Mac & Bone Podcast
The Panthers playoff hopes are officially done as of Sunday after a blowout 32-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the team's home finale for the 20212 season. The team was dominated from start to finish by a Bucs team that was as beat up as any team that the Panthers have faced this season, allowing 391 yards of total offense, 6.3 yards per play and 159 yards on the ground, all while facing a team that was without their leading rusher and their top two receivers. Meanwhile, the Panthers continued their struggles offensively, totaling just 273 of total offense and somehow only putting six points on the board in this one.
It's no secret that the Panthers have two major question marks personnel-wise moving forward that the team still has to address, the left tackle and the quarterback positions. Left tackle is a spot where Panther fans have grown frustrated by the fact that the team hasn't taken many risks and has tried to solve the position with band-aid instead of a long-term fix. The quarterback position is an area where the team has been more aggressive, but simply has swung and missed on the three quarterbacks that they have acquired since Matt Rhule's arrival two years ago.
The Hornets dropped their third game in a row on Monday night in Utah, falling 112-102 despite battling all the way back into the game, even taking the lead at one point after being down as many as 21 points in the first quarter. Those first quarter struggles have become a major issue for the team during this road trip, as the team has trailed by at least 17 or more points at some part of the first quarter this week and have been outscored 113-55 overall in the quarter in those three affairs.
Wednesday was early signing for the class of 2022 in college football and it may have been the wildest signing day in the history of the sport. Not only did teams like Alabama, Georgia, Texas and Michigan have big day in terms of landing prospects, but the college football world was sent into a state of shock when the No. 1 player in the class according to 247Sports Composite player rankings, Travis Hunter, flipped his commitment from Florida State to FCS Jackson State. The move sent college football fans into a tizzy and began speculation about what led to the move from the extremely talented defensive back from Suwanee, GA.
Bank of America Stadium was the focus of the Queen City sports fan on Tuesday night and for the first time in a while it wasn't about the struggles of the Panther franchise that has some concerns about its future. Instead, the focus was on the MLS expansion franchise that held its expansion draft as they selected five players for the new franchise. Forward Orrin McKinze Gaines II (Austin FC), defender Anton Walkes (Atlanta United) and Joseph Mora (D.C. United) were the players selected by the franchise that they held on to at the conclusion of the night and will be a part of the inaugural season of MLS soccer in Charlotte. The team also selected defender Tristan Blackmon (Los Angeles Football Club) and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (New York City FC), both of whom were traded to other teams in exchange for valuable General Allocation Money (GAM) that can be used in free agency.
James Bouknight might be the most polarizing player on this 2021-22 roster in terms of his role with the team. In the midst of playing in just seven of the team's first 24 games of the season, fans were calling for him to be given an opportunity and now that that has happened, fans want more and rightfully so. Bouknight has played in each of the last five games during this period of COVID issues for the Hornets and has played well. He is averaging 10.0 points per game and shooting 50.0% from behind the arc while averaging 17.7 minutes per game during that stretch, leaving to wonder if he deserves a role in the rotation for this team even when they return back to full strength.
Sunday really felt like a last ditch effort for the Panthers to save a season that was going off the rails after a 3-0 start and that last ditch effort fell short against the Atlanta Falcons thanks to three turnovers and another lackluster overall performance in their eighth loss in the last ten games. This is the fifth straight loss that the team has suffered at home after two straight wins to begin the season, wins that look even less impressive now than they did at the time.
For the first time in their life, the Martin twins were separated this offseason, with Caleb heading to Miami, while Cody stayed here in Charlotte. "That's my best friend," Cody told the Mac Attack when he joined Mac and Bone on Friday morning. "We been together forever and whether it was playing sports or whatever the case is, we've done everything together. It's an adjustment; it's still an adjustment." Both guys have seemed to make the most of the separation, as both are having career years so far this season. Caleb is averaging a career-high in points per game (7.6), field goal percentage (48.9%), effective field goal percentage (56.3%) and rebounds per game (3.2) while playing the most extensive minutes of his career so far this season in Miami. Cody, meanwhile has become an extremely important piece for the Hornets this season, posting his career-highs in points per game (8.6), field goal percentage (48.8%), 3-point field goal percentage (50.0%), effective field goal percentage (57.1%), free throw percentage (57.1%), assists (2.4) and steals (1.4). Not too bad for guys what are still supposedly adjusting.
With the news that Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliot is likely headed for Charlottesville to coach the Virginia Cavaliers and athletic director Dan Radakovich heading to Miami to take over the Hurricanes athletic program, there is a bit of adversity around the Clemson football program. While Elliot former co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott may have departed for South Florida a couple of seasons ago, this is the first major shake-up that the Tigers have seen to their coaching since becoming a national title contender year in and year out under Swinney. Swinney must now find replacements for both Elliot and defensive coordinator Brent Venables all while attempting to keep a recruiting class together that is already starting to lose some commits.
"Head coach next." Those were the words that Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk said he was told by a league when asked about Joe Brady's firing earlier this week on Pro Football Talk. Florio, as he does every week, stopped by the Mac Attack to clarify what exactly he was a hearing in reference to the situation in Carolina, a franchise that he referred to as a "dysfunctional" one. Florio is of the belief that this was a move made out of desperation by Matt Rhule with the pressure that he may feel from a less than patient David Tepper. "From the timing of the announcement to the fact that it happened a week into a two week bye and the way that it was discussed and explained, there 's just something about it that doesn't seem right. I feel like there is a heck of a lot more to it. Part of that more to it could be that the head coach realizes there is a good chance he'll be next."