FB Tolbert’s versatility paying off for Panthers
CHARLOTTE — Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert says he’s used to defenders underestimating him when he has the ball in his hands.
He’s hoping they continue to do so.
The squatty 5-foot-9, 245-pound Tolbert doesn’t look like he’d be tough to tackle or particularly fast. But Tolbert’s low center of gravity and surprising speed has made him a valuable and versatile commodity for the Panthers (9-3), who beat TampaBay on Sunday for their eighth straight victory.
He says with a laugh that defenders “see a guy that is short and fat and they think, ‘Oh yeah, we got him no problem.’” But Tolbert adds that, “Then they are like ‘Whoa, where did he get those feet from? I didn’t know he was that fast.’”
The Panthers play at the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night.
The Saints lost to the Seattle Seahawks Monday night which clinched the NFC West for Seattle. It also put Carolina and New Orleans in a tie at 9-3 for the NFC South.
The Panthers and Saints will meet two times in the next three weeks.http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/fb-tolberts-versatility-paying-panthers-tied-saints/
CHARLOTTE — Cam Newton threw for 263 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score, and the Carolina Panthers defeated Tampa Bay 27-6 Sunday for a franchise-record eighth straight regular-season victory.
Newton threw touchdown passes to Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn Jr. and “Superman” leaped over the pile for another score as the Panthers (9-3) outgained the Buccaneers 426-206.
The Carolina victory sets up a huge showdown next Sunday night with New Orleans with first place in the NFC South on the line.
Newton ran for 68 yards and overcame two interceptions. The third-year quarterback has thrown 13 touchdown passes and run for five scores during the Panthers’ current win streak.
Carolina’s defense, which came in allowing the fewest points in the league, forced two turnovers and sacked rookie Mike Glennon four times to snap a three-game winning streak for Tampa Bay (3-9).http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/panthers-top-bucs-27-6-8th-straight-win/
CHARLOTTE – The Panthers have finally given up on Armanti Edwards, waiving the fourth-year wide receiver.
The team announced the move Tuesday.
Former Panthers general manager Marty Hurney drafted the Appalachian State quarterback in the third round in 2010, giving up a second-round pick in 2011 to New England to get him.
The move has proven to be one of the most costly in franchise history.
Although Edwards was a favorite among local Mountaineer alum, he never made the transition to wide receiver at the NFL level. Edwards had five career receptions for 121 yards and averaged 7 yards per punt return.
The Panthers haven’t filled his roster spot.
Carolina signed wide receiver Toney Clemons to the practice squad and terminated wide receiver Cordell Roberson from the practice squad.http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/panthers-waive-unproductive-wr-edwards/
CHARLOTTE – Coach Ron Rivera says the Panthers need to start playing more consistent football before it’s too late.
The Panthers are 1-3 for the third straight year under Rivera and run the risk of falling out of playoff contention early just as they did the last two seasons when they started 1-5 and 1-6.
Cam Newton turned the ball over four times, was sacked seven times and the Panthers committed 11 penalties in a sloppy 22-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
That defeat came just two weeks after a lopsided 38-0 win over the New York Giants.
Rivera says the lack of consistency in the first quarter of the season has been “frustrating” and “I really don’t believe we’re a 1-3 football team.”
Carolina plays at Minnesota on Sunday.http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/rivera-says-struggling-panthers-lack-consistency/
CHARLOTTE – Coach Ron Rivera says he isn’t sure if three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Jon Beason will return to the starting lineup Oct. 6 when the Panthers visit the Arizona Cardinals.
Carolina (1-2) has a bye this week.
Rivera quietly changed up the starting lineup on Sunday, replacing Beason – who’s struggling to get back healthy following knee surgery last October – with veteran Chase Blackburn at weak side linebacker.
The move worked out well as the Panthers sacked Eli Manning seven times and forced three turnovers in a 38-0 rout of the New York Giants.
