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Monday, 05 November 2012 13:52

SportsFans In HeadBands: Election Edition

We've hit the quarter century mark on CLNS Radio, and with the presidential election tomorrow what better way to celebrate than by voting for our mid-season NFL awards. We'll be voting for the MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Rookie of the Year. We'll also discuss the Patriots upcoming schedule and the Carolina Panthers convincing win over the Washington Redskins yesterday afternoon.With only Alabama facing a ranked opponent this coming week in the top 5 (#15 Texas A&M), will be there a shake-up in next week's BCS standings? Do you agree or disagree with the 2-5 order of the BCS standings and who do you have on upset alert this week?As always we'll finish the show with our favorite game, Beat The Bookies. After going head-to-head last week, we'll go back to giving individual games to help you put some extra holiday bucks in your pockets.To get involved with the show, call us by dialing 347-215-7771 or message us on Twitter. You can also "Like" our Facebook page and follow us individually on Twitter, @JasonSaulter and @NathanConley
Join Nathan Conley and Jason Saulter tonight for episode 24 of SFinHB. We'll discuss yesterday's victory for the New England Patriots across the pond at Wembley Stadium and what changes may need to be made during the week 9 bye. Is there still any worry from our loyal listeners after the blowout victory? Call us and tell us where your confidence level is for the remainder of the season.We're finally going to get to dive into Jason's expertise, college football. What are your thoughts on the current BCS standings and what game are you looking forward to watching this coming Saturday?As always we'll play our favorite game, Beat The Bookies. Listen to hear our records last week and what games we'll pick to help you put some extra bucks in your pockets.To get involved with the show call 347-215-7771 or send us any comments or questions to Twitter, be sure to also go to our Facebook page and hit the "Like" button.
Wednesday, 24 October 2012 10:56

