NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that the Carolina Panthers signed the free-agent safety to a one-year contract, per a source with knowledge of the move. The team later confirmed the deal.
Brown was out of football last season after stints with the Giants, Colts and Raiders. He started 19 games for New York between 2012 and 2014 and spent part of the 2011 offseason with the Panthers and wholesale jerseys before reuniting with the team this week.
A seventh-round pick by Oakland in 2010, Brown was added to provide veteran depth behind safety Kurt Coleman jersey and third-year backstop Tre Boston.
Brown is no savior, but he impressed the Panthers enough to warrant a roster spot.
This style of pressure kept Arizona uncomfortable and left Palmer skittish at times in the pocket, forcing the ball out with chest and shovel passes — one that resulted in a fumble returned for a touchdown by Thomas Davis — and causing Palmer to lose the ball on two occasions. It threw a wrench in Arizona’s offensive flow and limited their ability to counter to Carolina’s methodical, efficient offense. It also gave Carolina an early cushion they protected for much of the game.
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While the Panthers found success in the running game with the aforementioned formation variation, Stewart scored his touchdowns in short-yardage situations by bringing in the beef. Stewart twice found paydirt in heavy formations from two yards or less out, using effective blocking from pulling right guard Trai Turner jersey and fullback Mike Tolbert on the first touchdown.
The second score wasn’t quite as easy. Stewart needed all 240 pounds to force through the wash as Turner had to adjust his pull route, squeezing the hole on Tolbert, who tried to leap through into a block but jammed up the lane. No worries for Stewart, though, who broke multiple tackles with his stocky, powerful wrecking ball style of running into the end zone.
Carolina needed its defense for all four quarters. As Arizona mounted a late comeback attempt, the Cardinals found themselves in Panthers’ territory when, on first down, Palmer forced a short, low pass out while under duress. In a play reminiscent of Super Bowl 50, Kony Ealy got a hand up to tip the pass to himself, which he caught for an interception that iced the game for Carolina.
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The strategy was multilayered and encouraging for the Panthers moving forward: bring pressure to the opposing quarterback with intricate, confusing looks and blitzes, force turnovers, build a lead and then ride it out. Stewart’s 25 carries showed a focus to keep the ball on the ground and maintain the advantage on the scoreboard, while the quick-passing attack moved the chains in increments and kept the ball in the hands of the Panthers. Star Lotulelei’s three sacks led a unit that finished with eight and brought pressure from all angles. Carolina edged Arizona in the turnover column 2-1 and the time of possession battle 30:48 to 29:12, and thanks to the early scores, staved off the Cardinals for the Panthers’ first win in over a month.
In return for Lee and a Browns 2017 seventh-round pick, the Panthers shipped a 2018 fourth-round selection and 2014 undrafted punter Kasey Redfern to Cleveland.
Panthers punter Mike Scifres exited Friday’s preseason tilt with the New England Patriots jerseys with a knee injury after taking a shot to the leg.
Lee, 34, is a three-time Pro Bowl punter. He spent his first 11 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers in cheap NFL jerseys before being sent to Cleveland last season. Lee ranks sixth in NFL history with a 46.2 gross punting average. Last season Lee set a single-season Browns record with a 46.7-yard gross average.
In Friday’s Browns tilt with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Lee took some grief from Cleveland coach Hue Jackson for a lackadaisical effort in chasing down a punt return that went for a 73-yard touchdown.
After Scifres’ injury, the punting situation for the NFC Champion Panthers looked like a weak spot. Monday they plugged that hole with a proven veteran.