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Grill Bill: The man behind the curtain

C'mon, you know I'm usually not a big fan of those. But sure, I'll do one. Let's see what comes up … 


Because I'm writing this on Thursday morning, the Haden question above was easy to answer since the Steelers took care of that Wednesday afternoon. But Carolina's reasoning for not going after Haden shares similarities to why I don't see them pursuing Ward.

Secondary depth is a legit concern, and I'm aware many of you aren't even sold on cornerback Daryl Worley or safety Mike Adams. The Panthers are, though, and they're not going to throw money at guys who they wouldn't use as starters.

The backend doesn't need to get older, and it certainly could use more speed. That's not going to be easy to find right now, but it's a safe bet they have their eye on a few players – not named Ward – who could be cut this weekend.  

Despite Sanchez’s solid showing in Jacksonville, Luke has been the more consistent corner through the spring and summer. I think he'll be this year's lone undrafted rookie representative on the final roster. 

This is my favorite question of the three weeks we've been doing Grill Bill. But I'm not sure I should answer this, Scott.

You see, sometimes the greatest unknowns shouldn't be revealed. The mystery is what ups the intrigue. And what if you were really disappointed by the answer? I'd hate to be responsible for those feelings. So for now, let's just treat it as a modern day Wizard of Oz. 


Sure. It mostly depends on how practice squad numbers shake out with position players, but the Panthers have liked what Gilbert's shown, and I can't remember a better No. 4 quarterback in my 13 years covering the team. 

The fullback. Yeah, Armah's raw, but there's something there that could intrigue more teams than just Carolina. I'm not sure if he'll stick on Saturday's final roster, but it wouldn't be shocking if he did. 

I actually just treated myself to a Weber Spirit this week. I need to master that because I'd love to advance to a Big Green Egg some day. 

Smith's aware of the Panthers' feelings on this. Ball's in his court. 

Email from Joseph: Not many people are talking about how Cam dropped some weight this offseason.  What kind of effect do you think it will have on his run game?  His ability to get a yard or two on 3rd/4th down or in goal line situations has been an extremely valuable asset but I also don't remember him breaking a long run since his first or second year.  Think he'll be quicker and break some long ones this year while still being the go to in short yardage situations?

This is a really good point and question.

Newton could only control so much in his return from shoulder surgery, but he could take his conditioning more seriously. And that's what he did while cutting back on sweets and snacks.

Reports of Newton not running anymore or not being onboard with a plan to run less have been vastly overstated. The Panthers wouldn't take that option away from him. They'll just require him to do it fewer times.

I think he'll still be a prime option as a runner near the goal line and in short yardage situations, and you're right Joseph, the lost weight could equal added speed. His career long was a 72-yarder in his second season. Not sure if he'll ever top that, but he should be able to break off something longer than his 28-yard season-best carry last year.

This is tough.

San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, New Orleans. You can't go wrong with any of those.

But I'll go with the Jets trip since visits to New York always bring me back to my Syracuse days. 

The Charlotte Business Journal posted something Wednesday about this year’s “best” home games using data from SeatGeek. Their top suggestion was the Saints game in Week 3, and I could see that, especially since there's a decent chance the Panthers could be 2-0 heading into their first NFC South game of the year. But that's likely too soon for your planning purposes. So I'll say Week 6 against Philadelphia.

First, it's Thursday Night Football, which gives you the primetime factor. Plus, the Eagles could be good enough to make a playoff push this season. And there's no question Charlotte could use as many folks as possible to drown out "E-A-G-L-E-S" chants that night. Then, you can spend what will likely be a lovely fall weekend in the Carolinas. 

Nah, Jordan, that's just a small segment of the Twitter population. 

Well, Jordan, maybe you're right.

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