Key to Super Bowl for Carolina Panthers....

by SWALKER 9 Replies latest social physical


    In their quest to assemble the right ingredients to win a Super Bowl, the Carolina Panthers might have found the Key.

    That's wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, who the Panthers believe might be enough to boost their offense to the next level. Johnson and the Panthers agreed to terms on a contract late Thursday night after meeting for much of the day. The deal is for four years and includes $5 million in signing bonus money.

    A press conference to officially announce the signing is expected on Friday.

    Johnson seemingly would help solve one of last season's biggest problems. Wide receiver Steve Smith led the league in catches and receiving yards, but the Panthers had few other offensive weapons. Johnson could change that dramatically.

    Although Smith, who lobbied Johnson to sign with the Panthers, will remain the No.1 receiver, there's likely to be much more diversity in the passing game. Keary Colbert, last year's other starting receiver, had 25 catches and is likely to compete for the third receiver spot.

    "I think the biggest thing is Keyshawn's a proven winner," quarterback Jake Delhomme said from his offseason home in Breaux Bridge, La. "I know (offensive coordinator Dan) Henning has some familiarity with him from when they were together in New York. Steve Smith and I talked (Thursday) for a little while and Smitty has no problem with this, he's all for whatever makes us better. Keyshawn's a proven winner, a veteran who knows how to work hard and a big target for me as a quarterback."

    Pairing Johnson with Smith could give the Panthers one of the NFL's top receiving tandems.

    Although Johnson will turn 34 in July, he remained productive, catching 71 passes for Dallas last season. Known throughout his career as an excellent possession receiver, Johnson could take defensive pressure away from Smith. He also is known as a strong blocker, and that's something the Panthers have been missing since Muhsin Muhammad left.

    Despite the obvious talents of Johnson, who was the first overall pick by the New York Jets in the 1996 draft, he also has been controversial at times. Johnson, who spent his first four years with the Jets, often was vocal when he felt he wasn't getting enough passes thrown his way.

    Johnson was traded to Tampa Bay in 2000 and had three very productive years. But Johnson and Bucs coach Jon Gruden clashed in 2003. That led to a suspension and Johnson's departure to Dallas in 2004.

    With the Cowboys, Johnson was reunited with former Jets coach Bill Parcells and all went well for two seasons. But the Cowboys released Johnson, in part to create salary cap room to sign Terrell Owens.

    The Panthers apparently believe Johnson won't be a disruptive force. Johnson has a big advocate in Henning, who held the same job with the Jets under Parcells. Delhomme said he wasn't worried about Johnson's past problems.

    "Sometimes things get caught on camera; emotions are high on Sundays," Delhomme said. "Arguments happen with us too and you don't see it. I think if he was a problem, Bill Parcells would not have signed him back. I think we're doing what's right for the club."


    This is key # 2:

    Panthers right on ball again as free agency kicks in
    Clark Judge March 12, 2006

    By Clark Judge

    CBS Senior Writer

    Tell Clark your opinion!

    You gotta love the Carolina Panthers.

    Ma'ake Kemoeatu is a huge get for the middle of Carolina's D. (Getty Images)
    Ma'ake Kemoeatu is a huge get for the middle of Carolina's D. (Getty Images)
    Every year the NFL swings open the doors to free agency, and every year the Panthers lead the charge in. A year ago they signed cornerback Ken Lucas and offensive lineman Mike Wahle within the space of 24 hours. On Saturday, they added free agent defensive tackle Ma'ake Kemoeatu, and now they're circling the welcome wagons for center Justin Hartwig.


    These guys don't rebuild; they reload, and Kemoeatu just made a good defense better. He's big. He's tough against the run. He's a decent pass rusher. He's 27, and he has improved every year. Plus, he's insurance against another setback to Kris Jenkins.

    Jenkins is the former Pro Bowl defensive tackle who last year was sidelined a second consecutive season by injury. His replacement, Jordan Carstens, did a nice job in his place, but the Panthers needed to get bigger at the position -- and they realized it in the NFC Championship Game when they couldn't stop Shaun Alexander and the Seahawks.