Carolina On My Mind

Between the day after the conclusion of the 2012 NFL Draft and the 4:25 p.m. EST kickoff at Raymond James Stadium against the Buccaneers there was nothing but high hopes and playoff dreams from the Carolina Panthers organization and their loyal fans. Through week 7 of the 2012 season, all playoff hopes have been dashed and a lot of uncertainty has plagued the Panthers on what the future might hold over the next few seasons. Not only are the Panthers sitting at 1-5 right now which is worst in the division and the NFC, but personnel changes are effecting this team from the front office down to the playing field.As everyone has heard, GM Marty Hurney was fired and the reaction to the breaking news on Monday morning included jubilation for most Panthers fans and question marks sparking the timing of the change. It's not very often where you see a major front office firing in the middle of the season and for good reason, it doesn't do any good. Marty Hurney wasn't down on the field coaching or directing the film sessions preparing for the upcoming weekend, but he was (or should have been) directing the scouting teams and working a plan to better this team in the future. Now the GM seat is vacant and for the moment there is no direction in Charlotte.Just to deepen the wounds for Panthers fans we've had to see C Ryan Kalil go on IR with a Lisfranc injury and now LB Jon Beason will have season-ending surgery on his knee. Two captains on either side of the ball done for the season, leaving WR Steve Smith and LT Jordan Gross as the leaders of this team on the field. The other big note to take away from Beason's injury is he signed a 5 year, $50 million extension prior to the 2011 season despite having an Achilles injury that resulted in him missing 15 games last season. That is one of the many question marks during Hurney's tenure considering Beason was dealing with a major injury and still got a huge contract.Mostly due to bad contracts handed out by Hurney, the Panthers are committed to $134 million this year, and $144 million in 2013. That's not a lot of wiggle room to sign free agents, unless you can find a team who is looking to take on some of these bad contracts to free up cap space. Last I checked though, every GM in the NFL has a pretty high IQ and wouldn't even consider taking on any of these contracts. I've already taken a head-first dive into the bad contract signings in a previous article so I'm not going to torture myself on thinking of those right now, but it is worth noting that that may have been one of the biggest (if not the biggest) contribution to the decision to fire Marty Hurney soon after the loss to the Dallas Cowboys.So now we get to play Jerry Richardson over the next six months, and by that I mean we can all say what should and shouldn't be done heading into the 2013 NFL Draft. Speculation has already begun to surface with fans calling for Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden to take over as either the GM or head coach. Others are saying fire the entire coaching staff and start fresh, didn't they do that last season though? The one thing we all forgot is that winning takes time, yes it's been almost five seasons now but we've been so impatient and at times embarrassed that we expect results now and obviously that hasn't happened. My opinion on this whole thing is to take the time to make the right decisions and ensure that will better the organization in the distant future. Do I want to see winning now? Absolutely. However, I am a realist and I want stability for the Panthers. I'll be patient, frustrated, heart-broken, and eventually be full of jubilation, I just know it's all going to take time.If you'd like to see more reaction or opinions, follow me on Twitter and be sure to listen to SportsFans In HeadBands every Monday at 8:00 p.m. EST right here on CLNSRadio.
With an offense that has disappointed this season with the exception of a 35 point showing in week 2 against a weak New Orleans Saints defense, the Carolina offense got a devastating blow yesterday as it was announced that Ryan Kalil will be out for the remainder of the season with a Lisfranc injury. With this IR move, the Panthers offensive line will be even more in question moving forward now that the anchor of the line will be out for the year.The week 6 bye couldn't have come at a more perfect time for the Panthers, as now they have to decide how to appropriately shuffle the offensive line to help improve the running game and protect Cam Newton in the pocket. As of now, Geoff Hangartner will fill the Center position with Jeff Byers as the possible backup. Who is Geoff Hangartner you ask? He started at RG the first four games this season and the last twenty games for the Panthers before missing last Sunday's game with an injury and was arguably the weakest point on the offensive line. Four year man out of Kentucky Garry Williams will fill-in at the RG position, though Williams has started two games this season (one at RT) he's not the ideal candidate to finish the season due to injury and talent concerns.What does this mean for Carolina moving forward? That is yet to be determined, but losing a three-time Pro Bowler to an already under-achieving offensive line can't give much optimism for the remaining 11 games of the season. It's hard to imagine holes being opened for Williams, Stewart, Tolbert, and Newton after losing your best lineman. With most assuming that the offensive line may have been the weakest area for the Panthers so far during the season, this injury gives no doubt that this is the weakest area on the team. Let's face it, LT Jordan Gross isn't getting any younger, LG Amini Silatolu is a young rookie, and RT Byron Bell is in his second year after being undrafted by the Panthers last season. There is always the option of taking a peak at the free agency market, but how much good will that do to bring in a guy that has been changing diapers or selling insurance the first five weeks of the season.Despite using a second-round draft pick in 2012 on Siliatolu, it's hard to question right now that the number one priority for the Panthers in the 2013 draft should be on the offensive line. After all the money being spent in the backfield, you have to have guys on the line that can effectively block and be agile enough to move down the field for screens and the option plays. Everyone wants to blame Cam Newton, Rod Chudzinski, and Ron Rivera for the lack of production on offense but you can't put all the blame on these three guys if they have nothing to work with. Will adjustments be made? Yes of course they will. Rod Chudzinski is too smart of an offensive coordinator to not figure out new schemes to give the offense a chance to move the ball down the field and Cam Newton is far too talented to continue putting up mediocre performances.It's too early to start saying the season is lost, but four more losses pretty much automatically ends your hopes to make the playoffs. With the team being 7-14 dating back to the start of last season, this is not the ideal start we all expected for the Rivera/Newton regime. The hope now is that the problems the Panthers are facing won't continue to snowball, but if that ends up being the case then how much criticism will be justified toward this new regime? Surprisingly, the defense has been far more impressive than the offense. We may be looking at another 2010 season with a porous offense and a strong defense, but with this talent on offense that should not be the case at all.I may have been too harsh on my criticism the first few weeks of the season, some of it is justified and some may have just been from being a frustrated fan. I have tempered my expectations for the Panthers this season and will not try to blast any particular individual that is associated with this team. With that being said though, myself and the majority of Panthers fans expect some changes to be made to continue making positive strides moving forward. If those expectations aren't met, most fans will be calling for heads to be placed on the chopping block.If you'd like updates on new articles follow me on Twitter and listen to SportsFans In HeadBands every Monday night.   
Monday, 08 October 2012 10:20

Disappointed Panthers fan?

