Ace Boogie has this city’s back and has read this message! Make it your status, send it to his Xbox360 account, Facebook, other Panther player’s twitters, His foundation e mail…etc. let’s show them what we’re made of.

Email: playcam@cam1newton.com
Newton’s gamertags are theACEboog1e (on Xbox 360) and CAMdaGREATx2 (on PlayStation 3).

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WE BEELIEVE!