Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 9:39 pm

“Ice up. And mow my lawn.” — Steve Smith

Filed under: Panthers,That's gonna leave a mark — Lex @ 9:39 pm
Tags: ,

Well, that’s not the exact quote, but it captures the spirit. Steve Smith, a well-known trash talker when he played for the Carolina Panthers, had to have something to say when his new team played the one that cast him off, and it finally has surfaced:


For the few people who don’t follow the Panthers, Smith torched them last Sunday for 100+ yards and two TDs.

As a Panthers fan, I don’t blame him. Yeah, ex-general manager Marty Hurney created a huge salary cap problem for the Panthers, but Smith hasn’t struck me as a guy who’s completely all about the money. I think he’d have taken a below-market contract to stay in Charlotte.

The problem, as I read between the lines, is that Steve Smith was the locker-room leader that Panthers management didn’t want. They wanted the Panthers to be quarterback Cam Newton’s team, and I get that. But you need to think hard before throwing out a combination of skill and leadership, and it is becoming increasingly clear in hindsight that the Panthers, and in particular general manager Dave Gettleman, didn’t think hard enough. A quarter of the way through the season, Smith is on pace for more than 1,700 receiving yards, which would put him in about the Top 5 in single-season NFL receiving leaders … ever. And this is a guy who was thought too old to play the game at a high level again.

So, yeah, maybe Gettleman or team owner Jerry Richardson should mow Smith’s lawn. He sure mowed the Panthers down last Sunday.


Monday, June 21, 2010 2:57 pm

Can anyone reading this in Charlotte please do me a favor …

Filed under: Panthers,We're so screwed — Lex @ 2:57 pm

… and go slap Steve Smith upside the head?

Thank you.

Sunday, August 24, 2008 6:49 pm

Panthers 47, Redskins 3

Filed under: Panthers — Lex @ 6:49 pm
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I only watched long enough to see the score get to 41-0. And that was enough: Wow.

That’s my first reaction. My second reaction had to do not with the Panthers, but with the Redskins: Both of their lines have major, major problems, and to the Redskin D-line add the problem of depth. That does not bode well for their season. The figure 6-8 comes to mind, and that record will leave you out of the playoffs by four games in the NFC East.

The Panthers’ O-line, on the other hand, looks very good, a dramatic improvement from last year. And between Jonathan Stewart, who has impressed as a rookie, and DeAngelo Williams, who showed flashes late last year and has only come on since, the Panthers might just run the ball all day, all season. This would not be a bad thing; for one thing, it’ll help keep Jake Delhomme healthy.

On the other side of the ball, everyone keeps saying Julius Peppers is back. He’s certainly looking better than last year, which is, for the moment, making me look stupid for having said they should release him. Let’s hope this roll continues into the regular season. Deep into the regular season. And then into the playoffs. He’s in a contract year, so he’s got everything to play for. The rest of the D-line looked good as well.

Elsewhere on the offense, Steve Smith’s most dramatic moment came on the first play from scrimmage, where he landed hard on this shoulder and left the game. This team won’t be entirely one-dimensional without him, and with that backfield, third-and-long won’t be the occasion of desperation it was last year, but for this team to play into January, Smith has to stay functional. He’s already had a concussion this season, and a separated shoulder would be misery. Muhammad is out, although he should return for the season opener. D.J. Hackett, who will have to carry the load while Smith sits out his two-game suspension, hasn’t shown much in practice (he sat out last night). And TE Dante Rosario is looking like an upgrade on Jeff King, who, with 47 catches last season to rank second on the team, wasn’t that bad to begin with.

The linebacking corps looked solid, and in Ken Lucas and Chris Gamble, the team has one of the league’s best corner tandems. Chris Harris continues to come on at safety (but also sat last night). And the special teams looked very good as well — four field goals, one from 52 yards; repeated kickoffs into the end zone (short kickoffs were a problem last year) and excellent coverage on those that got run back.

Injuries, or lack thereof, will be key. Knock wood, the Panthers haven’t lost anyone key for the season, which is a departure from recent preseasons. One big key to their Super Bowl season in ’03 was that the O-line played the same people in the same positions almost every game (and had Stephen Davis in the backfield).

Snoop says he’s “excited” about the Panthers’ chances this year. I won’t go quite that far, but then I never do. I will say that the team had glaring weaknesses at the end of last year, and with one exception — the jury is still out on backup QB, so let’s hope we don’t have to find out about that — the team appears to have addressed them all.

The final preseason game is meaningless for the starters; it’s mainly for the coaching staff to decide whom to keep for special teams, whom to keep for the practice squad and whom to cut outright. The opener at SD will be a strong test, particularly without Smith. That game should show us what we’ve got.

Sunday, August 3, 2008 5:19 pm

Punching out

Filed under: Panthers,Uncategorized — Lex @ 5:19 pm
Tags: , ,

So Panthers WR Steve Smith has been suspended for two regular-season games (presumably the first two, 9/7 at San Diego and 9/14 home at Chicago) for punching cornerback Ken Lucas.

Good. And bad.

Good in that, although details were a little hard to come by, it seems as if the punching took place not on the field in the heat of the moment but on the sidelines after the helmets had come off. In other words, there was an element of cold premeditation involved. I don’t care how many Pro Bowls you go to, that’s just not acceptable. It hurts the team, and — oh, by the way — in the real world it constitutes criminal assault. I suspect there may also be a fine involved, and perhaps even a personal audience with team owner Jerry Richardson that begins along the lines of, “Steve, do you want to play here or not?”

Bad in that, in a year on which many of the team’s jobs are riding, this team did not need this distraction. The level of punishment Smith received attests to just how bad this distraction — by which I mean Smith’s behavior, not anyone else’s — really was. I find it telling that, according to my colleague Ed Hardin’s account, Lucas was greeted as a hero in the team locker room on Saturday. Given the normal level of, well, animosity that often exists between offense and defense even on the same team, that suggests that even Smith’s colleagues on offense felt he had stepped over the line.

So good for the team for dealing with this swiftly and, I hope, even more severely than is now apparent. Now, the Panthers need to get their heads in the game. They’ve got depth problems on the D-line, a completely reshuffled O-line to break in and a secondary that needed a shakeout even before Lucas got his nose broken. In other words, their plates are full and Indianapolis is up on Saturday. This team has work to do to ensure that this season doesn’t blow up in their faces before it even starts.

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