04 February, 2012


Happy Saturday, Fanz!

The end of a most entertaining 2011 NFL season is upon us, and I for one, am looking forward to joining with our core tailgating group at Casa Coach for our final food and football fellowship of the league year! I will be most disappointed if my atomic chili doesn’t cause at least five cases of heartburn tomorrow… I’ve not failed you, dear reader, not once, in a weekly forecast this season for the first time since I took over the rant, and I won’t let you down now on this biggest of sports weekends.

You know the participants. You know the stories, the background, the smack talk, the girlfriends, the wives, the mentors, the this, the that, the onandonandonandon that accompanies the two weeks before the big game. I’m not going to discuss a word of it. Not on this blog. I’ve thought long and hard about this game – and my prognostication may disappoint some of you hoping for a good contest.

It won’t be.

And I’ll tell you why –

Who – was worse than the Panthers in total defense in the NFL this year?

Yep. 32 of 32. The Pastry- Rots.

What do the Giants have more of than the Pastry-Rots?

Yep. That thing that wins cham-peen-ships. I don’t see a matchup anywhere in this game that favours New Englandgland. Pass rush? Giants. Running game? Giants. Wide receivers? Giants. Gronk? Injured. I look for New York to take Gronkowski out of the game early, and rough up Tommy Terrific and get him out of his rhythm. Without his ever-reliable tight end, I think the New York defensive backfield, along with that excellent group of linebackers, can take care of covering Hernandez and the rest of the Pastry-Rot receivers. If the Giants “O” line can keep Fat Boy Wil-I-love-my-Fork away from Brotha Manning, he’s going to find any and all of his Three Amigos in the WEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAK Pastry-Rot secondary.

This is going to be a blowout, friends.

By the fourth quarter, we’re going to be more entertained by the commercials than the game.

Enjoy the day, loyal readers, and be safe.

I’ll be back with some draft day musings in April.

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27 January, 2012


Hello, Fanz -

I would be amiss in my place in the PantherFandom uni-verse if I did not comment on the end of the Chud Watch this week -

Many of you know that yesterday, Tampa Bay hired Greggie Schiano from The University of Joisey, otherwise known as Rutgers, to guide their flagging franchise back to relevance, effectively ending all head coaching vacancies to all 32 NFL teams, and also effectively endng the prospect of Rob Chudzinsky, offensive wunderkind, leaving the Carolina Panthers for the 2012 season.

So, what does this mean for the Panthers, their fans, and the rest of the league?

It means that the number one priority for our continued success has been met.

It means that innovated plays like "The Brockelrooskie" will continue to amaze our fans, and distress our opponents.

It means that Cam Newton's growth as an elite NFL quarterback will continue unimpeded.

It means continued afternoons (and evenings) of exciting football that's worth tuning into.

It means at least one of our top three draft choices will be an offensive skill player.

It means an elevated attention factor to the team by the media.

And it certainly means that for the 2012 season, Primetime will be calling the Panther's number, meaning late afternoon tailgate parties to plan your fall weekends (and even Mondays) around...

And as the 2012 Super Bowl becomes a memory, and the offseason officially begins, the excitement and anticipation for the new season officially begins, with a renewed purpose, because for one more year -

We're not tossing our Chud.

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No comments beyond this..................

The Cedar Street Seer

21 January, 2012


Well, Fanz, I'm late.

I've been thinking about these matchups all week, and hoping like hell we don't get a Niners-Pastry-Rot Super Bowl.

I was scalded in my picks last week, bringing me to a even .500 record for the playoffs.

I'll make these brief.


Houston gashed the Ravens again and again last week, and but for a couple of turnovers, it would be the Texans playing this game. This just in for the Quothers -
New Englandgland's offense makes Houston look like East Meck. Pastry-Rots BIG.


The Giants have come to life on both sides of the ball just in time. This defense is playing much better than the Saints did last week, and the Giants' offense is finding it's groove. This is a team that's ready to play well in the expected crummy weather elements forcast for tomorrow. I'm on the Giants to win!

There. Hopefully we avoid a sucky matchup two weeks from now -

The Chud watch, by the way, is still on, with no movement - cross your fingers, cross your eyes, cross your legs, knock on wood, embrace any talisman you have to make love to, but do it. We're almost in the clear...

