Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) celebrates after Jonathan Stewart, not pictured, scored on a touchdown carry in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo The Panthers are coming off their bye, and it was a much-needed week off, as they try to regroup after dropping four straight games. Their last contest was against the New Orleans Saints in Week 6, where they lost 41-38 on a Wil Lutz 52-yard field goal with 11 seconds left. The Panthers’ 26th-ranked secondary continued to be an issue, as they surrendered 465 yards and four touchdowns to Drew Brees.All week, we’ll keep you informed on the Panthers’ moves and preparations as they get ready to take on the Cardinals.It’s Behind Enemy Lines…Friday, October 28• Panthers corner placed on IR (Charlotte Observer)Just when the Carolina Panthers thought their corners were getting healthier…Teddy Williams has been placed on injured reserve, the team announced on Friday morning. The cornerback left practice early with a trainer on Thursday.• James Bradberry a gameday decision, but Panthers CBs may have suffered another setback (Charlotte Observer)Although Carolina Panthers cornerback James Bradberry said on Thursday that his reps at practice are increasing, even he doesn’t know if he’ll play on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals (3-3-1).Bradberry has missed two games with a turf toe injury suffered in the loss to Atlanta on Oct. 2. • TV reacted when Panthers-Cardinals went from must-see to not very sexy (Charlotte Observer)When the NFL schedule was released last spring, the Week 8 game between Carolina and Arizona looked like a must-see midseason matchup.Last season’s NFC Championship Game contestants returned most of their starters and were widely expected to contend for the conference crown again.How far have they fallen? So much so that FOX moved the NFC title game rematch out of its game of the week spot at 4:25 p.m. to a 1 p.m. kickoff.• Panthers need to turn once-feared defense around to save season (ESPN.com)The unit that finished among the top 10 in the NFL the past three seasons ranks 24th overall, allowing 371.5 yards a game. It ranks 29th in scoring, allowing 29.3 points a game.It’s been so inconsistent that Carolina coach Ron Rivera said the key to turning this season around and making a playoff run is getting the defense on “good footing.”• Panthers’ Robert McClain makes nice profit from art sale to Cam Newton (ESPN.com)McClain brought three of his abstract paintings to Bank of America Stadium and set up a small studio in the adjacent locker that belonged to Bene’ Benwikere before he was released three weeks ago. Top Stories Newton was intrigued by the painting that featured the silhouette of a woman with red rain-like streams of water pouring over her. So the NFL MVP asked McClain how much he wanted for it.• Looking back at last five Panthers-Cardinals clashes (Panthers.com)The teams will face off for the 15th time in the last 17 seasons Sunday, meaning the Panthers have faced Arizona more than any team that they’ve never shared a division with. Many of those early matchups weren’t particularly memorable, but three of the last eight – including the last two – have been playoff showdowns.• Opposing View: Panthers vs. Cardinals (Panthers.com)“Really when you turn on the film, you think they’re 5-1 because they play that well and they’re scoring a lot of points. They’ve lost some close games at the end like we have. But the same cast of characters are there. They have the same front seven and it’s as good as there is in the League. They have the best inside linebacker in the League. Obviously they have had some injuries at cornerback which has hurt them. But offensively and defensively, I think they are as sound as they’ve ever been.” — Bruce AriansThursday, October 27 • Playoffs? Panthers coach Ron Rivera optimistic after staycation, self-scouting during bye (The Charlotte Observer)Asked Monday if he believes the Panthers can make the playoffs, Rivera said: “Oh yeah, absolutely. Why not? We’ve still got 10 games left. We take care of business, do our job, play hard and you just never know.”• Carolina Panthers get a mix of good news, bad news in trenches (The Charlotte Observer)(Vernon) Butler missed three games with a high ankle sprain suffered against Minnesota. He returned to practice on Monday, the team’s first after a bye week. He said the rehab process went well, and he’s “no doubt” ready for Sunday’s matchup against the Arizona Cardinals (3-3-1).• Jon Beason to Cam Newton – “Answer the questions like a man” (carolinahuddle.com)“What I would say to Cam now is, there’s no more of the childish being a rookie or maybe a second-year guy and walking out of press conferences,” Beason said. “You can sit there, answer the questions like a man because you are the franchise.”• Explaining the Panthers’ 1-5 Start With Stats (blackandbluereview.com)Numbers aren’t everything, but they can help explain part of a story. So if you’re having a hard time understanding how the bulk of a team that went 15-1 last year is now 1-5, some of these stats should shed some light. Comments Share “Life would be much easier, I can tell you that much,” Peterson said as he looked ahead to Sunday’s game against Carolina. “I can guarantee that. Having that freak of nature running down between the hashes and down the sidelines, that’s not supposed to happen.