1-4, that explains it all. Four close games and one blowout is not what Panthers fans expected. Following yesterday's loss to Seattle, the embarrassment and disappointment is back to when it was back in 2010 when the Panthers went 2-14. Cam Newton seems to have been bitten by the sophomore-slump, and mental mistakes are killing this team. What is it going to take to turn this season around? A lot of faith and a lot of prayer.Even in 2010 I had more hope than I do now, only because I thought in 2010 that the Panthers couldn't get blown out before the halftime show every week. Now, I know that despite the Panthers being in contention to win every week that mistakes will leave us fans wondering what happened. Sadly for us Panther fans, we will wait at least thirty-four days to see a victory. As much as I dislike saying this due to my hatred for Seattle, the Seahawks are a solid defensive team. However, Cam Newton and the Panther offense could do nothing! The one lone touchdown for the Panthers, came from a guy who no one thinks could even be on the field for another team. That's right, Captain Munnerlyn actually did something productive yesterday, returning an interception for a TD.Despite losing on a last-second FG last week to Atlanta, spirits were soaring last week knowing that the Panthers could contend with an undefeated team in the NFL. After yesterday, spirits are probably buried underground. Is it already time to play the "blame game"? I've already done it, and now sports talk hosts and other disgruntled fans are voicing their opinion. I'm sure we can all agree that the Panthers weren't going to make a significant push for a Super Bowl but would at least contend for the sixth seed to make the playoffs. It now looks as if the Panthers and the fans will just be happy to finish with seven wins, one more win than the 2011 season.With almost 1/3 of the season being completed, it's about that time to play every fans favorite offseason game, "Mock Draft". The key word in that last sentence, offseason. We shouldn't be saying who would be a good draft pick for the Panthers until January, and now we're doing this in the second week of October. We all know that changes need to be made and despite all the bickering, complaining, and disappointment nothing will happen until owner Jerry Richardson sees that for himself. Until Mr. Richardson comes to the realization that his team isn't performing to the level he sees successful, temper your expectations.If you like what you read, you can follow me on Twitter. You can also listen to SportsFans In HeadBands on CLNSRadio every Monday night, and read my articles on PigSkinBoss.
Since we don't get to fully discuss the topics that we'd like to cover every week, we've decided to go solo on this show and leave all the talking to us and you fans. A lot has happened since our last show, and we won't to cover all that happened over the past week.What was your reaction to the NFL and NFLRA reaching an agreement before the start of the week 4 games? After watching the game on Thursday night and yesterday's action, do you feel the games went much smoother than with the replacement referees?The Patriots obliterated the Bills in the second half for a 52-28 win to even their record at 2-2. Can the offense keep up this constant attack? What did you think of Brady's expletives toward the Bills fans?With the MLB regular season wrapping up on Wednesday, how soon can we expect to see changes made to the Red Sox organization? Plus, who are your favorites to represent in this year's World Series?Let's make Jason happy for a few minutes and briefly discuss the Carolina Panthers devastating loss to Atlanta. Now that the Panthers are 1-3, what should the expectations be for the remaining twelve games of the season?As always we'll wrap up the show with our favorite game, Beat The Bookies. Be sure to listen to our game picks this week to help you put some extra bucks in your pocket.We highly encourage all of you to follow us on Twitter. @SFinHB, @NathanConley, and @JasonSaulter. Also, be sure to "Like" our Facebook page.Be sure to tune in at 8:00 p.m. EST and call 347-215-7771 if you'd like to interact with us during the show. 
Monday, 24 September 2012 16:15

Whose to Blame in Carolina?

