Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cam surgery is worrisome, but sky has not fallen yet

The hits just keep on coming for the Carolina Panthers. Not only does Cam Newton have no receivers to throw the ball to right now, he could not throw it anyway because he is about to undergo ankle surgery.

The Panthers confirmed Tuesday that Newton will have an ankle "procedure," as the Panthers delicately term it, in Charlotte on Wednesday. The recovery will take approximately four months, which would still allow him to be ready for training camp but will force him to miss several months of offseason workouts.

This is bad news. Not "Oh-my-gosh-nooooo!" news, but bad all the same. As we all know, Newton's mobility is one of his primary strengths. He's got to be able to run to do what he does at the highest level.

But it is hardly unusual news. Quarterbacks have offseason surgeries all the time. While he was Carolina's quarterback, Steve Beuerlein once had five offseason surgeries in a single year. When I used to cover the Miami Dolphins, quarterback Dan Marino had surgery almost annually on a troublesome knee -- he likened them to "oil changes."

Of course, Beuerlein and Marino were statues in the pocket. Newton is a running warrior. He needs two healthy ankles. He has been extremely durable -- Newton has not missed a single start in three years, and really only a few plays. But with that said, this is all a little worrisome.

The timing is also not ideal. It would obviously have made more sense to have surgery -- if you were going to have surgery at all -- a few days after the San Francisco game. But the Panthers were hoping to avoid surgery entirely and let time and rest heal the ankle. That didn't work, so here we are.

The Panthers made a major mistake by releasing their top receiver from last year in Steve Smith. I have written on that extensively and won't go back into it here. They allowed receivers No.2-4 all sign with other teams (not nearly as bad of a mistake, but you'd still like to have kept at least one of them -- preferably Ted Ginn Jr. -- for continuity's sake).

And now Newton is having ankle surgery.

So is the sky falling in Pantherland? Well, no. Actually, it isn't. They kept defensive end Greg Hardy -- who is better than any of the players they have lost. Newton will be healthy for training camp (we assume). Luke Kuechly is still Luke Kuechly.

A well-known sports oddsmaker, Bovada.lv, had the Panthers at 25-1 to win the 2015 Super Bowl on Feb.3rd, the day after the most recent season ended.

A lot of teams' odds have jumped up or down in the past six weeks as free agency has begun and player movement has increased. New England, for instance, was listed at 14-1 six weeks ago and now is 9-1.

And what does that sports book now have the Panthers listed at to win the 2015 Super Bowl now?

Exactly the same -- 25-1.


lanman said...

Let us know when the sky IS falling. Cam won't be available for ota's to get familiar with whoever we finally
sign or draft to play WR. I am and will remain a diehard panther fan, but this is the most baffling offseason I've ever seen for a team that went 12-4 last season.

Anonymous said...

The sky isn't falling. But the earth sure has opened up and swallowed the once promising panthers. I'm going to order my Steve Smith Baltimore Ravens jersey this coming week.

Anonymous said...

All the observer writers are paid mouthpieces for the panthers pr staff, sports writers in a real sports town would be ripping Gettleman day after day.
I have followed the NFL as long as I can remember, I have never heard of a playoff team, hell any team for that matter, that got rid of or let walk their top 4 WR's. Folks, there has to be more to the story than salary cap issues

Brian said...

If he's been suffering from soreness since the end of the season, why wait till now to have the surgery. I don't understand what the panthers are thinking about.

SmittyFan said...

I'll bet $25 to win $1 that the Panthers will NOT win the Super Bowl…..thats an easy bet.

One thing that drives me nuts is how everyone piled on Hurney and gave all the credit for the 12-4 season to this genius Gettleman. Well, if thats the case, then he owns it now, 100%. Like I tell my kids, you break it - you own it.

Gettleman, you own this puppy now……we'll be lucky to go 4-12 because of your actions……Karma can be ugly sometimes……

Anonymous said...

You never were a fan. Good riddance.

Anonymous said...

Scott. I made a bet after Smith was jettisoned that the Panthers would win more than four games. As we stand today, what's your over/under?

Chris Martin said...

Dude, were you having lunch with Gettleman when you wrote this? Here are facts; the team has no left tackle, no starting receiver that has caught a pass, down one starting safety, down one starting cornerback, no kick returner at all, a quarterback in the dang hospital. People are grossed out how Steve Smith was punked. You sir, are to objective writing what Gettleman is to a franchise. A disaster.

Scott Fowler said...

Chris, Thanks for calling me sir! Here are a few more facts: the team has the returning NFL defensive player of the year, possibly the best defensive end tandem in football and a talented QB who doesn't have to play in a real game for nearly 6 months. Come down off the ledge. As for Smith, I do believe that was a major mistake -- see link in the blog if you didn't see my column about that. So I would agree that the first few weeks of free agency have not gone well for the Panthers. But this team is not a "disaster."

Notwen Mac said...

Can I enter a position in the middle? The offense could be a disaster, but the defense will still be awesome. Although.... i still wonder if Kraken could be traded. All of a sudden we went from decent cap space to kinda bad with his franchise tag money.

Chicken Little said...

Guys, really... We have $7 million in cap space. How were we supposed to sign the 20+ free agents we had? Restructure everybody and get in another Hurneyesque cap situation? And even if we signed most, would we have been better? Gettleman was brought in to FIX the cap situation, not perpetuate it. This year will probably suck and no one expected 12-4 last year. Gettleman is looking down the road further than 2014.
As Cris Cater says "C'mon man!"

Anonymous said...

We have a top notch GM now and it seems we're not used to unpopular decisions. Let's all take a breath and let this play out. There is a method to the madness. There will be decent WR to become available at later dates including the draft. We're okay, won last year with sub-par WR performances. Still think Hixon needed one more year. Heck, he only made the most important clutch catch of the year when needed.