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Grill Bill: Stadiums, safeties and suits

Posted Oct 4, 2017

Answering your hot-button questions about new safety Jairus Byrd and suits with a pocket square.

With the Panthers heading to Detroit this week, this is a great question to kick things off. The list is still long and adds up to 15. Here’s how it breaks down:

He’s 0-1 at Buffalo, Baltimore, Kansas City, Denver, Oakland, Green Bay and Detroit (49-35 in 2011).

He’s 0-2 in Arizona and Chicago.

He tied the Bengals in his only visit to Cincinnati.

He was 2-4 in Atlanta's Georgia Dome, but his first chance to win at the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium is in Week 17. 

His first trips to Cleveland and Pittsburgh will come next season.

He’s 1-1 in Minnesota, but the win came at the Metrodome in 2013, not U.S. Bank Stadium which opened last year.

He beat San Diego in 2012, but he’s obviously never played the Chargers at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA. 


Once again, so much said about the Panthers shutting down Cam Newton’s run game was misconstrued. That was never the plan. It was all about forcing themselves to use his legs more judiciously. And considering Newton’s slow road back from shoulder surgery, it should come as no surprise they haven’t been in a hurry to run him much.

“We've been talking about that really from the beginning as to when would be the best opportunity,” head coach Ron Rivera said Monday. “A lot of it hinged on when Cam would be ready to go. A lot of it hinged on following what the doctors and trainers wanted us to do and then listening to what Cam had to say about what he wants in terms of how he's feeling and how his body's reacting.”

To answer your question, it may not be every week because so much depends on different game plans for each opponent, but yes, I think we will see an increase in designed runs. If you think about it, Sunday’s game was a lot like that tie at Cincinnati.

Coming off ankle surgery and a broken rib, Newton rushed just 14 times in his first four games of 2014. He then ran 15 times in the second half and overtime against the Bengals.

In his first three games this season, Newton had just five designed runs. Then, with his shoulder feeling better than it has since the surgery, he went on six designed runs in the second half against the Patriots. 


It sounds like it’ll be a struggle for Demetrious Cox to be ready to go on the ankle he sprained late Sunday, so I think you’re going to have to expect Jairus Byrd to be ready to go in Detroit.

The Panthers have had a bead on Byrd ever since they tried him out this summer, but it’s obviously not an ideal situation. Still, that’s why they signed a veteran. It’ll be a challenge to get down some of the lingo, but Byrd's a guy who could be a decent Band-Aid if he still has something left.  


I posed this question to the wife, who grew up in metro Detroit. Keep in mind, she hasn’t lived there since the early 2000s, but here are her suggestions:

* Buddy's Pizza. Yes, there's such a thing as Detroit-style pizza, and yes, it's delicious. This place was a staple of my high school years and a must-stop with friends whenever we're home. Various locations.

* Coney Island. If you're downtown, take your pick between rivals American and Lafayette. If you're in the suburbs, hit one of the myriad of others for a classic diner breakfast.

* If you're looking for a sit-down dinner downtown, try Xochimilco for Mexican or Pegasus for Mediterranean/Greek. My family has enjoyed both for years.

* For the craft beer fans: Try the Milkshake Stout from Rochester Mills Beer Co. Bonus: The food and atmosphere are great if you make it to the brewery.

* If you're a sweet tooth, keep an eye out for Sanders hot fudge or Bumpy Cake - a seriously delicious local chocolate and buttercream dessert.


I’ll cheat a bit and say a region. You can’t beat the Bay Area’s combination of food, drink and weather. 


Because Amini Silatolu’s one snap resulted in a hold on a play where Newton was sacked, your question is a popular one. The simplest answer I can give you is it came down to game experience, which Silatolu obviously has compared to Moton. But I get fans are frustrated that the plan to get him involved on offense still hasn’t happened.

Moton has played just 27 snaps this season with 25 of those coming on special teams. Right now, coaches like how right tackle Daryl Williams is playing within the framework of the offense, so all I can really tell you is they still do want to get Moton in there. When that will be is unclear. 


Several of you are wondering why the Panthers released linebacker Jeremy Cash off injured reserve with an injury settlement Tuesday instead of keeping him on IR, so I’ll try my best to explain.

If a guy goes on IR with a “minor” injury (expected recovery time less than six weeks), he has to be released from IR when healthy. If it’s a major injury (six-plus weeks of recovery time), teams can keep him on IR.

In Cash’s case, he had a calf strain – aka, a minor injury - so the Panthers would have had to release him when he's ready to return in a week or two. Also, an IR’d player who’s released healthy can’t return to play for that team during the current league year.

Now, there is an exception to that rule, one that has to do with a settlement done within five business days of the date when the player goes on IR. The Panthers and Cash did that in this case, so if he doesn’t land elsewhere, the door is sliiiiiightly open to bring him back later this season.  


Another good one that has lots of complicated layers. So I’ll try to answer as simply as possible.

Some veterans have roster bonuses that give them extra pay for being active on game day, but everyone on the 53-man roster during a game week gets a check, including those who are inactive.

As far as who gets paid how much on IR, well, that varies by contract.

A standard deal pays a guy if he’s on the 53-man roster, and it would continue if he’s placed on IR. But many contracts have something called a “down split” which is negotiated before a player signs. Essentially, if he goes from active to a reserve category like IR, he’d earn a weekly salary but at a lower rate.

For example, all rookie deals for players drafted after the second round include a down split. Same with guys just looking for a shot or players with injury histories.

And now, class, you are dismissed. 


I actually thought about this for a few minutes. And while I’m usually game for giving questions like this a go, I honestly couldn’t decide. It’s just so … strange. Which makes the follow-up he sent literally one minute later funny for some reason.

You’re not alone in wondering this, but it's honestly worth spending more time thinking about whether you’d rather have legs the size of your fingers or fingers the size of your legs.

McCaffrey's played just four games, and during parts of all of them, focus on him has freed up other parts of the offense.

The kid's time is coming.

“We didn’t bring him here to be a decoy,” offensive coordinator Mike Shula said. “We brought him here to be an important part of what we do, and also a playmaker. He’s been a playmaker and made some incredible plays in crucial situations already. Now, numbers-wise, have we seen that yet in regard to lots of yards or lots of touchdowns? No. But within that, he’s been very important to our success.”


In my past life, I wore suits all the time for TV hits. So I just felt like bringing the look back here and there this season.

Plus, I look handsome. Or so my mom says.