Thanks so much for keeping up with my rantz - your readership keeps me poundin'...

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13 January, 2012


Happy Playoff Weekend Part 2, Fanz!

In my opinion, this is the very best weekend of the playoffs, and that includes the Super Bowl – The pretenders are out of the way, and the Elite Eight of the NFL are ready to entertain (or disgust) us with their urgent-there-is-no-tomorrow play –

I DID go 3 of 4 last weekend, and I’m giving myself an additional .5 in the scoring for correctly calling the manner in which the Saints-Leos game was played, only Detroit, sadly, failed to cover. I feel really good about going 4 for 4 this weekend . Read on –


Ahh, the reward for a top seed- a home game for your long suffering fans. Here’s one angle that’s been brought up ad nauseum – The Saints are winless on the road in their playoff history. The fact that they’ve been a different team on natural grass away from home reflects in the small Vegas line. Here’s where the most important part of the game will be played out – The defensive line of the Niners, along with the linebackers, will have to dictate the defense. There’s just too many options at receiver for Drew Brees for the secondary to cover. If they can get Brees out of his rhythm, perhaps they can slow the parade of points long enough to penetrate that average Saints defense and hold the lead before they wear out. I think this game stays close for most of the game, but you know that eventually, that mad-scientist offense will eventually overcome a gassed “D”. I’m not entirely confident in a San Francisco offense that’s lacking a bona-fide playmaker that’s not Frank Gore. I like the Saints to cover the -3 ½ on the road, and prepare for either a Tundra odyssey, or a triumphant return to The Superdome.


This is the game that most fans around the country are salivating for, not to mention CBS, which is probably charging Anheuiser-Busch boxcar loads of cash for advertising time on this game. Come to think of it, I think Dr. Cheat-a-Chek is salivating over this, too. Don’t think that a complete demolition of the Teblow Express is his one desire, as well as that of jilted coordinator Josh McDaniels. Here’s a fact- The past three seasons that the Pastry-Rots have made the playoffs, they have been bounced AT HOME. They won’t allow that this time. The Brady Bunch has scored in Saints-like proficiency on EVERY DEFENSE this season, never mind that their own defense has been Carolina Panther-like in defensive deficiency. The key to this game is whoever Cheat-a-Chek has “spying” on Timmy Terrific, much like Thomas Davis pretty much finished Mike Vick against the Panthers. It will need to be a stout linebacker, as TeBlow’s a big boy. Denver will get their points and their yards, no doubt about it. New EnglandGland won’t be able to contain the run AND Teblow’s heroics for the whole game, but like San Francisco’s dilemma against the Saints, there’s too many targets for Brady to hit, and that Broncoid defense will be gassed by the end of the third quarter. This is no crippled WorthlessBerger they’re playing against - The Pastry-Rots are as healthy as they’ve been all season, and this is where Teblowmania ends for the season. The line’s HUGE at 13 ½. That’s ridiculous. I have no doubt that the Brady Bunch pull this out. A decimated Squealer squad they are not, but Denver’s playing with house money now, and absolutely no pressure. All of the pressures on New EnglandGland, and at times, it will show. Brady wins, but the Broncoids cover.


Three of this weekend’s game feature prolific, entertaining offenses. This one’s the pig in the pageant, if you ask me. This has the making of an ugly, UGLY Schlobberknocker between two stout defenses. Paramount in the outcome of this game is the ability of the defensive line to stop the run. If Ray Rice gets loose for the Ravens, it could be tough for Houston. Conversely, that two headed monster of Foster and Tate presents matchup problems for Balty-moore. I think Wade Phillips’ game plan would be to stack the box against Rice, and make Slacco Flacco beat them. Flacco’s been wildly inconsistent this season, and I think that the Texan’s secondary can make it tough for the Raven’s receivers. Gary Kubiak will not need TJ Yates to win this game for him; he’s just not that kind of quarterback. Yates just needs to play unspectacular, mistake free football, and let Flacco do the screwing up. He will keep running and running and running the ball until Andre Johnson can get free of dangerous corner Ed Reed. Johnson will surely be the “X” factor in any chance of a Texans victory, but this game is certainly going to be in the hands of the defense. That Ravens defense is slowing down, and Houston’s is heating up. Balty-Moore’s had inexplicably BAD games this season – this will be another. UPSET! Houston to win a low-scoring game!


