The Hornets suffered one of, if not their most disappointing loss of the season on Friday to the Orlando Magic in Charlotte, but they had an opportunity to get things back on track against a New York Knicks team that appeared to be getting themselves together after a rather disappointing start. They did just that with a dominant 97-87 win which was led by a career performance from Miles Bridges, who dropped 38 points on 14-20 shooting, and another nice afternoon from Terry Rozier, who finished with 22 points of his own.
Arm length had been a big storyline around Matt Rhule and the Panthers ever since he made the comments about them thinking of Brady Christensen as a guard because of his short arms. Rhule told the Mac Attack on Thursday that one of his biggest regrets from the season was not sticking with Christensen at left tackle after the Giants game where he struggled, making many fans angry that this was something that he didn't realize in season. Combine that with the fact that he revealed to the Mac Attack in his interview that the staff passed on second team All-Pro Rashawn Slater because they felt that he was a guard and the team wasn't willing to take a guard that high.
Panthers head coach Matt Rhule's job status might be the most polarizing storylines in both the city of Charlotte sports and in the NFL as the days go by and the owner of the team remains silent. Albert Breer of Monday Morning Quarterback said in answer a mailbag question on the site yesterday that nothing can be officially ruled out here because of what happened with Jeffrey Lurie and Doug Pederson a year ago where Pederson was let go more than a week after the conclusion of the season. On Thursday morning, Rhule took to the airwaves of WFNZ and talked to both the Mac Attack and the Wilson & Norfleet show to discuss his job status heading into year three and much, much more.
For the first time since 1980, Georgia Bulldogs fans are waking up as national champions in the sport of football. After four losses for Kirby Smart against his mentor Nick Saban, all of which saw Georgia hold double-digit leads, Smart helped rally the Bulldogs with 20 4th quarter points including two touchdown passes for quarterback Stetson Bennett who had looked rather shaky before then. The Georgia defense was picked apart by Bryce Young for 369 yards despite throwing a lot of pressure at him but the bowed up where it mattered, in the red zone. The Crimson Tide had four trips inside the 20 on the night, but came away with just one touchdown in large part due to the pressure that they were able to get on Young. The Bulldogs also forced Young into a couple of key mistakes, including the game-sealing pick-six by Kelee Ringo in the final minute of the game with Alabama attempting to drive the field.
With the Panthers heading into the final week of the regular season out of the playoff race, the focus for the Panther fan base seems to be on positioning the team in the best spot in the draft to get a piece that this team desperately needs. Left tackle is the spot that most people are looking at with the Panthers top ten pick with names like Evan Neal, Ikem Ekwonu and Charles Cross amongst those that are being looked at in this range as part of a strong tackle class.
Sunday's loss to the New Orleans Saints may have been the Panthers eleventh loss in thirteen games but it seems like many around the league are still sold on the fact that the Panthers will be hanging on to head coach Matt Rhule for year number three. While there have been a lot of people that have seemed to come around to the idea of Rhule coming back, one guest on the Mac Attack earlier today said that this would be a bad move for the Panthers and owner David Tepper.
The story of Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers is a confusing one. For some reason the Panther front office signed his fifth-year rookie extension earlier this offseason without even seeing him play a game as a starter at the NFL level. After a strong start to the season in the first three and a half games of the season, Darnold's season has taken a turn for the worse, as he has thrown for just 200 yards once since Week 4 after doing so in each of the first four weeks and has just a 2-9 TD-INT ratio since that Dallas game.
Prior to Sunday's home finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it was announced that the Carolina Panthers and owner David Tepper were leaning towards bringing Matt Rhule back for his third season in Charlotte. Following that report, the team would proceed to beat down by a depleted Bucs team 32-6, though, looking lifeless throughout the majority of the game and failing to score a touchdown in a game for the third time this season. Later that night, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk said on Football Night America that Matt Rhule is someone to keep an eye on in terms of his job status.
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.
To say that this Panthers season has been a roller coaster is an understatement. The team raced out to a 3-0 start to begin the season, getting the talks of the playoffs stirred up early on before the team would be brought back to Earth and left searching for answers with a six-game stretch where they lost five games, including four straight after the 3-0 start. The franchise was reinvigorated when they resigned franchise legend Cam Newton prior to the Arizona game and followed that with a big win on the road against the Cardinals, making some reconsider whether the Panthers could make a playoff push. However, those thoughts have seemed to be dashed in a lot of people's minds after two straight losses, including a blowout loss to the Dolphins on Sunday.
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