Did Tom Brady go and get old on us?

Slideshow: Did father time catch up with Tom Brady

Did Tom Brady go and get old on us? Tom Brady is 37 years old and his stats have been in steady decline since 2011. Has age finally caught up to Tom Brady like it does to everyone eventually?

Tom Brady may be the best quarterback of his generation and has been compared to Joe Montana who I consider the best ever. Brady won three Super Bowls early in his career although there were questions of cheating involved because of Spygate.I have been a football fan since the mid 1970’s and Tom Brady and Joe Montana are the two best 4th quarter clutch quarterbacks I ever saw play.

The thing about Tom Brady is that for most of his career he didn’t really have much help on the offense. He seldom had top flight running backs or wide receivers but he still produced Hall of Fame numbers.

But nobody plays forever and Tom Brady is clearly on the decline with his completion percentage dropping below 60% through 3 games this year. Brady has not been below 60 since his rookie year in which he only threw 3 passes.

Tom Brady has made a career of elevating people to make them better and the Patriots a Super Bowl contender while he was there. Don’t get me wrong Tom Brady doesn’t suck he just isn’t a top 5 quarterback anymore. Really he may not be a top 15 quarterback these days.

Brady had a well known quote that he would retire when he started to suck. Being quite the perfectionist Tom Brady won’t keep playing much longer if his production keeps slipping.

The problem with Tom Brady is simply age is catching up to him as it does all of us. I wonder what his plans are for after football. I hope he becomes a commentator for some network covering the NFL.

I have to admit I want to see how Bill Belichick does full time without Tom Brady. He did well without him when Brady was hurt and Matt Cassel stepped in. But I always gave Brady more credit for the Patriots success than I did Bill Belichick.

Fan Poll should the Panthers sign Richie Incognito?

Slideshow: Should Jerry Richardson sign Richie Incognito?

This is a fan poll for Carolina Panthers fans for the most part but of course anyone can vote. Should the Carolina Panthers sign Richie Incognito the former Miami Dolphin who’s racially charged bullying started the huge scandal last year?

Now I don’t really think Jerry Richardson would sign Richie Incognito in the face of the bad publicity that Greg Hardy has brought the team. And there are no rumors that the team is interested in Incognito I was just asked about him on Twitter and was inspired to write this.

Is Richie Incognito a bully, a racist and probably crazy? Yes he is. Is he a top level offensive lineman in the NFL? I don’t know how good he would be now but at one time he was a Pro Bowl offensive lineman and the Carolina Panthers need linemen in the worst way.

The Carolina Panthers offensive line has gotten all the running backs as well as Cam Newton hurt this year. Would you like the Carolina Panthers to sign Richie Incognito if it meant helping Cam Newton? Or does his history shout leave me in limbo? Feel free to leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter, @NFLPanthersSB

Report Card on Kelvin Benjamin's first 4 games

Slideshow: Kelvin Benjamin

Thanks for checking out my report card on Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin through the first four games of the 2014 NFL season. I already admitted here that I was wrong about my initial feelings for Kelvin Benjamin being drafted by the Panthers.

Kelvin Benjamin is the first NFL wide receiver in 10 years to have touchdown receptions of 25 yards or longer in 3 of his 4 first games. Though those four games Kelvin Benjamin has 21 catches for 329 yards and three touchdowns despite the Panthers poor offensive line showing so far.

What I like about Kelvin Benjamin is his concentration, he does not even have to be open to make a catch. He uses his height and athleticism to simply snatch the ball out of the air and is excellent at those high overthrows that Cam Newton has been known to toss up.

I give Kelvin Benjamin an A on my report card for his first four NFL games. In part because I expect so little out of rookie wide receivers because it may be the most difficult position in the NFL to play well early in your career.

Partly I am so high on Kelvin Benjamin just because he has played so well. He may well hit a rookie wall at some point but that is to be expected. Unless he gets a sudden case of the drops I will be high on him all year. Now if the Carolina Panthers can just add another big target for Cam Newton next year and some offensive line help, the offense can finally open up a little.

E.J. Manuel benched for Kyle Orton in Buffalo

Slideshow: E.J. Manuel out Kyle Orton in for the Bills

The Buffalo Bills have benched quarterback E.J. Manuel for Kyle Orton. The Bills have apparently given up on E.J. Manuel after only 14 NFL starts after drafting him in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.

Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone didn’t even want the veteran Kyle Orton on the team but now has named him the starter. So Marrone either has changed his mind after Manuel struggled this year or else the decision was made by a higher up in the Bills organization.

