Found July 17, 2012 on
During the busy off-season, the Carolina Panthers have been working to improve parts of their game that were not as good as they hoped, but will it be enough make the playoffs? They certainly have the offensive firepower to do it utilizing quarterback Cam Newton’s arm and legs. The Panthers can score with anyone in the league.
It was when the offense was stopped that things did not go so well at times last season. Carolina ranked last in the league in net punting and 30th out of 32 teams in punt return average in 2011. They were ranked in the bottom 10 in average field position after kicking off and fielding kickoffs. Addressing these needs were priorities in the off-season.
Olindo Mare, the Panthers kicker, will face stiff competition when camp opens on July 28.
Two players important to the kicking game last season and will be counted upon in 2012 to improve. Now in his 16th NFL season, placekicker Olindo Mare ranked second with 53 touchbacks and converted 22 of 28 field goals while making 44 PATs. Rookie Kealoah Pilares was fifth in the NFC with a 25.7-yard kickoff average, including a team record 101-yard return.
Improving the kicking game means bringing in competition for Mare, so the Panthers signed Justin Medlock, a former Canadian Football League kicker. Medlock, coming off a terrific season for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, hit 49-of-55 field goals, including a 57-yarder. Over his three year CFL career, he converted 96-of-111 field goals (86.5 percent) .
Joe Adams, a very exciting punt returner from Arkansas, was drafted in the fourth round, and should give the Panthers yet another weapon.
Brad Nortman is the first punter drafted by the Panthers and is expected to help fill a void from last season
To address the punting problem, Carolina drafted Brad Nortman from Wisconsin in the sixth round, and signed a proven veteran, Nick Harris. Nortman is the first punter ever drafted by the Panthers and should make an immediate difference.
Averaging 42.1 yards (gross average) as a four-year starter for the Badgers, he is not only an excellent directional kicker, landing 69 of his 199 punts inside the 20 versus 19 touchbacks, but was known for his hang time (53 punts resulted in fair catches).
Harris will begin his 12th NFL season in 2012. He spent eight years as the starting punter for the Detroit Lions and punted for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. He ranks 30th in NFL history in punts (876) and yards (37,213).
Long-snapper J.J. Jenson signed a four-year extension in March.
Another signing may not be glamorous, but having a quality, dependable long snapper on your roster is a key component to the special teams. After handling the long-snapping duties for every Panthers game in the previous three seasons, J.J. Jansen signed a four-year contract extension in March. He snapped more than 400 punts, field goals and extra points during those 48 games.
In addition to these signings, the Panthers also drafted or signed (via free agency) players they thought had the ability to play on special teams. D.J. Campbell (drafted in the seventh round) as well as free agent signees Kenny Onatolu, Haruki Nakamura, Reggie Smith and Mike Tolbert could play invaluable roles in improving the team this season.
Carolina’s commitment to improving special teams was not limited to players. They also hired Richard Rodgers as an assistant special teams coach to help coordinator Brian Murphy.
When Panthers training camp opens July 28 at Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC, they will have enough players to put together nearly three full squads. Competition will be fierce, as it is in all 32 camps, but if the Panthers want to get to the playoffs, the best players will shine day-in and day-out.
BEST OF MAXIM
Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton will not have his name on an Atlanta street after residents argued he was too young (Credit: AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
It seems as though the re-naming of an Atlanta street to Cam Newton Drive has hit a few speed bumps (pun intended). According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Residents of Scarborough Road in south Fulton argued at a public hearing...
According to Johnny Edwards of Atlanta Journal-Constitution, residents of south Fulton’s Scarborough Road are against the idea of changing their street name to honor Carolina Panthers star quarterback Cam Newton, since his. The reason some people want to rename the street is because him parents live there.
The residents don’t want to spend the money to change...
CAN'T DRIVE 55
Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy tweeted a photo of his car's speedometer which indicated he was driving 100 mph at the time.
Cam Newton had an excellent rookie season last year. That came on the heels of leading Auburn to a national title during his lone year with the Tigers, a year in which he also won the Heisman. So, yeah, it’s been a good couple years for the Panthers quarterback.
Good enough, apparently, for Georgia’s Fulton County to consider naming a stretch of road outside of Atlanta after...
On Monday, Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy took a twitpic of the sppedometer in his Bentley as he was driving 100 miles per hour down the road. His teammate, wide receiver Steve Smith decided to mock him today by twitpicing his own speedometer as he was driving 25 miles per hour. He actually texted the pic to offensive lineman Ryan Kalil, who then posted it on Twitter...
The NFL has announced that Carolina Panthers backup defensive tackle Andre Neblett has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the regular season for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances.
Neblett, who joined the Panthers in 2011 as an undrafted rookie out of Temple, played in 12 games last season for Carolina and started four. He had...
Panthers training camp previewTRAINING CAMP GOALS 1. Expand the offense. Quarterback Cam Newton will have a target on his chest this year, and they know it. After a record-breaking rookie season, the Panthers know Newton has to keep adding to his arsenal if they're going to have a chance. So the goal is to keep adding wrinkles to Rob Chudzinski's offense, both through...
If there is anyone who should not be bragging about a car going 100 mph on his Twitter account, it’s Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy. Last year, a motorcycle accident before training camp resulted in Hardy missing most of the preseason and not being able to adequately prepare for a season in which he ended up with only four sacks. About a month ago, he talked to reporters about...
Thanks to our buddies at BlackSportsOnline.com for the heads up on Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy tweeting a picture of his speedometer as he’s driving 100 miles per hour.
Ride n in the big B instagr.am/p/NJQYy9wWw5/
— GQ (@ItsGHardy) July 16, 2012
This is clearly one of the most idiotic things that a pro athlete can do. First off he’s essentially giving evidence to the...
The Carolina Panthers play their home games at the venue known to NFL fans as Bank of America Stadium. For a few nights though in September, the venue will be renamed, Panther Stadium. The city of Charlotte will host the Democratic National Convention this year and the stadium is going to play a key role in the convention this year. President Obama is going to give his nomination...
The Carolina Panthers are thin at defensive tackle, and their exisiting depth is sure to be tested early in the season with reserve Andre Neblett serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. Neblett, and undrafted free agent in 2010, is a fourth-year veteran who won't be eligible to join the active roster until Monday, Oct...
While it is not the major market overload of the East, the NFC South features not only a collection of some of the best teams in the league, but also enough story lines to last a life time.
From bounty-gate to the Bucs spending money faster than they can print it, it was a bit of a wild offseason down south. This year will be interesting as each of the teams face serious questions...