Panthers Primed For A Return To The Super Bowl

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The 2016 NFL season has come and gone, and sadly there was no joy to be found at the end for the Carolina Panthers. Carolina found themselves completely stifled by the overwhelming defense of the Denver Broncos. While it might have been disappointing, the Panthers should use this lose as as inspiration to win it all next season.

Carolina should have plenty to look forward to in the next year and we actually believe it will be an improvement on this season’s 17-2 squad. The team should look even better in the next season and wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them repeat the same success, except this time taking home the Vince Lombardi trophy. Star wide-receiver Kelvin Benjamin is set to be healthy and back in action following his gruesome ACL tear in the 2015 preseason, and he’ll provide a much-needed offensive weapon for Cam Newton.

If there are a few things we think the Panthers could improve upon in the offseason, one is definitely the Cats’ receiving corps. The current crew of Philly Brown, Ted Ginn Jr., Devin Funchess, and the ghost of Jerricho Cotchery did admirably well during the season. Let’s be honest, though: that had more to do with the insane performance of Cam Newton as opposed to the talent of the receivers themselves, as evidenced by the multiple dropped passes in the Super Bowl. While Benjamin will be back in the line-up—and that should help a lot!—the squad could definitely use at least one more solid, reliable receiver. It doesn’t have to be a big money star, just a reliable workhorse to help take some of the pressure off of Benjamin.

Another area where the team could definitely use improvement is the offensive line, which became devastatingly apparent in the Super Bowl. The o-line generally did pretty well in the 2015 season, but the wall crumbled when faced with a top defense like Denver’s. Mike Remmers in particular was completely outclassed by Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. If the Panthers hope to bring home the Lombardi Trophy, they’ll have to find a better way to protect Cam Newton. This also goes for Michael Oher who was exposed by the Denver defense during the game. He consistently dropped assignments and failed to do his one job: protect the quarterback. To be fair, some of Oher’s troubles could be blamed on the terrible turf at Levi’s Stadium, which both teams complained about.

The Panthers defense was exceptional all year long and actually performed very well against the Broncos. Keeping Pro Bowl cornerback Josh Norman around will be crucial to continuing the same success next season. His performance was so good that the Panthers are considering giving him the franchise tag. This makes complete sense as Norman was the best cornerback in the NFL during the 2015-16 season.

It’s important to point out that much of the Panthers success was a surprise to many, fans and commentators alike. At the start of the season very few people, if anyone, had the Panthers pegged as a potential Super Bowl contender. In fact, most experts had the picked the Seattle Seahawks to make it to the big game. Of course, they were absolutely clobbered by the Panthers in the Divisional Round of the NFC playoffs.

Cam Newton will be hungry to prove his critics wrong following the Super Bowl loss. With most of the core personnel returning, Cam and Co. have an opportunity to be the first to return to the Super Bowl after losing one since the Buffalo Bills in 1993 and 1994. The Panthers’ motto is keep pounding, and you can bet we’ll be hearing a lot from Carolina next season.

Josh Norman Shoots Back at Broncos WR Sanders for Remark About Media

Josh Norman fired back at Emmanuel Sanders on Thursday over the Denver Broncos wide receiver’s suggestion Wednesday that the Carolina Panthers cornerback had “talked himself into the media,” Eric Prisbell of USA Today report.

“Wow. I think you have to be pretty darn good at what you do to talk your way into the spotlight,” Norman said in the final media availability before Super Bowl 50. “If you are not good you are not recognized as one of the best, and I guess people don’t want to know about that person. So I don’t know where he gets that from.

“I haven’t been hearing much about him, so obviously he may want to go back and practice some more.”

Norman later added that he was not surprised or put off by the comments, saying that they’re to be expected from a wide receiver.

“That’s wide receivers for you,” Norman said. “If they don’t think they’re the best, they’re not doing their job.”

Sanders claimed that his statement was taken out of context and was an attempt to change the focus of questions from the media.

“No, he’s not overrated to me,” Sanders said on Thursday morning. “I never said he was overrated. That story has blown up. I pretty much (said) that I’ve been here for four days and I’ve answered more questions about Josh Norman. Robert McClain is on the opposite side. Luke Kuechly is in the middle. They have a defense. They have 10 other guys out there. Is that fair to keep asking questions about one guy as if me and him are the only ones out there playing? Walk up and ask me questions about the defense in general because they have a great defense.

“I don’t want to talk about just one guy. That’s the reason why I said it. I’m kind of tired of talking about just one guy when there are 11 guys out there on the field. So don’t walk up and ask me questions about one guy. Ask me questions about their defense.”