Kyle Orton has had some up and down moments during his 9 year NFL career but he has plenty of starting experience. Orton was last with the Cowboys but told them he was retiring so they released him and he then joined the Buffalo Bills as a free agent.

Orton is not very mobile these days but he can run an offense with limited mistakes. He doesn’t throw an over abundance of interceptions even if his career passing completion percentage is only 58.5.

The Buffalo Bills are not a bad team at all and its possible with the veteran Kyle Orton replacing E.J. Manuel that they will become even better. I just wonder about a team giving up on a first round quarterback so early in his career. I really thought Manuel showed some potential as a rookie last year but I guess the Bills think otherwise.

NFC South Power Rankings

Slideshow: NFC South Power Rankings

Thanks for checking out my NFC South Power Rankings after week 4 of the 2014 NFL season. This is how I see the teams ranking right now not how I see the division ending up. Frankly it was hard doing NFC South Power Rankings because the teams have been so bad this season.

1 Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons like the Panthers are 2-2 but I think they are a little less banged up and are not coming off two blowout defeats in a row. Matt Ryan is the best quarterback in the division and if he stays healthy they are the team to beat in the NFC South in my opinion.

2 Carolina Panthers

I really almost ranked the Saints here just because of how the Panthers have imploded but Carolina is 2-2 and Cam Newton is getting healthier. The Panthers defense has to stop giving up huge chunks of yards to up the middle rushing teams but I think they will figure it out.

3 New Orleans Saints

The Saints defense just sucks and the offense only plays well at home. Still when Drew Brees is home and firing on all cylinders the Saints are hard to beat. I think the Saints can get it turned around and I don’t rule them out as NFC South Champions when its all said and done.

4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buc’s screwed up at quarterback but Glennon is there now to stay I think. The Buc’s had a rash of injuries like the Panthers did plus they have a new coaching staff to get used to. 

The Carolina Panthers are out of running backs again

Slideshow: DeAngelo Williams the latest Panthers RB to get hurt

The Carolina Panthers have ran out of running backs which is something few thought would ever happen. DeAngelo Williams is now expected to miss time with a sprained ankle suffered in the Ravens loss.

DeAngelo Williams has already missed two games this season and with Jonathan Stewart ailing with a knee and Mike Tolbert on injured reserve the cupboard is getting bare at running back. Even preseason favorite Fozzy Whittaker has been out for the whole regular season so far but is expected back at practice this week.

Right now the only fully healthy running backs on the roster are Darrin Reaves and Tauren Poole who leave a little something to be desired at the running back position. The Charlotte Observer is reporting that the Panthers are looking at veteran running backs to bring in. They also say former Panther Kenjon Barner who would be a logical choice since he knows the system, is injured.

The good news is that running back is a fairly simple position to play as far as just running the ball, Picking up blocking calls is the harder thing to learn for a veteran runner joining a team during the season.

The Panthers were thought to have possibly too many running backs but they are dropping like flies behind a makeshift offensive line. A veteran runner who wants a game check or two will gladly take the punishment though and sign with the Panthers in hope of carving out a spot for when the running backs get healthy if they ever do. 

Do the San Francisco 49ers players want rid of Jim Harbaugh?

Slideshow: Are the 49ers tired if Jim Harbaugh?

Deion Sanders said recently on NFL Network that the San Francisco 49ers players want Coach Jim Harbaugh gone. Deion said there are rumblings that 49ers players are tired of Jim Harbaugh. It got so much attention that Sanders had to Tweet that Michael Crabtree was not the source. Sanders and Crabtree have some history going back to Crabtree’s college career.

I wrote an article a while back about how the San Francisco 49ers actually considered trading Jim Harbaugh because he is so hard to deal with. By many accounts Jim Harbaugh can be a jerk and that can get old quick for players and front office people who have to work with him.

If Jim Harbaugh had won a Super Bowl with the 49ers it would be much more difficult to get rid of him. I don’t think the 49ers would fire Jim Harbaugh during the season because players don’t like him but players can get rid of him.

There have been NFL teams before that I felt tanked a season to get rid of an unpopular coach see Tampa Bay last year. If the San Francisco 49ers keep under producing the front office will get the message and fire Jim Harbaugh in the off season.

This team easily has the talent to win a Super Bowl and would have its pick of coaches to replace Jim Harbaugh if the 49ers fire him. I don’t know if the team would want Jon Gruden but if he ever wanted to coach again this would be a great job to take with all the good players already on the squad.

As a Carolina Panthers fan I don’t mind at all seeing some controversy and turmoil going on in the ranks of the San Francisco 49ers. Jim Harbaugh can be all the jerk he can be as far as I am concerned.

