Panthers mailbag: Does Carolina have edge with new PAT rule?


CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers begin organized team activities (OTAs) Tuesday, so this will be the first look at how the coaching staff will utilize offseason roster additions.

That will create another set of questions.

Meanwhile, you have some now. Let’s get to them.

@DNewtonESPN: You're right in that Graham Gano is very accurate inside the 40. He is 5-for-5 in his career on kicks of 32 to 33 yards, the distance of the new PAT with the snap moved from the 2-yard line to the 15. He is 19 of 21 from the 30 to 39 the past three seasons. But as Gano said earlier in the week, you're supposed to make kicks inside the 40. Your mention of quarterback Cam Newton is more intriguing. With his ability to run and pass that increases the odds of being successful on two-point conversions. He's almost automatic on third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 situations when he launches his 6-foot-5 frame over the middle. But what shouldn't be overlooked is Newton now has a small college basketball team to throw to in 6-5 Kelvin Benjamin, 6-4 Devin Funchess and 6-5 Greg Olsen. The lob that close to the goal line could be effective. Not that I expect "Riverboat" Ron Rivera to go for two-point conversions a lot more, but he has the weapons to be successful if he does.

@DNewtonESPN: I really don't see Ron Rivera going for two more with the new rule than he did before. As I mentioned above, Gano is almost automatic from the new PAT distance. The change will be in the added pressure teams put on PATs with the opportunity to return blocks for two points.

@DNewtonESPN: The public relations you mention has more to do with added interest in Davis after he won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award than Carolina doing more PR. It's good to see Davis get the attention. It's long overdue for a player who should have made the Pro Bowl at least one of the last two years. As for the extension, talks are ongoing. I don't foresee any issues getting it done and I would be shocked beyond belief if it didn't happen before training camp. As for the length, I'd say two to three years. Davis is 32. Despite his belief that time away from football to recover from three ACL surgeries on his right knee extended his career, Father Time eventually catches up with all players. It usually happens quickly. Former Carolina linebacker Sam Mills, a player I compare Davis to often when it comes to standing for everything the organization wants in a player, went from a 37-year-old Pro Bowl selection in 1996 to retired by 1998. He was a shell of himself in 1997. But he was very good at 37, so Davis has a number to aim for.

@DNewtonESPN: Are you serious? The undrafted rookie out of South Carolina will struggle to make the roster. His elite speed (4.28 in the 40 on pro day) gives him a chance, but he's still a long shot. Right now, he'd be no higher than eighth or ninth among the receivers, and that might be generous.