Carolina Panthers Cam Newton says that the Panthers need Bank of America Stadium and the team to have a pulse when playing. A lack of emotion for the team leads to bad things. On Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 the Panthers defeated divisional rival Atlanta 20-17. Jeff Siner jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
Carolina Panthers Cam Newton says that the Panthers need Bank of America Stadium and the team to have a pulse when playing. A lack of emotion for the team leads to bad things. On Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 the Panthers defeated divisional rival Atlanta 20-17. Jeff Siner jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Carolina Panthers

Are the Panthers the ‘Titanic’ – or is their defense the iceberg?

November 10, 2017 07:00 AM

UPDATED November 11, 2017 04:01 PM

As a writer, one thing I appreciate from Cam Newton is the way he stretches for a good analogy in much the same way as he stretched for the goal line last week against Atlanta.

Newton is naturally funny, and in press conferences he rarely subscribes to the “Let Me Be Boring On Purpose And Get The Heck Out Of Here” theory perfected for nine years by John Fox when he was Carolina’s head coach.

When you stretch for analogies, of course, you are sometimes going to miss a few. So Newton has given us the occasional gem like “Hindsight is always 50-50.”

But he also is often insightful, as he was when Newton said after his scary truck crash in 2014: “I just can’t stop smiling because God has his hands on me. I’m on somebody’s fantasy league (team). And I think it’s the man upstairs.”

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All that is to say that Newton really came up with a beauty after the Atlanta win last Sunday when he said of the Panthers’ trade of Kelvin Benjamin: “Yeah, we just lost a great player. But nevertheless, the Titanic still has to go.”

So that makes the Panthers the Titanic, right? As in the shipwrecked Titanic? Although their defense has been more of an iceberg this season, that’s not what Newton was going for in that quote. Newton has not addressed the topic since, but you can rest assured some of his teammates have teased him about it.

“We gave Cam a hard time for saying that,” Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis said. Davis added that Newton tried to explain to his teammates that he wasn’t thinking of what actually happened to the Titanic but that he was simply thinking of the name of any ship and that one came out.

Safety Kurt Coleman tried to offer a tongue-in-cheek explanation for Newton’s Titanic analogy this week, saying: “There were some lifeboats on it that did stay afloat – so it depends on how you look at it.”

▪  Miami coach Adam Gase has an appreciation for Julius Peppers at age 37. Peppers enters Monday night’s game leading Carolina in sacks with 7.5. Said Gase: “When I watch Peppers play, it’s unbelievable…. There have been some unbelievable plays this season where he flashes like he’s 25 years old again.”

▪  Count Panthers coach Ron Rivera as someone who – while he appreciates the fervor surrounding prime-time games like this one on Monday night – would just as soon never play in one. Rivera’s perfect schedule would be 16 games a season, all starting Sunday at 1 p.m.

“I’m a ‘routine’ guy,” Rivera said. “I hate getting out of the routine.”

▪  Prediction time: I botched last week’s game, which dropped me to 5-4 on the season. I am painfully aware this is a record I could have managed by flipping a coin. On the plus side, I am tracking pretty well on my preseason prediction that the Panthers (6-3) would finish the regular season 10-6.

In any event, I think Carolina’s defense will be too much for a Miami offense that has already been shut out twice this season. My Monday night pick: Panthers 20, Dolphins 12.

Fowler: 704-358-5140; Twitter: @scott_fowler

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David T. Foster III dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com