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Mini-Interview With Panthers Owner AllstarRF911

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Mini-Interview With Panthers Owner AllstarRF911

Post by Tony on Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:16 pm

Question #1:




Last season could not have come to a closing that you and your players had hoped for heading into the playoffs. The season unfortunately ended in the conference championships the same way the team started the season with a loss to the Seahawks who were perfect on the season. They are on your schedule once again this year so they'll be knocking soon, week 12 to be exact, and yet another time if you both meet sometime in the playoffs for your fourth meeting in two years. What changes to your game plan, if any, will you make to steal game 3, have revenge, and continue rolling on this theorized Super Bowl run? IF you won't make adjustments, what exactly will put you over the top?





Answer:




This next matchup will be a true test to our team's grit, as the last two meetings were battles, with the Hawks pulling away late in both contests. One change to the gameplan would obviously be to contain Marshawn Lynch. He dominated the entire league last year and preventing him from getting into a rhythm is instrumental in halting that prolific offense. However, after looking at the Week 1 game tape, Russell Wilson has definitely caught our coaching staff's attention, as he threw for 394 yards and 4 touchdowns. We feel having them come to our stadium is a huge advantage for our squad, especially when considering the fact that both games were played with the 12th man last season. As last season proved, the Super Bowl goes through Seattle, so until we get a W versus them, we can't look past them at the Super Bowl.




Question #2:




This past offseason was a tumultuous one in which many familiar faces went to free agency or other teams in trades. What player in particular among franchise figureheads such as offensive cornerstone Deangelo Williams, defensive superstar Luke Keuchly, or defensive fan-favorite, feel-good story Thomas Davis made the decision to pull the trigger the most difficult as you sat down and prepared for the future?




Answer:





Let me start off by saying that the moves we made this past offseason were all extremely tough. The team we had last year was very sound, but the previous administration put my new organization in a very tight salary cap bind. We have the utmost respect for all of those guys, but their cap hits were just too much for us to handle and we had to move them all. I think from the fans sake it was hardest to see DeAngelo go, seeing as how he was a fan favorite and had such a productive season last year. From our prospective, trading Luke Kuechly was as tough a decision as ever. He's one of the best MLB in the game, and anchored our defense for 2 years. We felt it was best to acquire a young, promising receiver in Stephen Hill and two draft picks in the top 35 selections last year. The Jets don't seem too happy with him at the moment given various issues and our front office is currently exploring the possibility of reacquiring him prior to the trade deadline.




Question #3:




Altogether more than 35 players in one way or another made their departure from your team leaving something close to a mere 15 from the original roster left standing. Such changeover couldn't have occured without good reasoning, at least in the mind of the team's owner, and high hopes for those replacements entering battle manning their new positions effectively. What three players drafted, signed, or otherwise obtained do you view as the keys to your success this season?




Answer:




First off, the trade for Stephen Hill was huge. After Steve Smith retired, and Brandon Lafell and Tedd Ginn left for free agency, we were left with a single WR on our depth chart, Kealoha Pilares, who played minimal snaps last year. We felt the need to address our need through free agency, but weren't too happy with the options out there for a true #1 WR. We then called the Jets asking about Hill and they asked about Kuechly. The rest is history. Another key addition that happened relatively early in free agency was the signing of Ed Reed. Although Reed has lost a step, he is still a dynamic player and a ball hawk by nature. His experience, work ethic, and leadership are huge components to how effectively our defense will play this year. Lastly, Calvin Smith, whom we selected with that #3 overall pick is a quintessential piece to our defense, Last year, we transitioned to a 3-4, and lacked true pass rushers at OLB. This made it easier to say farewell to Thomas Davis, because his skill set did not match with what we were asking him to do. Look for Smith to come on strong later in the season as he gets his feet wet and learns the position at the professional level.




Question #4:




It's almost a laughable question given the amount of turnover this team has seen, but might there indeed be more moves on the way prior to the the trade deadline? During the bloodletting of the offseason there were several players who managed to survive that received heavy interest from teams around the league. The high levels of interest put out don't seem apt to be regressing anytime soon. Trade talks involving cornerback Melvin White spring to mind immediately when considering a potential move in the short term.




Answer:




We are actively pursuing a MLB to play alongside Perry Riley. We believed we could address MLB in the draft, but came up short of the guys we were after.




Question #5:




Steve Smith retired from the team instead of gearing up for another Super Bowl run with his beloved Panthers. It was obviously a tough decision for him to give up a promising future given the relative lack of success he has seen outside of the Super Bowl run with Jake and the what-could-have-been game this previous year, but it was one he clearly felt he had to make this year. No one on the outside seems to quite know for sure what led to this action. However, it was reported through a variety of sources immediately after the loss, and right before the blow-up of the team, that had Smith not retired 'willingly', being aghast at being asked to take a pay cut to remain with the team given his years of production and loyalty, he'd have been traded to the highest bidder and forced to play with a team not so close to his heart and probably not so close to a Super Bowl ring. Is there any validity to this report or other reports that suggested Steve Smith might have been nursing an injury that resulted in him putting away his cleats?




Answer:




As far as our trainers knew, Steve Smith was 100% healthy. We were quite shocked when he decided to retire, because he had such a productive season last year. We had every intention of having Smith lead our WR corp again this season, but he felt it was time to hang up the cleats.




Question #6:




Last year your division was inept to say the least with three teams in the bottom ten, or worse, of the league. Since then they have made moves in their own right on a much smaller scale than yourself in an attempt to become relevant in their division and conference once again. Maybe you don't feel anyone stands a great chance of beating your team, but it's probable that there is at least one team that created enough of a difference between this year and the last to cause some pause. What team is this and what move or set of moves do you think perhaps caused a potential




Answer:




Every year each team has a fresh slate, and after FA and the draft you are never quite sure who will emerge as a contender or when. During the latter half of last season, both the Saints and Bucs underwent changes in the front office, and both have played our team very tough. I believe last season we beat the Bucs in both games by a combined score of 6 points, and the Saints played us tough as well. Cannot forget the Falcons either, as they have added some dynamic pieces to that offense and defense, and played our team tough in the season opener. We look to have an extremely competitive NFC South this year, and bring all the glory of season's past back.

Tony
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