I am curious as to why Dave Gettleman is not getting more credit for the Panthers' turnaround. With virtually no cap money, he signs Quintin Mikell, Mike Mitchell, Ted Ginn and rookie free agents Melvin White and Robert Lester. He drafts Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short. No way the Panthers are 4-3 without those moves. I really like the decisions he has made, but I don't hear anyone talking about it. Why? Dan in Wilmington, N.C.
I couldn't agree with you more, though I can't really speak to whether Gettleman is getting an appropriate amount of praise in his first season as Panthers general manager. I will say that all those additions you mentioned are receiving positive press. The six defensive players named have all started at some point for a defense that now ranks second in the league in points allowed and third in yards allowed. On offense, Ginn has exceeded even the expectations of the people that signed him in the offseason.
Ginn and Mitchell, who has grabbed a leadership role on defense, were among Gettleman's first signings when free agency began in March. But before they could join the team, Gettleman did a great job of getting the Panthers under the salary cap without parting ways with many quality players. For example, most people thought there was no way the Panthers could afford both running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. But Gettleman found a way, and now Stewart is ready to create "Double Trouble" upon his return from an ankle injury.
Gettleman will get the credit due if the Panthers keep winning, but his only concern is that the Panthers do keep winning.
I had the Panthers defense going for my fantasy team. They gave the team credit for three sacks. I saw two more sacks where Tampa Bay had fumbled the ball but still was sacked. Are those considered sacks or what? – Chris in Wauchula, Fla.
I got this question a couple of times this week. The reality is that you lost out on a judgment call. The two plays in question came on third-down plays in the second quarter of last Thursday's game, when Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon couldn't corral low shotgun snaps and was swarmed under soon after he secured the ball. In these cases, it's up to the stats crew to determine whether the quarterback gained control quickly enough to allow it to be considered a pass play (and thus a sack) or if he had no chance to throw before being tackled (making it just a tackle).
In both cases, they decided it didn't constitute a pass play and didn't credit a sack. Greg Hardy easily could have been awarded a sack on the first one, as Glennon regained control and was about to look upfield for a potential receiver just before Hardy hit him. On the second one, Glennon clearly just fell on the ball before Thomas Davis cleaned up in the pile.
Has any team that started 1-3 ever won a Super Bowl? – John in Charlotte
The 2001 New England Patriots began 1-3 before rallying to finish 11-5 and then winning Super Bowl XXXVI. No other team that started 1-3 has won the Super Bowl, though the 2008 New York Giants and 1993 Dallas Cowboys both started 0-2 before winning it all.
No doubt you're asking because the Panthers started 1-3 (and 0-2 for that matter) this year before improving to their current 4-3 record. There is reason for excitement, but I say let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet.
No question. Just wanted to say thanks for giving me great reading material at work. Well, I do have a question. Who are the Panthers' Pro Bowlers this year? – John in Greensboro, N.C.
It's obviously a bit early to say, but the potential list is long. Linebacker Luke Kuechly and defensive end Charles Johnson were knocking on the Pro Bowl door last year, and Hardy, Mitchell and linebacker Thomas Davis continue to surge. Lotulelei is a handful.
On offense, quarterback Cam Newton as well as Williams, wide receiver Steve Smith and tight end Greg Olsen are all possibilities, plus former Pro Bowl selections Ryan Kalil and Jordan Gross are having strong seasons up front. On special teams, kicker Graham Gano has been perfect.
What do you think? Cast your vote to the Panthers.com poll question about this very topic at the bottom of the home page, then make your voice heard in the fan portion of the Pro Bowl vote.