Sep 22, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; Detailed view of Carolina Panthers helmets against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers offer Scott Fitterer their GM job

After interviewing 15 candidates, the Carolina Panthers have offered Seattle Seahawks VP of football operations Scott Fitterer their vacant general manager position.

Fitterer would replace Marty Hurney, who was dismissed as GM on Dec. 21.

Fitterer would be leaving Seattle, where he has worked since 2001, including assisting Seahawks GM John Schneider since 2010. He started with the Seahawks as an area scout, was then the regional director of college scouting and then moved into player personnel, including time as Seattle’s co-director of player personnel before getting promoted to VP.

In Fitterer’s time in Seattle, the Seahawks have gone to the Super Bowl three times, including a win in Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014.

The Panthers have finished 5-11 the past two seasons, had a losing record three straight years, and go into the 2021 NFL Draft with the eighth pick overall.

–Field Level Media

Sep 22, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; Carolina Panthers running backs coach Jake Peetz against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

LSU names Jake Peetz offensive coordinator

LSU hired Carolina Panthers quarterbacks coach Jake Peetz as its new offensive coordinator Wednesday.

Peetz, 37, replaces Steve Ensminger on head coach Ed Orgeron’s staff.

Ensminger, 62, had been a Tigers assistant since 2010 and spent the past three seasons as offensive coordinator before announcing his retirement in December.

Peetz worked with former LSU passing game coordinator Joe Brady, now Carolina’s offensive coordinator, in 2020. Peetz was the Panthers’ running backs coach in 2019 before working with the QBs this season.

Before Joining the Panthers, Peetz was an offensive analyst at Alabama in 2018 and coached in various roles with the then-Oakland Raiders from 2015-17. He also spent time in the NFL with Washington and Jacksonville, and as an assistant coach at UCLA.

LSU also hired Panthers assistant DJ Mangas as the new passing game coordinator, relacing Scott Linehan. Mangas previously was an offensive analyst with the Tigers in 2019.

“Both Jake and DJ come highly recommended from one of the premier and innovative offensive coaches in the game in Joe Brady,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said in a news release. “Jake brings 10 years of NFL experience with him to our staff. He spent a season coaching alongside and learning from Joe (Brady) so we couldn’t be more excited about Jake joining our staff. His knowledge of football combined with the players we have on our roster, will make for a dynamic offense for LSU in 2021.

“We are very happy to bring DJ back to LSU. He did a tremendous job in his one season with us in 2019 working alongside Joe (Brady) to produce one of the most explosive and productive offenses in college football history.”

Peetz and Mangas were in Baton Rouge for interviews on Tuesday.

–Field Level Media

Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) gestures in the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Saints go for historic NFC South sweep vs. Panthers

The New Orleans Saints still have things to accomplish in the final game of the regular season on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

The Saints are on the verge of dominating the NFC South in an unprecedented fashion when they visit Charlotte, N.C.

That’s just part of the objective.

“I just want to be playing our best football,” New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees said. “I want to be as sharp as we possibly can, understanding that obviously we’re still missing a few guys that hopefully we’ll have when we get to the playoffs.”

The Saints (11-4) can clinch the overall No. 1 seed in the NFC and a subsequent first-weekend bye in the playoffs if they win at Carolina (5-10) along with a Seattle (11-4) victory at San Francisco (6-9) and a loss by Green Bay (12-3) at Chicago (8-7).

“We just have to keep playing our game,” Saints offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk said. “… The stakes are high right now.”

Already, New Orleans has secured its fourth straight NFC South title. A victory against the Panthers would mean the Saints complete a six-game sweep of the other NFC South teams, which is something no team in the division has ever accomplished.

“You understand how hard it is to win the division,” Brees said. “Week-in and week-out, there are so many battles. … That would be a great accomplishment. At the end of the day, it’s just getting another win, which just better positions ourselves for the playoffs.”

Carolina won for just the second time in a 10-game span with last weekend’s conquering of Washington. Yet the Panthers are accustomed to taking on first-place teams as this will mark their fifth game in a nine-game stretch against a divisional leader.

With a first-year staff under new coach Matt Rhule, the Panthers are trying to set a foundation that will be beneficial in the future.