Have the Carolina Panthers been the worse team in the NFL since the 2010 season? Most would probably say no, despite posting a 9-26 record dating back to that time including the three games played so far this season. Should they be better? Based on the last two drafts under Ron Rivera, absolutely they should be better. So what is holding this team up from contending for the NFC South crown and a possible playoff berth?First, we have to take a trip back into memory lane. Entering the playoffs in 2009, Carolina posted an 11-5 record and had won their latest NFC South division title. After the Cardinals defeated the Falcons in Arizona, Carolina hosted the Cardinals on Jake Delhomme's 34th birthday. How did Jake and the Panthers celebrate? By committing six turnovers, including 5 INT's in a 33-13 blowout loss at Bank of America Stadium. Did GM Marty Hurney think it may be time to look at another QB via free agency or the NFL Draft? No, it was time for a 5 year, $40 million extension with just over $20 million guaranteed. Needless to say, Delhomme didn't perform, got injured, and was later released following the 2009 season.Let's move to April 2010, the much anticipated NFL Draft for Panthers fans despite not having a first-round draft pick. This was due to Marty Hurney trading this draft pick for Florida State DE Everette Brown, how did that work out Marty Hurney? With the 48th overall pick the Panthers selected Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen, the proceeded to throw away another draft pick for 2011 on WR Armanti Edwards from Appalachian State with the 89th overall pick. The result, a 2-14 throw away season. With no offensive line and rookie QB Jimmy Clausen getting thrown to the wolves it was disaster right from the start. Changes had to be made, and Panthers fans let owner Jerry Richardson know it by not attending games and venting their frustration on radio talk shows in the Charlotte area.Obviously Panthers fans were excited to have the number one overall pick for 2011, but other than that there was a lot of head scratching due to decisions made in the front office. Jerry Richardson secretly gave Marty Hurney a contract extension to remain the GM, which obviously upset a lot of fans. John Fox was fired after nine seasons with the team and Ron Rivera was brought in. However, former Philadelphia Eagles under-study Sean McDermott was hired as the defensive coordinator before Rivera was hired. McDermott was mentored by the late-great Jim Johnson, but under McDermott's direction the Eagles defense was the worst it had been in recent memory. Then to make things a little more awkward with the decisions of the coaching staff, Ron Meeks was kept on the staff to be the DB's coach after being the defensive coordinator during the 2010 season. The only coach Rivera brought with him from San Diego was Rob Chudzinski before Carolina brought in Mike Shula to be the QB's coach and to mentor Cam Newton.After the lockout ended during the summer of 2011, Panthers fans anticipated a long overdue spending spree in free agency to improve the team. DE Charles Johnson received a 6 year, $72 million dollar contract when most teams would have maybe offered half of the total salary. Despite being the only true threat as a pass rusher, Johnson recorded 9.5 sacks in 2011. LB Jon Beason got a 5 year, $50 million dollar extension despite having Achilles problems, Beason missed 15 games after rupturing that Achilles Tendon. RB DeAngelo Williams got a 5 year, $42 million dollar deal, Williams has had one season of 1,000+ yeards since his arrival to Carolina in 2006. LB Thomas Davis got a 5 year, $35 million dollar extension despite tearing his ACL two straight seasons, Davis then tore his ACL for a third straight season missing 14 games last year. Davis has since restructured that contract, but what was the philosophy on giving him such a big deal in the first place with his injury problems? Regardless, between these players that was just about $200 million in contracts.The 2011 season turned out to be a somewhat competitive season despite defensive injuries and offensive line trouble. Cam Newton proved to be the correct choice as the number one overall pick in 2011 by breaking multiple rookie records and leading the team to a 6-10 record. Some games were total blowouts, but the Panthers were able to hang in with the likes of the Packers, Falcons, and Saints to give high hopes for the 2012 season.With limited cap space due to the ridiculous spending spree in 2011, the only recognizable free agent signed was FB Mike Tolbert. Tolbert rejoined with Chudzinski after having multiple successful seasons with the San Diego Chargers. The NFL Draft was somewhat puzzling to Panthers fans as Carolina selected LB Luke Kuechly when DT was an obvious need. Despite the Panthers not selecting DT Fletcher Cox or DT Michael Brockers, there was excitement over Kuechly based on his track record in Boston College. Then the Panthers reached in the second round due to not having a third round pick, they drafted OL Amini Silatolu for Midwestern State. Some could have argued that draft pick could have been traded to replenish the third round pick. That however is hard to speculate seeing as we will never know if there would have been a suitor. With back-to-back picks in the fourth round, Carolina selected DE Frank Alexander and WR/KR/PR Joe Adams with the 103rd and 104th picks respectably. CB Josh Norman was selected in the fifth round, an unknown DB from Coastal Carolina who surprised many with his performance in the East-West game. Norman has since been given the second CB spot over Captain Munnerlyn. Finally in the sixth round the Panthers found P Jason Baker's replacement and drafted P Brad Nortman.All these players are significant because they are all starting for their respective positions. Possibly a reason why the Panthers have struggled to start the 2012 season. So, after recapping the last three years of activity from the Panthers front office, who is to blame for this team's under-performance? Some point the finger to Jerry Richardson, some to John Fox for leaving a mess after his firing, but most of the blame goes to GM Marty Hurney. With his decisions to throw away future draft picks for the player, "who can make the difference now" and the ridiculous contract extensions. Panthers fans have been anticipating Hurney's firing for nearly three years now, but somehow he manages to keep his seat as the GM. So is he really the one to blame? Doesn't Jerry Richardson deserve just as much slack as Hurney is receiving? It's ultimately his decision to keep Hurney with the team, so yes Mr. Richardson, this is your fault!Jerry Richardson keeps preaching that he wants his team to improve and to contend, but until Marty Hurney is gone that will not happen. It's time for a change, and that change has to come after the 2012 season's conclusion. I understand it's not easy to replace a GM, but Carolina is a great destination with a great history despite it's short existence in the NFL.You can follow me on Twitter, @JasonSaulter, and be sure to follow @SFinHB with myself and @NathanConley.  
Since we're both huge fantasy gurus, we've decided to bring back PigskinBoss founder Evan Singer for a full 60 minutes to talk fantasy football. For those who have questions on who to pick up on waivers, trade, sit, or start to help with the remainder of your season then this is your show.We'll quickly dive into Thursday's game between the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers, and last night's game between the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens.If you have any fantasy questions, comments, or concerns call 347-215-7771 or tweet us anything you'd like to get over the air to @SFinHB. Be sure to tune in at 8:00 p.m. EST on Monday and wear your favorite headband!You can follow us individually on Twitter, @JasonSaulter and @NathanConley. Be sure to also check out our Facebook page and click the "Like" button to get our latest updates and posts.
Tuesday, 11 September 2012 11:47