The second best weekend in sports (the opening round of the NCAA Men’s Tournament is the best! Bar None!) closes out with a tundra-melting matchup between two of the hottest offenses of late. The Packers have assembled a near-perfect 15-1 record by OUTSCORING opponents, as their defense has been penetrated again and again by teams with prolific offenses. The Giants, however, have finally gotten a bit closer to the way they like to play defense. If they can pressure Rodgers into incompletions, they can keep this game close. I’m seeing a vastly entertaining shootout, the best game of the weekend. Eli Manning should have a HUGE game with this “triplet” of wideouts healthy and available, and Aaron Rodgers gets All-Pro Greg Jennings back, too. However, playoff football in December is largely predicated on defense, and how well you run the ball. Right now, the Giants are better at both than the Packers, and I like the Giants and the +7 ½ in this one, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them win.

There you go, Fanz – get those bets in, and remember your Cedar Street Seer when you count your winnings!

I’ll be back for an extensive championship forecast on Saturday.

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06 January, 2012


Happy playoffs, Fanz!

Well, it’s not as happy as it’s going to be next year, as the Carolina Panthers make their return to the postseason after Mr. MopeyHead learns more about playing in this league – but it’s an intriguing weekend of games just the same – I fire up the clairvoyance gland and make some good picks for you –


We kick off the tournament with the Texans’ very first trip to the postseason, and they are arriving not quite as they had expected earlier in the year. Rookie TJ Yates will be starting under center, but he has Arian Foster ready to go, and Andre Johnson is FINALLY back after season-long problems with his hamstring. If he’s fully healed, expect Houston to throw to him often, opening up the run for Foster. They got their yardage against the Bengals last month, while keeping Cedric Benson in check. I’d imagine more of the same. They’ll be home, and fired up. The defenses will be controlling the game early, but as Yates starts to find his rhythm, I think the Texans distance themselves and wait for the aftermath of the Pissburgh-Denver game to make their flight reservations. I like the Texans and the -3 at home.


After last week’s offensive explosions by BOTH teams, I’m salivating for more of the same tomorrow night- it’s possible that new playoff records for BOTH teams could be set as Drew Brees and Matt Stafford fling the biscuit to their Frisbee-catchin’ dogs. Defense? What defense? These teams will get their yards, believe me. The line for this game is at 10 ½! The last team getting this kind of line was the ’08 Panthers at home, and we all know what happened in THAT game. I ain’t buyin’ it. While the Saints should win this game, I think the Lions keep it close, right to the end. I like the Leos and the points, BIG TIME!


The early game on Sunday has the GeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeMen back in the playoffs since their inspired Super Bowl run back in ’09 against the undefeated Pastry-Rots. The key for the Giants is to soften up that secondary, which is mediocre at best, and Eli Manning has the bullets to do it. On defense, they will need to slow Michael Turner, and put pressure on Matt Ryan. The Duckies have been playing small ball against the better opponents this season, and they had better not do that here. If the Giants O line can hold off John Abraham’s pass rush, they will carve the Duckies up like so much deli meat. And I think they will. Gimme GOTHAM and the -3!


The wild card games close out in the Mile High City – on paper this looks like a blowout. It’s not gonna be. The Squeelers are hurting in almost every position, particularly WorthlessBergers’ and his center Pouncey’s ankles, suffering from slow-to-heal high ankle sprains. SS Polomalu is dealing with a strained calf, which will hamper his speed, particularly in that elevated altitude of Invesco Field. They’ve not looked like the fearsome team they have been since their Dec 8th game against the Browns, and other than the game against the Lambs, have failed to cover. While Denver is suffering its own set of injuries, they still have a defense that will make things rough for a hurting WorthlessBerger. This is going to be one UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGLY game – If your betting the under, I’d surely take it. It wouldn’t be a big surprise to see the Broncoids pull the upset, but you can bet Dick LeBeau and that perennial potent Pissburgh “D” will force Timmy Terrific into uncomfortable situations. I think the Squeelers pull this out, but I’m on Denver and the +8 ½ at home.

There you go, Fanz!

