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Cris Carter Kawann Short Jersey , co-host of Fox’s First Things First, knows a thing or two about playing wide receiver in the NFL. When he studies new receivers, he is looking for the right comparison to make for fans. He doesn’t think that D.J. Moore looks like a young Steve Smith. Asked who Moore reminded him of, Carter said that he looks “like Steve Smith in the middle of his career.”Carter has been impressed by Moore’s strength and physicality as a rookie. Everybody talks about his ability to run with the ball and get yards after the catch, but Carter thinks we don’t talk enough about how good he is with “his releases. You can’t get open if you can’t get off the line, and D.J. Moore does that.”The biggest thing needed for Moore’s development, in Carter’s opinion, is to get more reps. He thinks Moore will be the number one receiver in Carolina in time. First, he’d like to see “him be able to take over a game, like to see him score some long touchdowns.”This is all coming from a man who made the Hall of Fame after a 15 year career as a wide receiver. It’s worth listening when he says that “Cam Newton and D.J. Moore are going to be one of the special combinations in this league.” It’s also worth listening when he says that he isn’t worried about Newton’s shoulder. He puts Cam’s limited practices down to guys trying to manage their health over the course of a long season. “The closer you get to Santa Claus in the NFL the farther you get from 100%.”The biggest downside to Newton not throwing as much in practice is for Moore’s development in this offense. It isn’t all about Cam’s health Vernon Butler Color Rush Jersey , the rookie wide receiver needs to learn this offense and work timing with his quarterback. As Carter said, “Cam Newton might not need those reps, but D.J. Moore needs those reps.”Overall, Carter has been impressed by the job Norv Turner has done “blending his identity with Cam Newton’s.” Referring to Cam’s record numbers this season, he thinks it is special for a coach to have “this kind of an effect on a transcendent talent in the middle of his career.”While Moore may not be getting as many reps as possible with Newton, Carter isn’t worried about the direction of the Panthers offense. He’s excited to watch them this weekend. Carter joins Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth and Jennifer Hale for the Carolina Panthers-Cleveland Browns matchup Sunday at 1:00 PM ET on FOX. The Panthers are going to end their season with three straight divisional contests. In a different year this might have been a high stakes finish to the season with risk and reward available at the end of each game in equal measure. Instead, the Panthers are hanging on by the skin of teeth to playoff chances that only the most optimistic of fans are still talking about. Five straight losses is one thing, but to have two of their last three games against the juggernaut that is the 2018 New Orleans Saints will likely be too much for these Panthers.It’s always telling when a fan base thinks they might be able to sneak away with a win in a series if the opposing team rests their starters for one of the games. That’s where the Panthers are as a fanbase. Still, every game is a chance to right the ship and the Panthers have shown nothing if not flashes of talent. To that end Cam Newton Color Rush Jersey , I spoke with Chris Dunnells of Canal Street Chronicles about this year’sSaints and how the Panthers might match up against them.Cat Scratch Reader: The Saints lost to the Cowboys in a surprisingly low-scoring game and then let the Bucs carry a lead into the fourth quarter. Are they starting to stumble towards the end of the season or were those just two weird games?Canal Street Chronicles: It was a combination of things, but the biggest culprit was that Drew Brees was just “off” for the majority of that Dallas game. He wasn’t able to get back to his usual form until the second half of the Tampa game. The Saints then quickly scored 25 unanswered points in the second half of that game, showing again that they can turn it on on offense.But I would say there were two other contributing factors as well: for one, Terron Armstead missed both games due to an injury. It’s not a coincidence that in the two games where Armstead missed, the Saints run game and pass protection struggled. And second, the Saints wide receiver corps outside of Michael Thomas struggled to get open in those two weeks. The receivers not named “Michael Thomas” are all young, so ups and downs are to be expected. Those two games were “downs.” Hopefully more “ups” are on the way.CSR: The Saints offense gets all the press but the defense has come a long way in recent years from being one of the worst in the league. What’s the story behind their newfound competence?CSC: The Saints had a recent history of missing on early draft picks and expensive free agents. That trend has changed since the 2016 offseason. In 2016, the Saints were able to draft Sheldon Rankins (who has been a world-beater at DT this year), David Onyemata (a key role player in the middle of the Saints defensive line), and Vonn Bell (a young Safety taking more and more reps away from former Panther Kurt Coleman). The 2017 NFL Draft yielded reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Marshon Lattimore Michael Palardy Jersey , standout Safety Marcus Williams, and the ever-improving LB Alex Anzalone. The 2017 offseason also brought in role players on defense like LB Manti Te’o and another former Panther in AJ Klein. But really it was the 2018 offseason that put the Saints over the age. The Saints traded up to draft Marcus Davenport to rush the passer opposite Cameron Jordan, and they signed LB Demario Davis, formerly of the New York Jets, who is having a Pro Bowl-caliber season. Along with the trade for Eli Apple from the Giants midseason, there has been a huge personnel overhaul on the defensive side of the ball in New Orleans the last three years.CSR: The Saints have struggled to find a true second receiver to pair with Michael Thomas this year. Is that because of a glut of middling talent on the depth chart or because Alvin Kamara demands that much attention in their offense?CSC: For one, Ted Ginn Jr (wow, we sure do have a lot of former Panthers, don’t we?) has been missed on IR. His emergence last year helped the Saints feel comfortable letting Willie Snead go to Baltimore in free agency. If or when Ginn is able to return to the active roster, I expect that to help the entire Saints receiving corps https://www.carolinapanthersfanshop.com/Sam-Mills-Jersey , including Michael Thomas. The Saints lack a legitimate deep threat that opposing defenses have to respect. That allows defenses to key in on the short and intermediate routes and stick tight to the Saints receivers. For someone with the ball skills of Michael Thomas, this isn’t too much of an issue. But when the rest of the receivers are mostly a group of UDFAs, they can have trouble getting separation.CSR: When is Drew Brees going to retire?CSC: That’s the rub, isn’t it? I’ve gone on record saying that if Drew is able to win a second Super Bowl this year, I think he calls it a career this year. At the same time, if the Saints fall just short (like they did last year), but he believes that second Super Bowl to be within sight, he might stick around just a little longer. Betting money says Brees calls it quits by the end of the 2019 season, but there’s a non-zero chance 2018 is his last run. CSR: The Saints offense has scored 40 points or more six times this season. The best offense the Panthers have faced this year hung 52 points on them. What is your prediction for the score on Sunday?CSC: Well, that 52-point affair came when the Steelers were playing at home. Talk to me again in three weeks and we’ll see what number I throw out there. But this week https://www.carolinapanthersfanshop.com/Christian-Mccaffrey-Jersey , playing in Carolina, outdoors, likely in the cold, I’d be utterly shocked if the Saints hung a 50 burger (or even scored 40+). Instead, I’d look for the Saints to still have a solid bounce-back performance on offense from the previous two weeks, scoring 35ish points, covering the spread, holding the Panthers to under 20
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