• Cam Newton: ‘We just need to win, and at a rapid pace — fast’ (ESPN)“We don’t need no messages,” Newton said. “We’re out of messages. We’re out of things that need to be said. We’re out of big rah-rah speeches. Listen, we’ve got to win. That’s it.”It really is that simple for the Panthers. Lose Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals (3-3-1), and their hopes of returning to the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season basically are done.• Panthers QB Cam Newton said concussion won’t change run game (ESPN.com)Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said he doesn’t plan to change the way he runs because of the concussion that sidelined him for the Oct. 10 game against Tampa Bay.Wednesday, October 26• Panthers’ Graham Gano feels for kickers who missed field goals in Sunday’s tied game (The Charlotte Observer) Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires When Carolina Panthers kicker Graham Gano watched highlights of Sunday’s Arizona Cardinals-Seattle Seahawks game, he said he felt for the kickers involved.• Panthers know stopping Cardinals starts with stopping David Johnson (ESPN)Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera didn’t hesitate when asked if his 1-5 team could make the playoffs.“Absolutely,’’ Rivera said. “Why not?’’• Do the Carolina Panthers have a Morale Problem? Part 2 (catscratchreader.com)It is not exactly a mind-blowing statement to say that a 1-5 team might have a morale problem. In fact, such a statement seems obvious given the current circumstances. Of course the Carolina Panthers have morale issues right now. They have only won one game, and have fallen to a last second field goal hit or miss three different times. The offense doesn’t feel like it can score enough points to outrun the poor defense, and the defense doesn’t feel confident in its ability to stop a team when they need it or to keep a late game lead.• Kawann Short’s play might be hurting the Panthers, but it’s not hurting his market value (The Charlotte Observer)Panthers coach Ron Rivera says Short has drawn additional blockers because of his success last season. While Short is usually lined up opposite a guard in the Panthers’ 4-3 scheme, he’s now having to fight through a guard and sometimes the center or a running back to get to the quarterback. • ‘Fuddy-Duddy’ Ron Rivera Backs Bill Belichick’s Opinion of Tablets (blackandbluereview)Now think of all the times cameras have shown Rivera since Microsoft gave the NFL $400 million to put Surface tablets on the sidelines starting in 2014. Have you ever seen him holding one?Tuesday, October 25• Cam Newton has track record to show he can still get in MVP race (ESPN)The Carolina Panthers are 1-5, and there’s a stronger case for Newton being the biggest disappointment of 2016 than the first player since Peyton Manning in 2008 and ’09 to repeat as league MVP.• Kawann Short is more concerned with wins than sacks or long-term deal (ESPN)Short said the energy he saw in Monday’s practice was encouraging. He’s convinced the front seven will start pressuring the quarterback the way it has to in order to turn around a defense that is surrendering an average of 29.3 points, 10 more per game than a year ago.• Panthers prepared to make post-bye push (panthers.com)Getting physically healthy is just one part of the equation. Across the board, the Panthers worked on their mental health during the bye week, grinding to get to back the kind of success the team enjoyed last season on its momentous march to the Super Bowl. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The Arizona Cardinals travel to Charlotte to take on the Carolina Panthers in a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship game — a game in which the Panthers dismantled the Cardinals, 49-15.This Week 8 matchup was highly anticipated when the schedule was released, but that has changed. With the Cardinals not performing up to expectations and the Panthers being at the bottom of the NFC South with a 1-5 record, the game has lost a lot of its luster. The potential NFC heavyweight bout was originally the Fox Game of the Week, but it has been brought down to the 10 a.m. slot because of the teams’ recent struggles. • Panthers QB Cam Newton on hit that left him concussed: ‘I knew I was messed up’ (Charlotte Observer)Newton said the hit from Jones that caused him to miss the Oct. 10 loss to Tampa bay as he went through concussion protocol was one he didn’t see coming.“I try to describe it as, ‘I feel like I got sucker-punched,’” he said. “Everybody has a brace, an automatic reaction to what your body goes to when you get scared. Everybody puts their hands over their face; that’s just natural. When I look back at it, I was trying to just brace for the hit, and before I could it was just bam, it happened.”• Carolina QB Cam Newton, asked about 1-5, says he knows exactly what team needs to do (Charlotte Observer)Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton spoke to the media for more than 20 minutes Wednesday about his concussion and his mindset after a bye-week getaway.But Newton isn’t planning any lengthy speeches this week to try to stir the Panthers from their 1-5 start. Newton says the time for talk is done.• Patrick Peterson: ‘Life would be much easier’ if Cam Newton didn’t run (ESPN.com)Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson responded how most NFL defensive players likely would when asked what it would be like to prepare for the Carolina Panthers if quarterback Cam Newton didn’t run.
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