Steve Smith, the 32-year-old Carolina Panther best known for fighting his teammates, has given rookie QB Cam Newton advice on when to throw him the ball:
“One man on him, ‘I’m open.’ Two men, ‘Give me a chance.’ Three men …’Throw it up and see what happens.’
“Don’t ever tell Steve that he’s covered,” says Newton. “You might get one of those looks.”
Surely Newton is aware of Smith’s very public blow-up at Jimmy Clausen late last year. Not that he couldn’t wreck Smith – at 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, Newton is built like a linebacker. What’s the over/under on punishing hits Newton delivers to defensive backs in 2011? I would set it at four. Did you see how he just bounced off this Bengals’ DB in the preseason?
I love that everyone is sleeping on the Panthers this year. SI’s Don Banks thinks Carolina could open 0-7. Rookie QB (who played just one season of college football!), rookie head coach … they’re going to be terrible! They have the toughest schedule in the NFL! (How does that happen to the worst team in the league?)
As I’ve mentioned before, I love the Panthers over 4.5 wins for the season, and I like Carolina +7 in the opener against Kevin Kolb and the Cardinals (in Arizona!). I wouldn’t even take Arizona in a survivor league this week (with that shitty defense? Maybe never).
Also worth noting: In eight road games last year (0-8), the Panthers only lost two by single digits. They did beat Arizona at home, 19-12, but that was pre-Kolb!
Previously: Carolina Panthers 2011 Preview
Previously: Why did the Bears give the Panthers Greg Olsen for nothing?