Week 1 Panic for the Carolina Panthers?

NFL fans are probably the worst when it comes to panic over their teams, myself included. The NFL season has only completed one week and unfortunately for Panthers fan, there is a goose egg in the win column. Why panic so quickly? The next three games are critical going against playoff teams from last season, New Orleans, New York Giants, and the Atlanta Falcons. Fortunately, the Saints are coming off a loss to the Redskins but the Falcons looked very strong at Arrowhead against the Kansas City Chiefs. It's hard enough playing within the NFC South, but season expectations will be squandered if the Panthers division record is 0-3 before week 5.From what I saw last week, the defense looks much improved from last season. Obviously having Jon Beason, Thomas Davis, and Ron Edwards healthy is key. Luke Kuechly didn't have the start to the season that we expected, but he's got fifteen games to improve and there is no reason to think that he won't. The offense is what was so disappointing in Sunday's loss. Cam Newton and company couldn't put together a scoring drive in the first half, plus three turnovers from Cam Newton squandered any chance to get the go-ahead score versus Tampa Bay. Jonathan Stewart being on the sidelines didn't help the running game, and if DeAngelo Williams cannot run downhill then opposing defenses will have the green light blitzing Cam Newton on all downs.Expectations were high for Panthers fans entering the season, Ryan Kalil didn't help by guaranteeing a Super Bowl victory in the Charlotte Observer. I am trying to hold back my panic, but looking at the next three weeks for the Panthers has me quite worried. I do think they will beat the New Orlean Saints who looked like a team who didn't have their head coach, the Thursday night matchup versus the Giants could go either way, and the record at the Georgia Dome hasn't been spectacular for the Panthers.My Panthers pride is as strong as anyone's, and that will not change regardless of the record over the next few weeks. Adjustments will be made, and if the team can stay healthy I still like the Panthers to contend for a Wild Card playoff berth. However, if the next three weeks brings a 0-3 result it's time to look at the 2013 NFL Draft and temper expectations for next season.
The regular season of the NFL has finally arrived! In honor of the season finally getting under way, we are proud to welcome ESPNBoston‘s Field Yates (@FieldYates) to talk about the Patriots opening game at the Tennessee Titans. We got in depth with yesterday's game along with specific player notes and the future outlook of the Patriots. You can hear his answers on the show and find his articles about player performances by checking out the New England Patriots Report on ESPNBoston. The Boston Red Sox continue their free-fall, as of Saturday night they are officially in last place in the AL East. However, the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles are battling for the top spot in the division. Who do you like to come out on top?After taking a week off due to last week's technical difficulties we give you five more games to make the call to Vegas in Beat The Bookies. Listen to hear if we picked a major NCAA or NFL upset for this week to help put the money in your pocket.As always you can follow our show page and follow us individually on Twitter, @SFinHB, @NathanConley, and @JasonSaulter. Also, be sure to “like” us on Facebook,www.facebook.com/SportsFansInHeadBands.http://www.blogtalkradio.com/clnsradio/2012/09/11/sportsfans-in-headbands-w-espnbostons-field-yates
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