    Well, Kemoeatu, who's 6-feet-5, 350 pounds, they are bigger. Much bigger. They're also better. Not only can he plug the middle, but either he or Jenkins will require double-teams -- which should make Carolina's linebackers better even after the defection of Will Witherspoon to the Rams.

    Kemoeatu not only is massive. He's an impact player who is physical, aggressive, relentless and effective. In short, he's just the kind of guy you want anchoring the inside of your defensive line.

    "I love what Carolina does," said one NFC scout. "To me, (general manager) Marty Hurney and the guys in that organization -- particularly (director of pro scouting) Mark Koncz -- have an idea of just what players they're after. And they go for them.

    "Last year they went for guys who were at the top of our board, and they worked out nicely. They improved themselves with Lucas and Wahle. I just think that team -- and I include the head coach -- knows how to evaluate talent and has an understanding of what it has to do."

    With the addition of Kemoeatu, Carolina now fields a defensive line of Julius Peppers and Mike Rucker at ends and Kemoeatu and Jenkins inside, and, I'm sorry, but I can't find a defensive line that's better. Peppers and Rucker can penetrate the pocket, but so can the monsters of the middle -- with Jenkins producing 12 sacks in 2002-03.

    The Panthers believe you win by running the ball, which they've done effectively in the past -- thanks to another free-agent pickup, former Washington star Stephen Davis. They also believe you win by stopping the run, and they're not exactly alone in that department.

    There a lot of clubs that fall into line there, but few who do anything about it. Carolina just did, and the NFC South should beware. Look at it like this: The Panthers last year were fourth against the run, and that was without Jenkins. Now add him and Kemoeatu to the middle, and I dare Carnell Williams or Warrick Dunn or Deuce McAllister to find daylight there.

    I just don't see it.

    Now, about that running game ... OK, so Davis is gone, and the club re-signed DeShaun Foster to a three-year deal. Essentially, Carolina hopes it can keep the guy healthy, which is something that hasn't happened in three of his four NFL seasons. But the Panthers are smart. They are at least covered there and can -- and will -- look for another back, whether it's free agency of the draft.

    I think you can rule out free-agency. I thought someone like Mike Anderson made sense for these guys, but they didn't budge. Instead, they went for the 27-year-old Hartwig to replace the aging Jeff Mitchell in the middle of their offensive line, and that tells me something. It tells me they're more interested in finding linemen to help their rushing attack now than they are another back.

    That can wait until the draft, and I have no problem with that. In fact, I have no problem with almost anything Carolina does this time of year.

    See you all at the Super Bowl!!! Now I can't wait for football season to start!!!



    I can't believe that Dallas picked up T.O. or that Culpepper was traded to Miami!!! Anybody else out there watching all this???


  • delilah

    Swalker, while I hope the Panthers have a good year, this season, my loyalties lie with..............................................the Patriot's....Sorry. BUT, you know what? I LOVE football, so, will watch every game I can. Good luck Panthers!!!!!


    So again we see that the key to the Super Bowl is a former member of the University of Southern California!

    Fight On!


    Honey, I don't care where they grow them, I just like that the Panthers are getting them. I love Southern California!!!! I love New England...just would like to see the Panthers in S.B.


  • Beep,Beep

    I nearly puked when I read that Dallas signed T.O. What is Jerry Jones thinking? I can only hope that Parcells can do what no one else seems to have been able to and keep him reigned in.

    If he had problems with McNabb in Philly, he'll just LOVE Bledsoe in Dallas!

    A Miami Dolphin fan I know can't believe that they signed Culpepper either. Something about being one of the leading fumblers of all time?

  • crazyblondeb

    T.O. knows if he wants to play for Dallas, he had to tone it down. If he doesn't--no one else will touch him!

    Not only will Bledsoe kick his ass back to some hole in the wall, cowboys fans will personally lynch him if he starts running out at the mouth again!

  • merfi

    OMG, who needs the New System -- I found Paradise among fellow PANTHERS fans!!! woooo hoooo!!!

    Here's to this season's road to the Superbowl!



    Merfi...welcome to the board...I can tell already we'll be good friends!!! Go Panthers!!!


Share this