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#1 20-09-2018 05:28:38

zhangzk
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Date d'inscription: 30-01-2018
Messages: 106

in a deal with Dallas for

Captain Munnerlyn took one glance at the Carolina Panthers wide receivers’ 40-yard times and couldn’t believe what he saw.

The veteran cornerback has never seen such a compilation of speed amassed at one position on a roster in any of his 10 NFL training camps.

”Oh man Emmanuel Lamur Jersey , we got some fast receivers,” Munnerlyn said. ”I was like, `Wow, almost everyone runs a 4.4 or lower. That’s crazy.’ We have some speed on this team – and we probably needed it.”

That’s an understatement.

The Panthers offense stagnated last season as quarterback Cam Newton found himself with no deep threats after Ted Ginn Jr. left to sign with the New Orleans Saints as a free agent and youngsters Curtis Samuel and Damierre Byrd went down with injuries.

The trickledown effect of not having anyone to stretch the field, combined with three-time 1,000 yard receiving tight end Greg Olsen missing most of the season with a foot injury made Newton’s job last season extremely difficult. It also played havoc with the team’s running game as opposing defenses were able to walk an extra defender into the box. Carolina still finished 11-5 and earned a wild card despite finishing 19th in offense but lacked the firepower to make a run in the NFC playoffs.

General manager Marty Hurney wasn’t about to let that happen again.

The Panthers upgraded their speed at wide receiver by trading for Torrey Smith, signing free agent Jarius Wright and selecting the elusive D.J. Moore from Maryland in the first round of the NFL draft.

Smith has averaged 16.4 yards per catch during his seven NFL seasons with the Ravens, 49ers and, most recently, the Super Bowl champion Eagles. Wright joins the Panthers after six seasons with the Vikings Mike Pouncey Jersey , where he worked under new Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner and averaged 13.3 yards per catch. Moore caught 80 passes last season at Maryland and earned a reputation as a receiver who makes defenders miss and piles up yards after the catch.

With Samuel and Byrd coming back from injuries, Newton should have no shortage of options when it comes to stretching the field.

”I think we would probably have the fastest track team in the NFL for sure,” Wright said. ”We got a 1A and a 1B team. That’s how fast our receiving corps is.”

Coach Ron Rivera is quietly optimistic.

He said the Panthers ”have some speed that we haven’t had in a while” at the wide receiver and defensive back positions.

”I think that is a good thing for us,” Rivera said. ”We can be a fast team.”

All of that is good news for Newton, who was limited to 22 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions in 2017 – two years after throwing 35 TD passes and 10 interceptions while earning league MVP honors and leading the Panthers to the Super Bowl.

The logical thinking is if defenses have to honor the deep threat it will allow Olsen and No. 1 receiver Devin Funchess to work underneath the coverage – and also free up rushing lanes for running back Christian McCaffrey and Newton, the team’s leading rusher last season.

Funchess may not be the fastest wide receiver on the roster, but he figures to play a huge role in the passing game.

He moved over to the ”X” position, or No. 1 receiver spot, during the middle of last season after the Panthers abruptly traded former No. 1 draft pick Kelvin Benjamin to the Buffalo Bills.

Funchess and Benjamin were considered similar possession-type receivers, and Hurney said at the time he wanted to get more speed on the field.

Funchess responded with some solid games in Benjamin’s absence Deatrich Wise Jr Jersey , and finished the season with 63 receptions for 840 yards and eight touchdowns despite routinely seeing double coverage. He’ll have plenty of motivation to improve on that production given that he’ll become an unrestricted free agent after the season.

”I focus on strictly football and that part has nothing to do with me,” Funchess said. ”If (the Panthers) want to (get a deal done), they can. … I’m out here to play football, work with coach Turner, work with the rest of the wide receivers, and talk a little trash to (Panthers linebacker) Thomas Davis.”

Wright likes what he sees so far from the wideouts.

”I think we have one of the best groups in the NFL,” Wright said. ”We have so many guys that bring a lot of different things to the game. But every guy can run out there. With so many playmakers, an experienced offensive coordinator and an MVP quarterback like Cam Newton our offense should be rolling.”




ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie waited the entire offseason and most of August for the right opportunity to sign with an NFL team.

Then almost as soon as he did, he was thrown right into the action. Rodgers-Cromartie signed with the Oakland Raiders last Thursday as a late addition providing depth in the secondary and was immediately put on the field for nine snaps the following night in an exhibition game against Green Bay.

“That was a big surprise to me Marshon Lattimore Jersey ,” Rodgers-Cromartie said Monday. “But it felt good to be out there and run around and get back into the game.”

Rodgers-Cromartie had been waiting for that chance ever since getting cut by the New York Giants in March. He talked with several teams and visited four but didn’t sign a deal until the Raiders called last week.

The market wasn’t strong for a 32-year-old who lost his starting job last year and was suspended for one game by the Giants for an unexcused absence.

“You just have to wait,” he said. “‘It’s frustrating because I still feel I have ability to go and be out there. It’s frustrating. But you have to understand. Being an older guy, teams are looking to go younger. You just have to wait.”

Rodgers-Cromartie is doing his best to get up to speed quickly. He said he was only asked to play man coverage in his brief stint against the Packers and is trying to learn the language of coordinator Paul Guenther’s defense.

Rodgers-Cromartie said he’s leaning heavily on former Giants teammate Leon Hall, who has been with the Raiders this entire offseason and also played for Guenther in Cincinnati.

Rodgers-Cromartie has been a productive player in his career with 30 interceptions and 144 passes defensed in 153 career games for Arizona, Philadelphia, Denver and the Giants.

He can play multiple spots in the secondary, although he said he’s more comfortable at cornerback than safety right now because he is still learning the new defense.

“That’s what I love about the acquisition,” coach Jon Gruden said of his versatility. “I think he’s a corner. I think he’s a guy that can play the nickel because he’s played the nickel. You can put him in there in a dime position. He can play deep. He’s played in every defense known to man and he can still run. He has size and length. Right now he’s mastering our defense. We’ll try to get a few snaps, hopefully, from him at Seattle and see what happens.”

While the Raiders brought Rodgers-Cromartie in just before the start of the season Blake Martinez Jersey , they made several other moves Monday starting with a trade that dealt receiver Ryan Switzer and a 2019 sixth-round draft pick to Pittsburgh for a fifth-round pick next year.

Oakland had acquired Switzer during the draft in a deal with Dallas for 2016 second-round pick Jihad Ward. The Raiders had high hopes for Switzer but Dwayne Harris beat him out as the returner and reserve receiver.

“He’s a capable guy coming in there in the slot,” Gruden said. “He can go outside. He showed some separation when he did play the other night. Had a good return called back. He’s a versatile player. We can hand him the ball. We can do a lot of things with him. He’s tough. He was just hurt last year. That was why you didn’t hear from him.”

Oakland also signed free agent cornerback Jarell Carter and defensive tackle Connor Flagel. Tackle Breno Giacomini was released and receiver Griff Whalen was placed on injured reserve with turf toe.

One player who still isn’t with the team is star pass rusher Khalil Mack, who has been holding out all year as he seeks a long-term contract. Mack skipped the entire offseason program, training camp and now will miss the entire exhibition season.

Whether he reports before the start of the season in two weeks remains to be seen.

“I don’t want to put any timetable on it,” Gruden said. “This has obviously been a long a process that has been grueling for both parties and fans and me personally. We’re just hoping we can get him in here.”

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