Without Gross and Smith, Panthers hope leaders emerge


It’s popular to predict that the Panthers will have a leadership deficiency in 2014 given the retirement of tackle Jordan Gross and the release of receiver Steve Smith.

As explained by Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer, the Panthers hope the void will be filled by quarterback Cam Newton, tight end Greg Olsen, and center Ryan Kalil.

Olsen says he doesn’t plan to do anything differently this year.

Then it’s fake,” Olsen (pictured) said, via Person.  “I think you have to go about how you always prepared, practiced and played.  The way you show everybody how you carry yourself, both here and away from the building.  You should be the same guy, regardless of what people want to say.  That’s just not how I operate.”

Newton has established himself as a leader in recent years, specifically by being present throughout offseason workouts even though he was injured.

“He’s done a great job. He’s been around. He’s active. He’s involved,” G.M. Dave Gettleman said of Newton. “He’s done everything that he’s been asked to do and more. We’re very pleased with him. . . .  [Former Giants G.M.] Ernie Accorsi taught me, the guys that play can lead.  You’ve got to be between the white lines.  Those are the leaders.”

If the Panthers hope to try to match their unexpected achievements of 2013, they’ll need guys who can play and lead — especially without Gross and Smith around.

16 responses to “Without Gross and Smith, Panthers hope leaders emerge

  1. It seems that every one is focused on the missing WRs and OLT (plus a OLG). What about the terrible crew in the Defensive Secondary? All of the starters are journeymen at best. below is the 2014 depth chart. Two journeymen and two undrafted FAs.

    LCB 20 Cason, Antoine U/Arz

    SS 38 Lester, Robert CF13

    FS 21 Decoud, Thomas CC/Atl

    RCB 23 White, Melvin CF13

    Yes, last year, the front 7 on Defense played real good and hid some problems. Any good QB is going to pick them apart.

  2. There’s plenty of leadership, Cam, Greg and Ryan lead by example, Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechly and Charles Johnson will be the support on Defense. You don’t need to have a guy screaming in your face if you do something wrong

  3. Ah think dey gonna miss steve smith a lot dis yea. He brot a lot of leadaship on and off da field. An he help yung cam a lot his first couple of yeas in dis league

  4. The Panthers will only begin to appreciate how much they relied on Steve Smith as a player and as a team leader, now that he’s gone.
    Smith was the Ray Lewis of the Carolina Panthers and he will be missed, but not by defenders. Cam Newton does a modest little Superman impersonation, but that doesn’t make him a great team leader like Steve Smith.

  5. I don’t see any problems with leadership. Actually, I haven’t seen much written on this at all. I do see a woeful lack of depth at the WR position, that is a common truth talked about in many places. Cam Newton will be dynamic with running the ball as usual, but he’s not super-accurate when he throws. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay and New Orleans gotten WAY better in their pass defense over the last two years. Newton will probably be tempted or forced to run more, which often spells disaster a for a QB’s health over 16 games. I expect more turnovers and more time for a stout Panthers D on the field–getting worn out.

  6. Olsen has the right idea. Position players grow into a leadership role as they advance on and off the field. A complete night and day change would be viewed a phony.

    As for Gettleman’s view of Cam, at least there was no “pregnant pause” about whether Cam is the guy to lead the Panthers.

    My only question is whether the front office will ever surround him with the weapons to complement his immense talent? Firing the guys that helped to bring a 12-4 record, may not prove to be the smartest move.

    Existing players like Davis, Kuechly, Cam and Olsen should fill the void vacated by Smith, but we also lost Gross, who was an understated leader.

  7. there are accounts that many of the guys in the locker room really didn’t dig smith’s in your face personality. smitty was the last player left from the early/mid 2000s runs. it was time to let the new leaders in the locker room do their thing.

  8. Real leaders don’t lead by running their mouth. Some people who try, end up causing disruption and ill feelings. Like Olsen, some leaders do so by example. In the long run, they are more effective. Raw emotion works when it is positive to fire someone up toward a goal. Although I am a fan of Steve Smith, I have a problem seeing him as a positive reinforcement individual. He seems more like an “in your face, quit screwing up” kinda guy.
    As for the secondary, people were saying the same negative things about last year’s secondary.

  9. Media please let this Smith issue die. The team won’t miss his so called style of leadership. His leadership made no impact the year we went 2-14. Steve Smith was not perfect on the field either. Remember the game against the Texans when he kicked the lineman in the head? That penalty cost us the game. If Frank Alexander got into Steve’s face like Steve did him Steve would have fought him then and there on camera. Cam’s the man, Cam’s the leader and we will be a better team because of this. Thank you David Gettleman

  10. Paulnoga:

    Lester won’t start, Roman Harper will…journeymen? That’s weird, just Cason is on this third team, Harper AND Thomas DeCoud are on their second team in their career…any other player in the secondary was drafted or an u drafted free agent signing from Carolina…basically what I’m saying is, I know you want to say their terrible but the truth is they really aren’t that bad, DeCoud was a 2012 pro bowler, remember that? Harper has been a vital cog on a Super Bowl winning saints team. Also if you look at last year we had Mike Mitchell (an outcast no one wanted) and Quinton Mikell (also who no one else wanted) if you wanna bring a negative opinion about the defense in the secondary at least get your facts straight.

  11. bucsorbust says:
    Jul 6, 2014 6:15 AM

    Meanwhile, Tampa Bay and New Orleans gotten WAY better in their pass defense over the last two years.
    Do what?

    They both did improve, and then got worse this offseason. For all his bloviating, Revis is a Pro Bowl DB. And he’s in New England. New Orleans signed a long-over-the-hill Champ Bailey. Kelvin Benjamin is going to squash him like a bug and Marvin McNutt is going to get 40 yards behind him. The Saints are going to have to score 40 points every week to win, and Tampa has no one to throw to their 2 stud receivers. Atlanta is a hot mess on both sides of the line.


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