“For us to have this new staff, new players, it’s about building each and every week,” Carolina safety Tre Boston said. “I told y’all a few weeks back: When that wall on the house is just one wall, everybody is going to say stuff about it, but as we build this house and make it a home, we’re going to be one to reckon with.”

The Panthers, who posted a November shutout of the Detroit Lions, held Washington without a touchdown until the last two minutes.

“A lot of points this season, we were really searching to find our identity and find out what we do and what we have — and that’s what we’re doing,” Carolina cornerback Donte Jackson said. “We were in a search trying to find our identity, but we found it.”

The Saints aim to build on their reputation and be in position for a long playoff run.

“Understand exactly what wins football games and let’s make sure we’re doing all those things,” said Brees, who pointed out it’s important for the offense to retain timing and rhythm.

Saints running back Alvin Kamara’s NFL record-matching six-touchdown performance against the Minnesota Vikings on Christmas night showed what the team is capable of doing with its talent-laden offense.

“Over time,” Brees said, “it wears defenses down.”

Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has another opportunity to face New Orleans. Last year with the Saints, he filled in for an injured Brees during a midseason stretch.

This is the final chance for Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn to make a case for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

“It has been my goal to finish the season strong,” said Chinn, who has 110 tackles, five passes defensed, two fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and a sack to go along with scoring two touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey won’t play in the finale. He appeared in just three games this season. Running back Mike Davis (ankle) and receiver Robby Anderson (groin) also sat out Wednesday’s practice.

The Saints defeated the Panthers 27-24 on Oct. 25, with the outcome not decided until a late-game field-goal attempt from 65 yards out was just short for Carolina’s Joey Slye.

New Orleans has defeated the Panthers in the last three meetings and in seven of the teams’ past eight games.

Attendance will be limited to 1,500, with only family and friends of team members permitted entry, because of increased concerns in the Charlotte area regarding the coronavirus pandemic. This is a change from most of the season, when more than 5,000 fans were allowed to purchase tickets for Carolina home games.

–Field Level Media

Nov 22, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera looks on against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

High stakes ‘Rivera Bowl’ pits Washington vs. Carolina

Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera has not been interested in discussing his personal ties to this week’s opponent.

He has bigger things to worry about, like a team that has something large at stake.

Washington has a chance to clinch the NFC East title Sunday, requiring the club to take care of business against the Carolina Panthers in a home game at Landover, Md.

Rivera spent almost nine full seasons, including one Super Bowl appearance, as coach of the Panthers until his firing during the 2019 season.

This week, he clarified the theme to this weekend’s game: “Winning and getting into the playoffs,” he said, “and not on Rivera getting revenge.”

Washington (6-8) must win and have the New York Giants lose at Baltimore in order to secure the division title. Otherwise, it will have another chance in the regular-season finale, when Washington visits Philadelphia.

“The consequences of this game is about this team, this organization, trying to be relevant and trying to take a step forward,” Rivera said. “I want to see us focus on the reasons why we want to win the game as opposed to a personal reason.”

Rivera’s impact is evident on both teams. His cancer battle this year was monitored closely in the locker room of the Panthers, who still abide by many of the coach’s philosophies.

“A lot of it still resonates,” cornerback Donte Jackson said. “His mantra is still something I hold myself to.”

Jackson says Rivera and first-year Panthers coach Matt Rhule have similar traits.

“They’re both real tough guys,” Jackson said. “They like to be around real tough guys.”

Carolina (4-10) has sputtered the past two months after an encouraging stretch early in the season. On Monday, Carolina general manager Marty Hurney was fired.

Washington is dealing with an off-field issue involving quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who apologized after pictures were revealed of him without a mask while at a gathering where strippers reportedly were present. NFL Network reported Haskins was fined $40,000 and his status as team captain was removed.

Quarterback Alex Smith, who has played during most of the team’s resurgence this season, could be ready to return from a calf injury after missing last week’s game. But Haskins took most of Wednesday’s practice repetitions.

Washington could receive a boost if running back Antonio Gibson (659 yards, 11 TDs) is ready to return after missing the last two games with a toe injury. He had touchdowns in his last five consecutive full games before going down.