There have been rumors that Jim Harbaugh would return to college coaching where he can fly under the radar a little with his surly behavior. College players pretty much have to take it unless they are blue chip NFL prospects.

Breaking down the Chicago Bears at the Carolina Panthers

Slideshow: Bears and Panthers prediction

Thanks for checking out my preview of the Chicago Bears at the Carolina Panthers game. Both teams are 2-2 and have looked good and bad at some point this year. Right now the Panthers look bad in part because of their defense.

The Chicago Bears offense ranks 22nd in points and in total yards despite having Matt Forte, Alshon Jeffery, Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall on the squad. Jay Cutler is having a decent year so far but the Bears struggle in pass protection as do the Panthers.

The Bears defense is average at best and rank in the mid 20’s in most NFL team defense stat categories. The Bears defense will want to do what everyone else does to the Carolina Panthers. They will want to pressure Cam Newton and put him on the ground or at leas ht him often to disrupt his timing.

The Steelers and Ravens showed the Bears how to beat the Carolina Panthers. Run the ball right up the middle and run often. Expect a big dose of Matt Forte up in the middle with some misdirection running plays to take advantage of a Panthers defense that over pursues at times.

Cam Newton and the Panthers offense is also going to want to run the ball. The problem is all their running backs are injured except for Poole and Reaves who are young and not very good.

So sooner or later the Panthers will have to air it out and hope the offensive line can hold up. Look for Kelvin Benjamin to have a good game against the Bears and Greg Olsen will be motivated to play against his old team.

I think the Panthers are going to be embarrassed over the last two games and will coming out swinging against the Chicago Bears. My prediction is that the Carolina Panthers will beat the Chicago Bears 23 to 20. To see my picks for every week 5 NFL game click this link. 

Should Derek Anderson be the starter for the Carolina Panthers?

Slideshow: Derek Anderson or Cam Newton?

Some Carolina Panthers fans are still calling for Derek Anderson to start over Cam Newton. This issue has been on the burner for Carolina Panthers fans all season and in a earlier fan poll I did the voting is neck and neck. People are actually voting for Derek Anderson to start over Cam Newton!

Some fans want Derek Anderson to start over Cam Newton due to Newton’s health. Cam Newton came into the season with a fractured rib and is recovering from ankle surgery. Cam is getting slaughtered out there behind Gettleman’s idea of an offensive line.

Some Carolina Panthers fans think Derek Anderson is simply a better quarterback than Cam Newton. The criticism of Cam Newton is that he holds onto the ball too long and he can’t read defenses especially in the Redzone.

Steve Smith apparently made comments that Cam Newton didn’t see the field and his mind wasn’t fast enough to read defenses. So some Panthers fans are running with that and pulling for Derek Anderson to start over Cam Newton.

Cam Newton maybe does struggle at reading defenses not every NFL quarterback is Peyton Manning when it comes to figuring out what is going on. But Newton is improving and his other assets can compensate for his issues with defenses.

Cam Newton is very, very tough and can make any throw you ask a NFL quarterback to make. Newton can shed tacklers and find the open man or escape and run for positive yardage at least when he is healthy.

The Carolina Panthers did do one thing right in adding Kelvin Benjamin for Cam Newton to throw to. But their lack of an offensive line is going to get Cam maimed this season. And when Cam isn’t on his back he is having a good season actually.

Cam Newton in three games has completed 60 of 94 passes for 728 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. That’s right Panthers fans Cam Newton has not thrown an interception this year. Cam Newton has been sacked 9 times in those three games and has been hit many more times. Newton’s passer rating is 98.2 which is not ideal but don’t really suck.

Derek Anderson is a journeyman NFL quarterback who had one Pro Bowl season and is best know for lying about laughing on the sideline during a blowout loss despite being seen on camera.

Don’t get me wrong Derek Anderson is having a good year so far. He has completed 35 of 49 passes for 381 yards and 3 touchdown and also has not thrown an interception. Derek Anderson’s passing rating is 111.4 which is superb.

Yes Derek Anderson can probably read defenses better than Cam Newton. Anderson had to learn to do that because he does not have the ability of the elite NFL quarterbacks. But Anderson over the long haul will falter if his past career is any indication.

Derek Anderson has a 70.5 career passing rating a 53.4 pass completion percentage and has thrown 56 touchdown passes and 55 interceptions. So Carolina Panthers fans who want Cam Newton to be benched should be careful of what you wish for. Be glad the Panthers do have a quality backup quarterback because they will need him this year. But a backup is all Derek Anderson is at this point in his career.