Opening the mail: Carolina edition
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Time for the Carolina version of the mailbag. If you have more questions on the Panthers or the other NFC South teams, please send them along.
Travis in Phoenix writes: I was looking at some stats and it looks like DeAngelo Williams has really started running a lot better. I've watched all the games but never noticed how much his stats have gone up. in his last 5 games he has averaged 92.8 yds per game. If he keeps that 92.8 up then he will rush for over 1300 yards this season. even if he jus stays as he is now a lil over 70 per game then he will get over 1000 and be the first 1000 yard rusher of any rb panthers have drafted.
Pat Yasinskas: Yes, DeAngelo Williams really has come into his own this season. I saw some flashes in his first two years, but he didn't get a chance to shine because DeShaun Foster was the feature back. Williams is getting his chance now and making the most of it. I also think offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson deserves some credit for putting Williams in situations where he can make the most out of his talents.
Eric in Nashville writes: Hey Pat hows it going? Don't you think that the Panthers should talk to the officials about all the holds on Peppers? If you look at the game he gets held a ton. Even in that Oakland game when he forced the fumble you can clearly see his jersey getting pulled on from behind. How can they not call that? I know they don't catch everything but when it is that blatant it should be called. Think about it...if they bring it to the refs attention and a couple of holds are called then Pepppers would probably get more sacks. I wish Pep would say something to the official himself sometimes too. He just seems to quiet to do something like that though.
Pat Yasinskas: Agree with you on that. I've seen Julius Peppers get held a lot throughout his career. I've also seen him, at times, become very vocal to the officials about it. That's obviously out of character for Peppers, so this must really strike a nerve with him. I know the Carolina coaches also have been pretty vocal to the officials about this issue through the years. But all that doesn't seem to prevent it.
Travis in Chandler writes: I was looking at the schedule and I know this is a while away, but if the panthers and giants are fighting for home field for playoffs when they meet which seems very possible, could the game be changed from sunday morning to sunday night. The panthers dont have a sunday night game and it would seem appropriate to have that on sunday night if the stakes are so high.
Pat Yasinskas: I think this could be a possibility. Just looked it up and this game would qualify. Here's a link to an explanation of the NFL's rules on flexible scheduling.
Windsor writes: Heya Pat, this is in regards to your reply on the Panthers off season decisions. Would it not be smart to try and sign Peppers before Gross or Gamble? Peppers was an absolute BEAST against the raiders with constant pressure the entire game, without him playing in that game I see the outcome coming out different.
Pat Yasinskas: That's a decision for general manager Marty Hurney. But there's no doubt Peppers helped his negotiating position against the Raiders. With each sack, the price tag goes up. I think keeping him has to be Carolina's first priority, but we'll have to wait and see how it plays out.
Louis in Boston writes: Regarding the power rankings, how did everyone have Carolina ranked third or fifth overall? I realize they are 7-2, but the game they played in Oakland Sunday was a loss for everyone who watched it. It would have been a loss against 30 other teams in the league as well.
Pat Yasinskas: Point taken and the Panthers did look horrible against the Raiders. Just about every team has a "flat'' game or two. But the Panthers did win and the rankings are based on their overall performance, not just their most recent game.