Washington’s injuries might be more pronounced on defense, with veteran linebacker Mychal Kendricks signed off Seattle’s practice squad this week. Starting linebackers Kevin Pierre-Louis (ankle) and Cole Holcomb (concussion) missed last week’s loss to the Seahawks before fill-in starter Shaun Dion Hamilton (elbow) ending up on injured reserve this week.

Carolina is 1-12 in its last 13 games in December. This year, narrow defeats have been troublesome with losses in eight of its last nine games.

“I just look forward to when those close losses become wins,” Rhule said. “You have to get better and better and better. It just takes time. There’s no shortcut to it.”

While the Panthers have had late-game woes, Washington aims for better beginnings.

“Too many times we’re playing catch-up football,” receiver Terry McLaurin said.

Panthers offensive lineman Dennis Daley was activated from reserve/injured list.

Each team has a top rookie on defense. End Chase Young is Washington’s first rookie Pro Bowl selection since 2012. Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn has shown knack for big plays.

–Field Level Media

Nov 22, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera looks on against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

High stakes ‘Rivera Bowl’ pits Washington vs. Carolina

Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera has not been interested in discussing his personal ties to this week’s opponent.

He has bigger things to worry about, like a team that has something large at stake.

Washington has a chance to clinch the NFC East title Sunday, requiring the club to take care of business against the Carolina Panthers in a home game at Landover, Md.

Rivera spent almost nine full seasons, including one Super Bowl appearance, as coach of the Panthers until his firing during the 2019 season.

This week, he clarified the theme to this weekend’s game: “Winning and getting into the playoffs,” he said, “and not on Rivera getting revenge.”

Washington (6-8) must win and have the New York Giants lose at Baltimore in order to secure the division title. Otherwise, it will have another chance in the regular-season finale, when Washington visits Philadelphia.

“The consequences of this game is about this team, this organization, trying to be relevant and trying to take a step forward,” Rivera said. “I want to see us focus on the reasons why we want to win the game as opposed to a personal reason.”

Rivera’s impact is evident on both teams. His cancer battle this year was monitored closely in the locker room of the Panthers, who still abide by many of the coach’s philosophies.

“A lot of it still resonates,” cornerback Donte Jackson said. “His mantra is still something I hold myself to.”

Jackson says Rivera and first-year Panthers coach Matt Rhule have similar traits.

“They’re both real tough guys,” Jackson said. “They like to be around real tough guys.”

Carolina (4-10) has sputtered the past two months after an encouraging stretch early in the season. On Monday, Carolina general manager Marty Hurney was fired.

Washington is dealing with an off-field issue involving quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who apologized after pictures were revealed of him without a mask while at a gathering where strippers reportedly were present. NFL Network reported Haskins was fined $40,000 and his status as team captain was removed.

Quarterback Alex Smith, who has played during most of the team’s resurgence this season, could be ready to return from a calf injury after missing last week’s game. But Haskins took most of Wednesday’s practice repetitions.

Washington could receive a boost if running back Antonio Gibson (659 yards, 11 TDs) is ready to return after missing the last two games with a toe injury. He had touchdowns in his last five consecutive full games before going down.

Washington’s injuries might be more pronounced on defense, with veteran linebacker Mychal Kendricks signed off Seattle’s practice squad this week. Starting linebackers Kevin Pierre-Louis (ankle) and Cole Holcomb (concussion) missed last week’s loss to the Seahawks before fill-in starter Shaun Dion Hamilton (elbow) ending up on injured reserve this week.

Carolina is 1-12 in its last 13 games in December. This year, narrow defeats have been troublesome with losses in eight of its last nine games.

“I just look forward to when those close losses become wins,” Rhule said. “You have to get better and better and better. It just takes time. There’s no shortcut to it.”

While the Panthers have had late-game woes, Washington aims for better beginnings.

“Too many times we’re playing catch-up football,” receiver Terry McLaurin said.

Panthers offensive lineman Dennis Daley was activated from reserve/injured list.

Each team has a top rookie on defense. End Chase Young is Washington’s first rookie Pro Bowl selection since 2012. Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn has shown knack for big plays.

–Field Level Media

Nov 22, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera looks on against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

High stakes ‘Rivera Bowl’ pits Washington vs. Carolina

Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera has not been interested in discussing his personal ties to this week’s opponent.

