Trai Turner Jersey

The 2019 free agency class is still strong at safety, even after the top name at the position went off the market – Earl Thomas is going to the Ravens to replace Eric Weddle. Another good name just became available. After adding the honey badger Tyrann Mathieu, the Chiefs had no more need of fan-favorite Eric Berry, who has been released.

The Panthers have already signed one safety this offseason – Eric Reid is under contract for the next three years. They need another starter to pair with him after the exit of Mike Adams, though. Carolina’s four-time Pro Bowl right guard Trai Turner wants Berry, for one.
On the surface, Berry could be a solid addition in Charlotte.

The Panthers were obviously interested in signing Eric Weddle, and apparently were one of the five teams that were on his final list before he signed with the Rams. That means they’re likely still looking for another safety.

Berry is a tenacious defender with excellent ball skills (14 career interceptions and 51 pass breakups). He’s also the right kind of character from a culture perspective and would no doubt quickly become one of coach Ron Rivera’s favorites.

On the downside, injuries have been a problem for Berry throughout his career and he’s only played three regular season games over the last two years. Berry is also more of a strong safety – and Carolina needs more of a cover safety to balance out Reid’s skill-set.

Then again, Berry’s history with injuries (and the number of names still out there) could drive down his price tag.

Ryan Kalil Jersey

There is a void that needs to be filled – figuratively and literally – in the center of the Carolina Panthers’ offensive line.

For more than a decade, the Panthers knew that they could count on All-Pro center Ryan Kalil to not only perform among the very best at his position, but to also serve as the leader of the offensive line group and one of the leaders of the team as a whole. As such, the Panthers have a tall task ahead of them in finding a successor for Kalil, who retired at the conclusion of the 2018 season.

During his NFL Combine press conference, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera stated that the team is looking for their prospective future center to “come in and take over” for Kalil. And in doing so, he espoused confidence in Tyler Larsen, who has served as Kalil’s backup and played multiple games in his stead.
“You are looking for your center to come in and take over, and I think we’ve got somebody there in Larsen already who has played for us, has done that very, very well,” said Rivera. “But we are also looking for a guy that will step up and be the leader in the room – and not just in the position room, but in the (team room) as a whole. You are most certainly looking for a guy with leadership qualities.

“I thought Larsen did a really nice job when he got his opportunities. I felt very comfortable about that. And we’ll continue to look at how we can improve our offensive line. Because as we’ve said before, we’re on a mission to protect our quarterback and to put playmakers around him.”

In the past two months, the Panthers have lost a multitude of players who served as their longtime leaders: Players like Kalil, Thomas Davis, and Julius Peppers who stepped up, took responsibility, and held both themselves and others accountable. And the significance of having to find players who can take over in those sorts of roles is not lost on Rivera.
“Ryan Kalil was a very special player. I was very fortunate to have a number of those types of guys,” said Rivera. “That’s one of the things that has happened with us in terms of the transition of losing some of the veteran guys. The people that we’re gonna have to replace, not just on the field but in the locker room, in the meeting rooms, in the team room, and on the field is gonna be very, very important.”

But with that said, filling leadership roles on the team is a more delicate process than simply designating an individual player as a “leader”. Rather, Rivera stated that one has to look at who a player is and see whether or not a leadership role fits their personality.

“I’m not gonna ask a guy to do something that he’s not capable of doing,” said Rivera. “But at the same time, if I see somebody that can or has potential, I will most certainly talk with them. I think that we as a football team have to find our leaders. We have a number of them already in place that have been leaders for us, but with the loss of a couple of key guys, I think we’ve got to have other guys step up.”

Luke Kuechly Jersey

On Jan. 1, 2007, the Boise State Broncos upset the mighty Adrian-Peterson-led-Oklahoma Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl. The game ended with running back Ian Johnson’s game-clinching two-point conversion in overtime on a Statue of Liberty play, and after the game, during a live interview with FOX Sports’s Chris Myers, Johnson got down on one knee and proposed to cheerleader Chrissy Popadics. She said yes, and Johnson, a sudden celebrity, forever captured Boise’s heart.

