Panthers Need Players
March 9, 2017
Free agent season is here and the Carolina Panthers need some players. One season after reaching the Super Bowl, the Carolina Panthers helped prove that there is something the alleged Super Bowl hangover that sometimes shows itself. Carolina failed to reach .500, finishing with a disappointing 6-10 record. The finish came as a result of not having a defense that could come up with a big stop. It was the result of not having a dominant defense, the offensive line breaking apart and Cam Newton coming back down to earth, way back to earth, after being the league MVP.
So, yes, there are a lot of needs. I would start with the offensive front. Newton would benefit from an improved offensive line. Then I would work on the defensive secondary. Here are a few free agents the Panthers should pursue this spring. Slot receivers tore Carolina up last season.
How about bringing back Captain Munnerlyn? He developed into a quality player while wearing a Panthers uniform before bolting to free agency. Munnerlyn would be a consistent guy in the nickel position. He may not be a long-term option considering his age, but for the next three or four years, he can be a stabilizing factor in the starting lineup.
Mike Remmers is a free agent, which isn’t a huge deal because he wasn’t good last season anyway. I would like to see Carolina go after offensive tackle Riley Reiff. He moved to right tackle for the Lions last year but came into the league as a left tackle. Reiff could come in and be an upgrade at either spot from Day 1 and help protect Newton, the Panthers best asset.
The Panthers clearly need to address their pass protection.
It would take more money to get Andrew Whitworth of the Cincinnati Bengals to play left tackle. He is the top left tackle entering free agency. I think it is about time the franchise went out and spent some money on the offensive line. Whitworth can be a bridge until they find a suitable long-term answer at that spot while also playing at a Pro Bowl level. He’s still one of the best left tackles in the game at the age of 35.
The Panthers seem to give its fans a good run every other year. Adding players now would go a long way toward a good 2017 season.
How About Danny Manning And The Demon Deacons
Danny Manning has quietly brought Wake Forest basketball back in the news. As a head coach in the ACC it is easy to get lost amongst the legends. But Manning is beginning to make a name for himself. After a win at home versus Louisville and a road win against Virginia Tech, all of sudden the 18-12 Demon Deacons look like a NCAA Tournament team. Wake’s RPI rank is 30th, a number that usually guarantees selection. The Deacons must avoid a first round ACC Tournament setback to remain in the running for a berth.
Manning has this team believing they belong. They do not quit as evidence by their recent comeback victories. Wake was down by as many as 11 in the second half, but that didn’t stop them from storming back to defeat the Hokies, 89-84.
The victory marked the third consecutive game the Deamon Deacons overcame double-digit deficits to win. Being 18-12 overall, including 9-9 in the ACC (the best basketball conference in the country), has to put Wake in the NCAA Tournament.
Manning has patiently rebuilt the program. Wake was once again a popular pick to finish near the bottom of the ACC standings heading into this season. It hasn’t come easy for Manning, who knew almost nothing but winning — both as one of the best players in college basketball history in the 1980s at Kansas, and as an assistant coach with the Jayhawks and a head coach at Tulsa. He entered this year with a record of 24-39 in two sub-.500 seasons at Wake Forest, with just seven ACC victories.
But in those two seasons, the roster has almost entirely turned over, and now is almost exclusively populated by players he recruited.
Eight of the 13 players on scholarship are either freshmen or sophomores. The future is bright again in Winston-Salem.