He has bigger things to worry about, like a team that has something large at stake.

Washington has a chance to clinch the NFC East title Sunday, requiring the club to take care of business against the Carolina Panthers in a home game at Landover, Md.

Rivera spent almost nine full seasons, including one Super Bowl appearance, as coach of the Panthers until his firing during the 2019 season.

This week, he clarified the theme to this weekend’s game: “Winning and getting into the playoffs,” he said, “and not on Rivera getting revenge.”

Washington (6-8) must win and have the New York Giants lose at Baltimore in order to secure the division title. Otherwise, it will have another chance in the regular-season finale, when Washington visits Philadelphia.

“The consequences of this game is about this team, this organization, trying to be relevant and trying to take a step forward,” Rivera said. “I want to see us focus on the reasons why we want to win the game as opposed to a personal reason.”

Rivera’s impact is evident on both teams. His cancer battle this year was monitored closely in the locker room of the Panthers, who still abide by many of the coach’s philosophies.

“A lot of it still resonates,” cornerback Donte Jackson said. “His mantra is still something I hold myself to.”

Jackson says Rivera and first-year Panthers coach Matt Rhule have similar traits.

“They’re both real tough guys,” Jackson said. “They like to be around real tough guys.”

Carolina (4-10) has sputtered the past two months after an encouraging stretch early in the season. On Monday, Carolina general manager Marty Hurney was fired.

Washington is dealing with an off-field issue involving quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who apologized after pictures were revealed of him without a mask while at a gathering where strippers reportedly were present. NFL Network reported Haskins was fined $40,000 and his status as team captain was removed.

Quarterback Alex Smith, who has played during most of the team’s resurgence this season, could be ready to return from a calf injury after missing last week’s game. But Haskins took most of Wednesday’s practice repetitions.

Washington could receive a boost if running back Antonio Gibson (659 yards, 11 TDs) is ready to return after missing the last two games with a toe injury. He had touchdowns in his last five consecutive full games before going down.

Washington’s injuries might be more pronounced on defense, with veteran linebacker Mychal Kendricks signed off Seattle’s practice squad this week. Starting linebackers Kevin Pierre-Louis (ankle) and Cole Holcomb (concussion) missed last week’s loss to the Seahawks before fill-in starter Shaun Dion Hamilton (elbow) ending up on injured reserve this week.

Carolina is 1-12 in its last 13 games in December. This year, narrow defeats have been troublesome with losses in eight of its last nine games.

“I just look forward to when those close losses become wins,” Rhule said. “You have to get better and better and better. It just takes time. There’s no shortcut to it.”

While the Panthers have had late-game woes, Washington aims for better beginnings.

“Too many times we’re playing catch-up football,” receiver Terry McLaurin said.

Panthers offensive lineman Dennis Daley was activated from reserve/injured list.

Each team has a top rookie on defense. End Chase Young is Washington’s first rookie Pro Bowl selection since 2012. Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn has shown knack for big plays.

–Field Level Media

Nov 22, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera looks on against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

High stakes ‘Rivera Bowl’ pits Washington vs. Carolina

Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera has not been interested in discussing his personal ties to this week’s opponent.

He has bigger things to worry about, like a team that has something large at stake.

Washington has a chance to clinch the NFC East title Sunday, requiring the club to take care of business against the Carolina Panthers in a home game at Landover, Md.

Rivera spent almost nine full seasons, including one Super Bowl appearance, as coach of the Panthers until his firing during the 2019 season.

This week, he clarified the theme to this weekend’s game: “Winning and getting into the playoffs,” he said, “and not on Rivera getting revenge.”

Washington (6-8) must win and have the New York Giants lose at Baltimore in order to secure the division title. Otherwise, it will have another chance in the regular-season finale, when Washington visits Philadelphia.

“The consequences of this game is about this team, this organization, trying to be relevant and trying to take a step forward,” Rivera said. “I want to see us focus on the reasons why we want to win the game as opposed to a personal reason.”

Rivera’s impact is evident on both teams. His cancer battle this year was monitored closely in the locker room of the Panthers, who still abide by many of the coach’s philosophies.

