Amid turmoil, Panthers look to ground game


Amid turmoil, Panthers look to ground game

Limping into Sundays contest against the Chicago Bears, the Carolina Panthers will try to establish the run. Carolina finished the 2011 season ranked third in the NFL in rushing, but that production has failed to show up this season as the Panthers rushing attack has slipped to 17th in the league.

Following the firing of general manager Marty Hurney on Monday, many changes are expected throughout the organization. One blogger for the Charlotte Observer, Joseph Person, believes that the Panthers are in the process of recreating their offense based on last weeks personnel packages.

This likely coincides with the Panthers shift from the zone read package to more reliance on a power running game," Person writes. "Based on last weeks game against Dallas- when power-running Jonathan Stewart received the bulk of the work its clear the Panthers are trying to re-create themselves offensively.

While the Panthers have been underwhelming on offense, the team has shown positive signs of things to come defensively. First-round draft pick (ninth overall) Luke Kuechly has exceeded expectations. Originally slated to play outside linebacker, an injury to Jon Beason forced the Panthers to move the former Boston College standout to middle linebacker. The results have been outstanding, as pointed out by Ron Green Jr. of the Observer.

In his two games at middle linebacker, Kuechly has accumulated 34 tackles, 21 of them solo takedowns, wrote Green Jr. Thats reminiscent of the numbers he put up at Boston College, where he became the NCAAs second all-time leading tackler despite leaving after his junior season.

Carolinas defense will have their hands full on the road against the new-look Chicago Bears. In order to succeed, Kuechly and company will need to keep the Bears offense at bay to make up for Chicagos stingy defense that has allowed the fewest points in the NFL through six games.

Honda Road Ahead: Blackhawks look to get back on track to close regular season

Honda Road Ahead: Blackhawks look to get back on track to close regular season

Pat Boyle and Steve Konroyd break down the Blackhawks' upcoming schedule in the latest edition of the Blackhawks Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda dealers.

There are less than two weeks left in the NHL regular season and teams are jockeying for playoff seeding.

The Blackhawks have the best record in the Western Conference with 103 points. The Blackhawks' next two opponents, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Columbus Blue Jackets, also have 103 points. Washington leads the league with 106 points.

Wednesday the Hawks will travel to Pittsburgh. Two days later they host the Blue Jackets.

After that, the Blackhawks take on the Boston Bruins on Sunday. Boston is in line for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

"There's no easy games from here on out." Konroyd said in the video. "Even teams on the outside, looking in are playing for contracts next year."

Watch the video above to see Boyle and Konroyd discuss the upcoming matchups for the Blackhawks.

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks lose to Lightning in OT

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks lose to Lightning in OT

Here are some of Monday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Blackhawks blow three-goal lead, fall in OT at Lightning

How Cubs came to fully believe in the legend of Kyle Schwarber

White Sox agree to trade outfielder Peter Bourjos

Bulls Talk Podcast: March is Nikola Mirotic's month

Raiders-to-Vegas the latest in long line of NFL relocation drama, some of which included the Bears

Why Cubs fandom was inescapable in covering the greatest story in sports

Derek Holland ends spring on strong note as White Sox down Dodgers

Ex-Bear Brandon Marshall an early favorite at NFL owners meetings

Increased velocity has improved Anthony Swarzak's chances of making White Sox bullpen

Cubs will have Ian Happ one phone call away at Triple-A Iowa