Thomas Davis and Jared Allen Both on Track to Play in Super Bowl 50

Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis and defensive end Jared Allen remain on track to play in Super Bowl 50, David Newton of ESPN.com reports.

Allen was limited in Wednesday’s practice with a broken right foot, according to the practice report released by pool reporter Jarrett Bell of USA Today, the same injury that kept him out of the NFC Championship Game.

But according to coach Ron Rivera, the move was precautionary.

“Jared’s was really about rest,” Rivera said. “He’s been going full blast since we started, and the doctors wanted to just make sure. So he earned the rest.”

Davis, who suffered a broken forearm in the NFC title game, was a full participant Wednesday. He wore a protective cast over the injury, which required a metal plate with about a dozen screws.

Rivera said Davis will have his arm examined by doctors again on Friday, but the full practice load was a clear indication he will be ready for Sunday.

“When the doctors say he’s 100 percent, I’ll go with it,” Rivera said.

95-Year-Old Grandmother Ready to Cheer on the Panthers Sunday

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In this week leading up to Super Bowl 50, there’s always some unique human interest stories, and today’s comes from People Magazine, which talks about a 95-year-old lady rooting for the Panthers. Here’s the story.

A 95-year-old great-grandmother became an unlikely Internet sensation this past fall when a picture of her doing “the dab” – a hip hop dance made famous by star Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton – took the sports world by storm.

Lincolnton, North Carolina, native Mary Ward is “just tickled” by her newfound fame, her great-granddaughter Kylie Carson tells PEOPLE. “She never thought this would happen.”

Now the family is on a mission to try to get the so-called “Dabbin’ Granny” into the Super Bowl 50 stands to support her beloved Carolina Panthers – especially her favorite player.

“She has a big crush on Cam,” Carson says. “We were trying to get her to the Super Bowl. We even thought about borrowing against our business but it just cost too much. She really wants to see the Panthers in the Super Bowl.”

Lady Gaga to Sing National Anthem at Super Bowl 50

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Lady Gaga is set to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl on Sunday.

The NFL told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Gaga will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, where the Panthers will take on the Broncos.

Academy Award winning actress Marlee Matlin will perform in American Sign Language during the national anthem.

Super Bowl 50 will air on CBS, and halftime show performers include Coldplay and Beyonce.

Jim Rome: Steve Beuerlein Talks About Cam Newton’s Dominance

CBS Sports NFL analyst Steve Beuerlein joins Jim Rome to discuss his thoughts on the Broncos-Panthers match-up in Super Bowl 50 and Cam Newton’s dominance on the field.

Panthers GM Gettleman Got The NFC Champs Built Without Firing Anyone

The NFL can be a really cold business-those corny “Football is Family” commercials notwithstanding-so the saga of Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman is a true rarity.

Gettleman got his dream job as the Panthers GM in 2013 and has the team on the brink of a Super Bowl trophy-and he did it without firing a single person according to Darin Gantt of ProFootballTalk.com.

Not only did Gettleman not blow up the front office or the coaching staff or the scouting department. He kept every member of former GM Marty Hurney’s staff. Doing so was not dictated by ownership and bringing in his own people had to be tempting as Gettleman had toiled in the NFL for 27 years before finally getting hired for a top job and undoubtedly had a rolodex full of friends and former co-workers to bring with him. But Gettleman says that he decided decades earlier that that would not be his style.

The decision to retain good people dates back to 1986, when he was a lowly scouting intern for the Buffalo Bills and saw new head coach Marv Levy clean house midseason. While Levy’s decisions were sound and eventually led to four Super Bowl appearances, Gettleman saw the toll it took on employees and their families. “I said to myself, if I ever get one of these jobs, I’m determined to give everybody an opportunity,” Gettleman said. “I just believe everybody deserves a shot. Firing people ain’t easy, and when you fire a coach or a scout, you fire all their wives and kids too.”

Gettleman did interview every Panthers employee upon getting the job to discuss some “philosophical changes” but those changes did not cost a single job. Many expected head coach Ron Rivera’s head to be on the chopping block with a new GM coming in but Gettleman chose to retain Riverboat Ron and his staff. The Panthers are now a model of stability in the NFL and the 64-year-old Gettleman has proven to be one of the most principled men in a very cutthroat environment.

Video: Panthers CB Charles Tillman on Being Close with Teammates From the Sidelines

Panthers CB Charles Tillman joins Doug Gottlieb to discuss being the importance of being close with his teammates and if Thomas Davis can play well with his injury.

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