“A lot of it still resonates,” cornerback Donte Jackson said. “His mantra is still something I hold myself to.”

Jackson says Rivera and first-year Panthers coach Matt Rhule have similar traits.

“They’re both real tough guys,” Jackson said. “They like to be around real tough guys.”

Carolina (4-10) has sputtered the past two months after an encouraging stretch early in the season. On Monday, Carolina general manager Marty Hurney was fired.

Washington is dealing with an off-field issue involving quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who apologized after pictures were revealed of him without a mask while at a gathering where strippers reportedly were present. NFL Network reported Haskins was fined $40,000 and his status as team captain was removed.

Quarterback Alex Smith, who has played during most of the team’s resurgence this season, could be ready to return from a calf injury after missing last week’s game. But Haskins took most of Wednesday’s practice repetitions.

Washington could receive a boost if running back Antonio Gibson (659 yards, 11 TDs) is ready to return after missing the last two games with a toe injury. He had touchdowns in his last five consecutive full games before going down.

Washington’s injuries might be more pronounced on defense, with veteran linebacker Mychal Kendricks signed off Seattle’s practice squad this week. Starting linebackers Kevin Pierre-Louis (ankle) and Cole Holcomb (concussion) missed last week’s loss to the Seahawks before fill-in starter Shaun Dion Hamilton (elbow) ending up on injured reserve this week.

Carolina is 1-12 in its last 13 games in December. This year, narrow defeats have been troublesome with losses in eight of its last nine games.

“I just look forward to when those close losses become wins,” Rhule said. “You have to get better and better and better. It just takes time. There’s no shortcut to it.”

While the Panthers have had late-game woes, Washington aims for better beginnings.

“Too many times we’re playing catch-up football,” receiver Terry McLaurin said.

Panthers offensive lineman Dennis Daley was activated from reserve/injured list.

Each team has a top rookie on defense. End Chase Young is Washington’s first rookie Pro Bowl selection since 2012. Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn has shown knack for big plays.

–Field Level Media

Dec 19, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA;  Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) carries the ball against Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Woodrow Hamilton (78) in the first quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Packers topple Panthers for 4th straight win

Aaron Rodgers threw for one touchdown and ran for another, Aaron Jones rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown and the Green Bay Packers held on for a 24-16 win over the visiting Carolina Panthers on Saturday night.

Rodgers completed 20 of 29 passes for 143 yards for Green Bay (11-3), which won its fourth game in a row. The Packers already had clinched the NFC North Division title and are competing for the top seed in the conference playoffs.

Teddy Bridgewater completed 21 of 35 passes for 258 yards and had a rushing touchdown for Carolina (4-10). D.J. Moore led the team with six catches for 131 yards, while Mike Davis paced the ground game with 14 carries for 59 yards.

Davante Adams’ eight-game touchdown streak came to an end for the Packers. He finished tied for third in NFL history behind Jerry Rice (12 games, 1987) and A.J. Green (nine games, 2012).

Green Bay opened the scoring on its first possession. Rodgers connected with Robert Tonyan for a 1-yard touchdown, which capped off a seven-play, 81-yard drive that took only 3:43 off the clock.

The play marked Tonyan’s 10th touchdown of the season and his fifth game in a row with a score. It has been a breakout season for the tight end, who made his debut for Green Bay in 2018 as a little-known, undrafted free agent from Indiana State.

Carolina pulled within 7-3 on a 36-yard field goal by Joey Slye with 5:57 left in the first quarter.

The Packers added two more touchdowns in the second quarter to grab a 21-3 lead at the half. Rodgers scored on a 6-yard run with 14:15 remaining in the second quarter, and Jones reached the end zone on an 8-yard run with 3:58 to go.

The Panthers cut the deficit to 21-10 with 5:15 left in the third quarter. Bridgewater kept the ball and sprinted up the middle for 13 yards and his career-best fifth rushing touchdown of the season.

Carolina made it a one-score game at 21-13 when Slye made a 22-yard field goal with 8:39 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Mason Crosby pushed Green Bay’s lead to 24-13 with a 51-yard field goal with 3:39 to go.

Slye capped the scoring with a 33-yard field goal with 2:04 left.

–Field Level Media