Don’t go away for the season! I plan on being back a few times before the draft…

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02 January, 2012


A young mother looks in the mirror after a shower. She’s just dropped her two-year old to her first daycare, and the bikini body she had before she conceived is long gone. Her husband got a family gym membership, and she sighs, but she knows she has to get in there and sweat and exercise her body to get into that hot two piece she wore a scant 32 months ago. Shes’ got work to do.

The Tri-Lambdas of “Revenge Of the Nerds” looked at the dilapidated house off campus, with all manner of fixtures and molding falling apart. They were not dissuaded. They wanted out of the oppressive situation the head football coach put them in. They had work to do.

Rocky Balboa road the coattails of his prior successes until Clubber Lang beat him senseless in the third “Rocky” movie. Status quo was no longer enough to stay on top of the heavyweight boxing world. Apollo Creed sought him out. He saw that there was still a champion in him, but there was work to do.

A big yellow retired school bus sits in its big aluminum shed in James’ West Mecklenburg address. It’s musty, the seats well-weathered, but it’s the start of the new Pantherfanz bus. We’ve got work to do.

It’s in this spirit that I close the final rant of the season. It was disappointing, to say the least, to finish the season the way we did. There’s nothing positive about rehashing everything that went wrong, and in record numbers. But if you’re using that most superlative of ass-kickings as a diagnostic tool, it can be useful. There’s work to do. Every aspect of the Carolina Panthers needs work. Some more than others. Let’s start with the obvious.

The defense is awful. Against a bottom feeder like Tampa Bay is one thing. Against a good team you see the deficiencies. Against a great team, well, you saw the result. Yes, yes, yes, we’ve beat the injury bug drum all damn year. Every one has injuries. It’s part of the game. The key is having depth. This is where the scouting departments and talent evaluators must earn their money. You’re going to think I’m nuts, but I don’t believe that defensive line is our biggest need. I like our ends. I think Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy can put enough pressure on the passer, once the linebackers and secondary are stocked with NFL talent. I think a couple more big fat spaceeaters are important, although it’s possible our rookie tackles Fua and McClain could benefit from an offseason of OTA’s.

Behind this line lies one of our two biggest needs. What started out as a defensive strength is now one of our biggest weaknesses. Linebacker is a pressing need on this team. We are sure to lose Dan Connor, who despite his effort, will never be a top NFL ‘backer. James Anderson is an excellent role player, but he’s not the beast that BEASTon or TD was. And speaking of those two, it’s likely we’ve seen the last of Thomas Davis. There’s no guarantee that Jon Beason will be back to 100% after his Achilles surgery. There’s no question the effort’s there, but the body will be the deciding factor whether he can ever regain his formidable field presence. What this unit needs is a lunatic, my body-be-damned-as-well-as-yours, freak of nature athlete in the mold of Kevin Greene or James Harrison.

It isn’t likely this player is in this draft this year. Our best case scenario is for BEASTon to come back near peak, and a nice complimentary free agent acquisition. This is going to be a work in progress. It may take a couple of seasons to get this group back to its once fearsome, game changing status.

What REALLY ails the defensive unit is the backfield. While Chris Gamble has made a remarkable comeback in Rivera’s first year, he can’t cover the whole field by himself. Captain Mummerlin has looked completely overwhelmed in coverage, and there’s been few sightings made by Godfrey and Martin, much less plays. Gone are the days of the power hitting of Mike Minter, and the turnover generating Chris Harris. Take your pick. A tenacious ball-hawking corner with turf-burning speed, or a human Exocet missile of a safety is what this secondary absolutely needs. What we have now will simply not do, as evidenced by the way Drew Brees made us look like juco walk-ons. Like the linebacking corps, this situation is likely not going to be remedied by one draft. There’s a corner or two in the draft’s upper spots, and there’s a safety from Alabama that has promise as a second-round pick. It’s a start. A bonus for this draftee would be the availability and ability as a kick returner, much as Patrick Peterson is for the Cardy-noles.

Fixing this defensive squad, clearly, is the number one priority of the franchise. When the defense is bad, everything is bad. You lose the field position game, you lose the time of possession advantage, and you force your offense to score on virtually every play to keep any chance of victory alive. In ANY contest.

