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Carolina Panthers 2014 NFL Preseason Schedule Released

April 10th, 2014 at 9:30 AM
By Donald Lappe

The 2014 NFL Preseason schedule has been released, with the Carolina Panthers drawing the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Panthers will be seen across the country when their second preseason game against the Chiefs is aired nationally. While Carolina certainly has its own share of storylines to be played out during the preseason, the league-wide experiment with longer extra points during the first two weeks of the preseason will grab much of the attention.

'Cam Newton' photo (c) 2011, Parker Anderson - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

After an offseason of change, the release of the 2014 NFL Preseason schedule sets the stage for the Carolina Panthers to mold their roster in advance of the regular season. The Panthers have seen Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn leave this offseason, meaning the preseason will be an opportunity for Cam Newton to work with new wide receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant. The Panthers open their preseason schedule against the Buffalo Bills sometime from August 8-10 at home. Carolina is home once again in week two, hosting the Kansas City Chiefs on August 17 at 8p.m. The Panthers will visit LaFell's new team, the New England Patriots, in their third preseason game of 2014. 

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Caolina Panthers Sign Jason Avant to One Year Deal

April 7th, 2014 at 7:30 PM
By Donald Lappe

The Carolina Panthers have added another sure-handed, possession receiver to their arsenal, with the team agreeing to a one year deal with Jason Avant. The Panthers have been looking to upgrade their receiving corps in the wake of the departures of Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn. While those three were potential big-play threats, Carolina has gone in another direction – and certainly hasn't done much to get younger. Jason Avant and Jerricho Cotchery are both over 30 years old and their best football could be behind them.

'Eagles vs Redskins 10.16.11_' photo (c) 2011, Matthew Straubmuller - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Jason Avant joins the Carolina Panthers after eight seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. Avant was productive given his role during his time with the Eagles, racking up 297 receptions for 3,646 yards and 12 touchdowns. In 2013, Jason Avant had 38 receptions for 447 yards and two touchdowns. That was a step back from his production over the previous three seasons.

Jason Avant will provide some size a 6-2, 210, but he isn't an explosive playmaker. The Panthers currently own the No. 28 selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, which will make it tough for them to snag a true playmaker coming out of college. While some mock draft projections have placed Brandin Cooks of Oregon State into their laps, that scenario seems highly unlikely. Cooks will continue to move up the draft board as we draw nearer to the 2014 NFL Draft.

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Carolina Panthers to Host Thomas DeCoud This Weekend

April 5th, 2014 at 3:08 PM
By Donald Lappe

Thomas DeCoud is expected to visit the Carolina Panthers' facility on Sunday for what is expected to be a two-day visit. DeCoud was a replacement for the 2013 Pro Bowl and was selected to the 2012 Pro Bowl outright. He would provide a veteran presence in the Carolina secondary after spending six seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. As always, there is some additional value to signing a player from a division rival and turning him loose against his former team. Signing Thomas DeCoud could also pave the way for some salary cap saving for the Panthers.

'Thomas DeCoud' photo (c) 2013, Thomson20192 - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

While most of the attention this offseason has gone to the receiving corps with the loss of Steve Smith (rightfully so), the Carolina Panthers have holes to fill elsewhere. Safety Mike Mitchell left for the Pittsburgh Steelers, meaning the addition of Thomas DeCoud would fill a need for the Panthers in the secondary. DeCoud is a solid safety who has spent his entire career in the NFC South with the Atlanta Falcons.

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Carolina Panthers not Interested in DeSean Jackson

March 29th, 2014 at 10:25 AM
By Donald Lappe

Contrary to what Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera told USA Today, the Panthers are not interested in signing recently released wide receiver DeSean Jackson. The Panthers were previously seen as an obvious destination for DeSean Jackson given their dearth of talent at wide receiver. Carolina did contact the Philadelphia Eagles about a trade, but were no longer interested prior to Jackson being cut. A possible cause of their sudden lack of interest could be the report of gang affiliations for DeSean Jackson.

'Eagles vs Redskins 10.16.11' photo (c) 2011, Matthew Straubmuller - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Carolina Panthers have concerns at the wide receiver position but recently released DeSean Jackson isn't seen as the solution to those issues. The Panthers did contact the Philadelphia Eagles about a trade for Jackson when he was being shopped last week. At this point, despite comments from head coach Ron Rivera to USA Today to the contrary, the Panthers have no interest in signing DeSean Jackson.

Carolina has made some moves at wide receiver, including the recent signings of Jerricho Cotchery and Tiquan Underwood. The 2014 NFL Draft is full of receiver prospects, but it can be difficult for a playoff hopeful to count on rookie production in year one.

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Carolina Panthers’ Ron Rivera on DeSean Jackson: “We’d Be Interested”

March 28th, 2014 at 3:48 PM
By Donald Lappe

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivers knows that his team has a major hole at wide receiver and a potential fit just hit the open market as the Philadelphia Eagles released DeSean Jackson. DeSean Jackson has big-time top end speed and can stretch the field vertically as well as any receiver in the NFL, an obvious fit for a strong-armed quarterback like Cam Newton. With the Panthers depth chart at wide receiver virtually barren, Ron Rivera said that the Panthers are interested in DeSean Jackson.

'The Eagles Break' photo (c) 2011, Matthew Straubmuller - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

With the release of Steve Smith, the Carolina Panthers have a lot of unproven commodities at wide receiver. The depth chart certainly doesn't read like that of a playoff team. With the release of DeSean Jackson by the Philadelphia Eagles, the Panthers have a chance to immediately bring credibility to their receiving corps in one move.

Ron Rivers knows his team is short on proven wide receivers and expressed surprise – and interest – in a suddenly available DeSean Jackson:

"We'd be interested. He's an intriguing player and we'll take a look at him,'' Rivera told USA TODAY Sports from the West Coast. "I just got word and this is surprising to hear. He's an explosive player who has great vertical speed and is strong going to the ball."

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