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Carolina Panthers

Fans ask about team morale, uniforms

How is morale? Seems the second they go through a rough patch, the couch coaches come out of their caves. Hope they know we non-knuckleheads believe in them. – Sasha in Fayetteville, N.C.

While we appreciate all fans – including those with couches and with knuckles – I certainly see where you're coming from.

The word "fan" is short for "fanatic," and I've heard some say that explains the sometimes hypercritical slant of some fans. By definition, that isn't actually accurate: Merriam-Webster defines "fanatic" as "marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense* uncritical* devotion."

Fans can sometimes overreact to a bad loss or two, but within the Panthers' locker room, I've always been impressed with the even keel the players are able to maintain. Certainly they're not happy with the 1-2 start, but they grasp that the NFL season is a marathon. And yes, they know it's time to pick up the pace.

Bryan, which rookie has impressed you the most so far? I really think they've found a big-time player with Frank Alexander. – Greg in Fairdale, W.Va.

Alexander, a defensive end out of Oklahoma, is off to an impressive start. He actually leads the team in passes defensed with three thanks to a trio of tipped ball, and he recorded his first career sack in the Panthers' last game.

Honestly, I've been impressed with all the rookies so far, but I tend to look at them early in their first year in terms of their long-term potential rather than just their immediate production.

Coming off the bench at defensive end, Alexander is in a better position than some others to have his inevitable rookie mistakes go unnoticed. When cornerback Josh Norman or linebacker Luke Kuechly gets beat in coverage, right guard Amini Silatolu draws a flag or returner Joe Adams muffs a punt, it's there for all to see.

But I also see some serious potential for all of the above rookies.

How is it that on the Panthers site it credits James Anderson with 174 tackles last season, but on other sites it credits him with only 145 tackles. I am just deadly curious. – William in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Good question, and honestly a source of frustration at times for those of us at

The NFL does not consider tackles to be an official stat, so on and a lot of other sites, tackle totals are based on the gamebook produced by each game's stats crew. Those judgments on tackles are made on the fly, through the naked eye from the press box with maybe a helping hand from binoculars or instant replay.

In the days that follow, however, the coaching staff reviews their game tape and gets a better view of who made the tackles, and they adjust the numbers accordingly. This becomes the "official" tackle totals, the ones you'll find in the media guide and the team's record book.

It can be frustrating because in our coverage right after the game, we must go with the numbers in the gamebook. Last game, we didn't find out until days later that Anderson had broken a team record with 20 tackles. The gamebook credited him with 14. It's also difficult to accurately report where Anderson's 36 tackles to date rank league-wide.


What does the gold-colored captain's patch mean? Some players on our team have gold – Jon Beason for example – while others like Thomas Davis have white. – Jim in Columbia, S.C.

I went straight to the source, longtime Panthers equipment manager Jackie Miles, for the details on this one. He was kind enough to provide the patches that the captains wear.

The NFL began recognizing captains in 2007. For each year a player is a captain, he's given a gold star. Once he reaches his fifth year as a captain, the "C" is upgraded from white to gold.

Beason and left tackle Jordan Gross have earned the gold "C." Wide receiver Steve Smith has all four stars filled in, Davis has two and Jordan Senn now has his first.

Where do I find out the Panthers' jersey color for the games? – Straykat in Carthage, N.C.

Before the beginning of each season, puts out an article detailing what color the Panthers will wear for each game. This year's version can be found here.

Another fan, D. Cooper from Tampa, asked why the Panthers wore blue last week against the Giants, saying, "I have never seen them win in that color." That may be because they haven't played in that color nearly as much, first wearing it in 2002 and never more than twice a year.

Before going 0-2 in blue this season, the Panthers actually had a better winning percentage in it than any other color. Currently, Carolina stands at 9-12 in blue (.429), 42-50 in black (.457) and 75-87 in white (.463). They'll wear white Sunday at the Atlanta Falcons.

Where can I get a copy of the Panthers-Saints game from this year? – Melissa in Townville, S.C.

The league offers NFL Game Rewind, a product that allows fans to watch games over and over in high definition. Depending on the package, you can watch some if not all of the coaches film as well as relive classic Super Bowls.

I've been a diehard Panthers fan since the days of RB Deshaun Foster. Can you pay for my flights and accommodations from the UK so I can finally see you guys in action? Thanks! – Joe in Stevenage, Hertfordshire

Great to hear from the other side of the pond!

Sorry to say that I don't have that kind of money laying around, and I know a Sterling doesn't go as far as it used to. But we appreciate your support, and who knows, maybe one day the Panthers will play a game in your back yard.

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