Thankfully, our offense is capable of that. But they are not without need of a bit of elbow grease. While Cam is UNQUESTIONABLY the white-hot superstar of our franchise for years to come, he needs to continue to grow into the position, and learn to temper his emotions. I feel strongly that he will do this, and not only will he grow into the leader he is destined to be, but he will become mechanically better, he will make far smarter decisions with the ball, and he will execute plays both basic and exotic with the precision of an explosives disarming expert. To do this, he will need the following –

-We must keep our “Double Trouble” duo intact. Having SteWilliams in the backfield along with Cam is a three-headed beast that most teams will not be able to defend. For Chudzinsky to have this in his weapons chest is paramount.

-We need Jeff Otah back healthy, or we need a suitable replacement. We also need to upgrade our line with depth. Keeping Newton’s jersey clean is a must next season. Opening holes for SteWilliams is vitally important to our offensive strategies next season. The O line is decent, but it can be better. Otah is a big part of this issue.
-While not a VITAL need, if you’ve got the chance to upgun your main cannon to a 105mm tank-buster, much like the Israelis (speaking of folks who had work to do) did with the archaic M4 Sherman Tank, you do it. Alston Jefferies of South Carolina is the kind of receiver that forces teams to single-cover Steve Smith or Brandon LaFell. Uh oh. Another weapon in the inventory of Chudzinsky. If he’s (or another big possession type Mushin Muhammad-type receiver) available in the second round, I think Hurney should think hard about taking him.

-And most important of all, we MUST keep Rob Chudzinsky on the staff for AT LEAST for one more season. Throw whatever cash you need to, Uncle Jerry, but this offensive wunderkind has to be retained. The success of the offense and particularly Cam next season will depend on it. While your at it, Jerry, you can keep Son Of Jaw here, too. Cam’s benefited much from David Shula’s intelligent and observant coaching style.

Another offensive need is a reliable backup to Cam if God forbid it, should he be catastrophically injured. Derek Anderson could be that quarterback. As shown by Houston and Green Bay, a good backup is critical to a successful season. Not having one? Indianapolis is the perfect example of what happens when you don’t have a contingency plan in place. So is Jacksonville. So are the Deadskins. So are the Iggles. Panthers, don’t be that team.

And while we’re at it –

Time to cut our losses on players that will never be. Say goobye to Jimmy Claussen, Armanti Edwards, Captain Mummerlin, Dan Conner. Orlindo Mare. Sherrod Martin, Charles Godfrey. And anyone else not making plays. The “lockout” season is over. Chef Rivera’s first trip to the NFL Mega-Mart is now less than four months away, and soon, it will be time to get to work on remodeling the Carolina Panthers, Ron Rivera style. I can’t help but be excited. Yes, it sucked getting our ass kicked by the team that very likely could be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy come February. But you know what –

When Rocky lost to Clubber Lang, he was clearly not the better boxer. Poland had little chance against Hitler’s Panzers with its cavalry. Duke will never, ever, beat Alabama or LSU on the gridiron. (nor would the reverse be true on the hardwood) (damn.)

But at the end of a period of blood, sweat, toil and tears, and a judicious amount of elbow grease, that young mama put on her two-piece, and strolled confidently onto the sands of Oak Island. Her husband is planning to go to Jared for Christmas. The Tri-Lambdas got a great frat house, and deposed the tyrannical Alphas on the Greek Council, and took control of the student life at Adams College. Rocky Balboa inherited a nice Italian restaurant in South Philly. And like the slick new Pantherfanz bus taking form in James’ shed,

I can see the end of the hardship period of the Carolina Panthers. They’ve got work to do. It starts now.

We’ve taken the first steps in getting out of the NFL cellar. We’ve gotten out of the bottom of the NFC South standings. That last place spot is now the domain of the Sucky-Neers. Duckies, you’re next. Saints-

We’re gonna remember this ass-kicking of yesterday. It’s not happening again. Win your SuperBowl XLVI, and have a big French Quarter parade. But next season, you will have 120 minutes, at least, of mouth-bustin’, bone-chattering, bell ringin’ football to play with the Panthers. From here on out…

And I’m not done with this blog. Not by a long shot. There’s still playoff football to experience, and I’m much inspired to chronicle this laborious journey about to be taken by Panther Nation –

Stay tuned.

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