M ost of the attention surrounding the Panthers’ offseason changes has focused on receivers. Who’s gone, who’s new, who’s Cam Newton going to throw to? So the Ed Dickson acquisition has pretty much flown under the radar.
After two straight disappointing seasons in Baltimore, the tight end wasn’t a hot commodity on the free agent market. But he’s flashed a good amount of potential since coming into the league in 2010, making him a potential bargain for thrifty general manager Dave Gettleman. And for Dickson, the one-year contract represents a chance to revitalize his career.
This past weekend, the former Oregon star joined several of his former Ducks teammates to raise money for a Eugene-area Boys & Girls Club. In a Q&A with Andrew Greif from The Oregonian, Dickson admitted he came to Carolina for “a fresh start,” but he was also intrigued by the quarterback.
“Who wouldn’t want to play with a guy like Cam Newton? He’s destined to be great. He wants to win. I’ll follow him anytime,” Dickson said.
Newton is likely thrilled to have the new follower.
In his rookie year, Newton completed 82 passes to the tight end combo of Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey. That same season, Dickson and fellow Ravens’ tight end Dennis Pitta combined for 94 receptions. Dickson accounted for 54 of those catches, totaling 528 yards and five touchdowns. That’s the sort of production the Panthers hope a change of scenery will spark.
Carolina lacked a Shockey-like complement to Olsen the last two years, but Dickson could help them add an important wrinkle back into the offense. Earlier this month, head coach Ron Rivera confirmed a desire to play with more two-tight end sets, and the team practiced out of the lineup often during offseason practices.
While Dickson has a chance to contribute immediately, there was something else that helped draw him to the Panthers. It wasn’t just a new start and a chance to play with a dynamic, young quarterback.
“I looked at the defense and it reminded me of a younger Baltimore team,” Dickson told Greif. “When we were great and in the playoffs every single year doing all these things it reminds me of a young Baltimore. That excites me. When you have a defense like that you can win multiple championships.”
As good as the Panthers defense has been and could be, comparing them to the imposing Ravens’ units that helped win the 2012 Super Bowl is heady stuff. But it could also be the kind of veteran-inspired confidence that could go a long way in the development of a young locker room.
Dickson also talked to KEZI-TV, repeating his praise of Newton and the Panthers’ defense.
Another former Oregon Duck, Kenjon Barner, also spoke with KEZI. The Carolina running back shared a great story about something Newton did before last year’s Panthers’ game in Arizona.
- Meant to include this in Monday’s BBR This Morning. Despite the lack of audio, defensive end Kony Ealy captured some good footage of his Panthers’ draft class at the Rookie Symposium. — 1) INSTAGRAM 2) INSTAGRAM
- Rivera received a nice welcome in one of his former homes. — Monterey Herald
- Yet another “Newton’s maturing” article. — NFL.com
- Cornerback Antoine Cason and receiver Kelvin Benjamin have “something to prove.” — Sports Illustrated
- Mike Tanier, not a fan of the Panthers’ wideouts. — SportsOnEarth
- Cornerback James Dockery looks really happy despite the cold. — INSTAGRAM