A few weeks later at the 2009 NFL combine, Johnson ran a running back-best 4.46 40-yard dash, but he ultimately went undrafted. He toiled in obscurity on Viking, Cardinal, Niner and Dolphin practice squads from 2009-11, and then joined the rest of us in civilian life. All the while, Boiseans lamented that the NFL wasn’t “giving Johnson a chance,” and many were convinced it was because he was just a small fish from a small city.

Really, it was because Johnson couldn’t move left and right. As his 40-yard time dictated, Johnson’s straight-line speed was great, but his lateral movement was stiff. For an NFL running back, a player’s most important trait is the ability to move laterally—especially within confined areas, it’s how he makes defenders miss and set up blocks. Lateral agility is rarely talked about because it can be hard to spot unless it’s on a Barry Sanders or Le’Veon Bell type highlight play. And, unlike straight-line speed (which is borderline irrelevant) lateral agility is difficult to measure nicely, making it nearly impossible for the masses to tweet and talk about.

It’s astonishing how often those traits are overlooked in the pre-draft process. A smart evaluator addresses these traits first when examining a prospect, because any player who lacks that trait will, to one degree or another, have limited upside. It’s crucial that an evaluator understand this—many draft busts are players whose team didn’t recognize, or honor, the repercussions of him lacking that trait.

With draft season upon us, these skills should be the starting points for discussions on all players. And almost any player who lacks his position’s most important trait should not be considered as a potential first-round pick.

Cam Newton Jersey

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton shocked a late-night TV audience on Wednesday by revealing what he’s given up in March to make his mind stronger.

“In March — I hope this is an adult crowd, it looks like it is — no climax,” Newton told James Cordon, according to the show’s YouTube video of the segment.

The audience let out a sustained “wooooooo” before Cordon reacted with his classic “Shut the front door” expression of surprise.

“Straight up. I’m going through a transition right now, like, where,” Newton started to explain before Cordon interrupted with an “Oh. My. God.,” which prompted laughter from the audience.
Sign Up and Save

“You should have at least done it in February,” joked fellow guest David Boreanaz, star of the CBS series “Seal Team,” prompting audience laughter and applause. “You got 28 days in February.”

“I wanted it to be challenging,” Newton explained. “I’m coming off shoulder surgery.”

“Oh, I get it,” Cordon replied. “It’s harder. To throw. I understand.”

“That’s including no Wi-Fi,” Newton said. No ‘thigh thigh.’ ”

“No ‘thigh thigh?’ “ Boreanaz asked.

“Thigh thigh, man,” Newton responded, slapping his thighs.

“So how are you finding it? How are you doing?” Cordon asked.

“It’s hard,” Newton replied.

“I bet it is,” Cordon replied, with a laugh.

“What made you want to do this?” Cordon asked of Newton taking on a different challenge each month of 2019.

In January, Newton told Cordon, he gave up betting for the year. In February, he became vegan.

“It makes my mind stronger,” Newton said. “So when the season comes around, I say if I did those things, I’m mentally stronger.

“I’m drafting you first round,” Boreanaz tells Newton to applause, referring to his next Fantasy League team.

Also on the show, Newton:

▪ Obliged when Cordon pleaded with him to bring his famous Dab out of retirement one last time.

▪ Correctly identified the cheapest of three bottles of wine – $3 – after Cordon noted how Newton had become a noted wine connoisseur. Newton incorrectly identified the $25 and $100 bottles.

▪ Correctly identified photos of a mountain lion, jaguar and a panther. When Newton paused while trying to identify one of the photos, Cordon needled him by saying, “You’re a Panther!”
Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton shocked a late-night TV audience on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, by revealing what he’s given up in March to make his mind stronger. “In March — I hope this is an adult crowd, it looks like it is — no climax,” Newton told Cordon, according to the show’s YouTube video of the segment.