Beason only played one snap on defense.
While it’s hard to imagine Rivera making a change following a shutout, he left his options open saying “we’ll have to wait and see” who’ll start against Arizona.http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/rivera-not-sure-if-lb-beason-will-get-his-job-back/
CHARLOTTE – The Panthers announced they’ve signed safety Robert Lester from the practice squad and placed veteran safety Charles Godfrey on injured reserve with a torn Achilles tendon.
Godfrey was injured in Carolina’s 24-23 loss to Buffalo on Sunday.
Lester, an undrafted rookie from Alabama, signed with the Panthers in May but was waived during final cuts. He was later re-signed by the Panthers to the practice squad.
He is likely to serve as a backup safety when the Panthers host the New York Giants on Sunday.
Lester was a key figure in Alabama’s defense, starting 40 of 48 games and posting 14 interceptions while helping the Crimson Tide to three BCS national championships.http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/panthers-add-s-lester-put-s-godfrey-on-ir/
CHARLOTTE - Travelle Wharton could go from late-summer acquisition to opening day starter for the Carolina Panthers.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera says last year’s starting left guard Amini Silatolu “more than likely” will miss the Sept. 8 regular season opener with a hamstring injury, opening an opportunity for Wharton to step in and start at his old position.
The 32-year-old Wharton, who started 99 games for the Panthers from 2004-11, re-signed with his former team on Sunday after injuries left the offensive line depleted.
Wharton was greeted by his teammates’ collective chant of “Tra-Velle” as he stepped on the football field Monday for the first time in more than a year.
Wharton says the practice went well and hopes to put last year’s season-ending knee injury with Cincinnati behind him.http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/panthers-hope-wharton-helps-struggling-o-line/
AP Photo/Bob Leverone
CHARLOTTE – Now that Jon Beason is back on the practice field with the Panthers, Ron Rivera says the coaching staff is exploring creative ways to use the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker.
Beason practiced Monday for the second straight day, a positive sign for the six-year NFL veteran who is coming off microfracture surgery on his right knee and has been limited to only five games the past two seasons.
Carolina had concerns about how Beason’s knee would respond after his first padded practice on Sunday, but Beason says he “feels good” and didn’t experience any swelling in his knee.
Rivera says Beason will start at weakside linebacker in the base defense, but he’ll be looking for other ways to get him on the field in certain packages.http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/rivera-looking-for-new-ways-to-use-lb-beason/
CHARLOTTE – Panthers three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Jon Beason practiced in full pads for the first time since undergoing microfracture knee surgery this offseason, and receiver Domenik Hixon returned to work after battling a hamstring injury.
Carolina coach Ron Rivera said on Sunday that it is unclear if Beason will suit up Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens. Hixon is expected to play.
Rivera says Beason “moved very well” and says his return provides an emotional boost for the team’s defense. Rivera says Beason’s status for Thursday will be determined by how well he feels after practice.
Hixon entered training camp battling for the team’s No. 3 receiver spot but was sidelined the first two preseason games with a sore hamstring.
Running back Jonathan Stewart (ankle) and receiver Armanti Edwards (hamstring) remain out of practice.http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/panthers-lb-beason-wr-hixon-back-to-practice/
SPARTANBURG, SC – Tackling is becoming a thing of the past at Panthers training camp.
In an effort to avoid unnecessary injuries as a result of contact, Carolina – like many teams around the NFL – emphasizes form tackling during team drills with defenders “wrapping up” ball carriers, but not taking them down to the ground.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera says that’s a big change from when he played linebacker 25 years ago for the Chicago Bears when two-a-day practices and all-out tackling were the norm.
Rivera says the approach to tackling has “changed a lot” out of necessity.
Rivera now oversees practices where players get yelled at by coaches if they take an offensive player to the ground except during “live drills” to help avoid injuries.http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/panthers-emphasizing-wrapping-up-not-taking-down/