Fox 46 Good Day Charlotte – Thursday March 17th with Brien Blakely

(Charlotte, NC) — Mike was a guest on Thursday’s Fox 46 Good Day Charlotte. Mike and host Brien Blakely discuss potential Final Four teams and likely bracket buster upsets.

Watch the video here: http://www.fox46charlotte.com/good-day/seen-on-tv/109154515-video

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Pacheco Papers Podcast. Season I, Episode VI

(Charlotte, NC) — The NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament is finally here. ESPN’s Paul Biancardi joins Mike on The Papers Podcast to preview the NCAA Tournament. Biancardi is ESPN’s National Recruiting Director and is an analyst on high school and college telecasts. He was head coach at Wright State and was an assistant at Saint Louis, Boston College and Ohio State. He went to the Elite 8 with BC and The Final Four with OSU.

Here is the conversation with Paul Biancardi:

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Pacheco Papers Podcast. Season I, Episode V

(Charlotte, NC) — Noted Film Critic and Author, Jeffrey Lyons, joins the latest Pacheco Papers Podcast. Jeffrey has written a new book which is a follow up to “Stories My Father Told Me, Notes From the Lyons Den”.

The conversation begins with tales from Jeffrey’s new book and includes discussions on Cuba, diversity and the Oscars, upcoming movies, Red Sox baseball and more.

Click on the link below to listen.

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Pacheco Papers Podcast. Season I, Episode IV

(Winston-Salem, NC) In a Pacheco Papers Podcast first, the podcast goes on the road. MRN’s Director of Digital Content and Strategy, NASCAR Reporter and Sports Personality Tony Rizzuti joins the Papers Podcast to discuss the Daytona 500, all things NASCAR, the Carolina Panthers Super Bowl run and Star Wars spoilers.

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Pacheco Papers Podcast – Season I, Episode III Knights Manager Julio Vinas

(Charlotte, NC) — The Charlotte Knights will have a new Field Manager this season.  Julio Vinas spent the last three seasons in Birmingham managing the Barons, the White Sox Double-A club in the Southern League. He won the Southern League Title in 2013.

w JV

The Miami, Florida native began his career in Baseball selected in the 33rd Round of the 1991 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox. He rose through the system reaching Triple-A with Nashville in 1996.  Vinas also played in the Orioles, Red Sox and Indians organizations. He batted .264 over his career with 84 Home Runs in 896 games.

Vinas moved into the Player Development side of the game in 2001 as a Hitting Instructor with the Orioles and later became Baltimore’s Minor League Hitting Coordinator. He re-joined the White Sox in 2011 as Manager of Winston-Salem.

Here now is our conversation with Julio Vinas.

The Knights season begins on the road at Durham August 7th at the Durham Bulls.  The Knights home opener is April 14th hosting the Durham Bulls.

Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePacheco81. You can e-mail him: ThePapers@MikePacheco.com.

Follow the Knights Radio Booth on Twitter: @CLTKnightsRadio.

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Pacheco Papers Podcast – Season 1, Episode II

(Charlotte, NC) — Jim Szoke, from the Carolina Panthers and News Talk 1110 WBT, and Erik Spanberg, from the Charlotte Business Journal, drop by to discuss the Panthers, Super Bowl 50, first cars and Oscar nominated films. Hilarity ensues.

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Cam Newton – In His Own Words

(Charlotte, NC) – A lot has been said about Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton’s demeanor in the post game press conference following Carolina’s 24-10 loss to Denver in Super Bowl 50.

I co-hosted Monday’s Primetime with Chris Kroeger. I mentioned to Chris that I felt it would be very beneficial to Cam if he spoke to the media on Tuesday. That’s the final time the 2015 Carolina Panthers would be together in the same locker room.

During head coach Ron Rivera’s time with the media, he shared with the group he had planned to talk with Cam about addressing the media. He never had the conversation. Cam did it on his own.

With so many opinions flying around regarding the league MVP, here is Cam Newton in his own words speaking to the media assembled Tuesday at Bank of America Stadium:

The entire transcript of the media session is below:

“Well, I ain’t got no more tears to cry but, obviously, I’ve had a lot of time to think about it. I’ve seen so much, you know, blown out of proportion but, at the end of the day, when you invest so much time and you sacrifice so much and things don’t go as planned, I think emotions take over. I think that’s what happens. As far as trying to be like this person or that person I heard numerous quotes about ‘what of this person was in that situation, how would he have handled it?’ ‘Well we’ve seen this person do that how he would have handle it’. Truth of the matter, I’m not trying to be this person nor am I trying to be that person. I’ve said it since day one. I know who I am. I know what I’m capable of and I know where I’m going and I don’t have to conform to anybody else’s wants for me to do. I’m not that guy. If you want me to be this kind of person, I’m not that and I’m happy to say that, you know what I’m saying?. This league is a great league with or without me. I understand that. I am my own person. I take pride in that and that is pretty much how I feel.”

Q: You don’t have any regrets at all on how you handled it, not to say that you should but I’m just asking if you do?

“I really don’t, I mean, it happened. It happened. I didn’t want to talk to the media at the time and truth of the matter is I really still don’t want to talk to you. But at the end of the day, things has to happen. I had a lot of time to go back and play everything back and like I say, I’m human. I’ve never once said that I was perfect. I never proclaimed that I was perfect. But, at the end of the day, people pick and they do things of that sort and the truth of the matter is, you know, who are you to say that your way is right? Like, that’s what I don’t understand. Like, we got all these people that’s condemning and saying ‘oh man he should have did this, that and the third’ but what makes your way right? I mean, I’ve been on record as saying I’m a sore loser. Who likes to lose? You show me a good loser and I’m going to show you a loser. I’m not here to, to, to, it’s not a popularity contest. I am here to win football games. And, for this organization, for Mr. Richardson, for my teammates, and for what it’s worth, my fans. They know what’s real and everything else I leave out on the field. I prepare the right way. I have a mentality. I have a standard that I set for myself and I’m not going to bend nor break. I never once offended anybody along that but, at the end of the day, we had an unbelievable season, a great season at that. We did what a lot of people didn’t expect us to do. Hell, we did a lot of things that we were fast into doing. People knew we were going to win but they didn’t know how fast we would win. Now at one point we’re undefeated and truth of the matter is we got two losses. Some teams had two losses the first two weeks. So that’s the truth of the matter. For me nothing’s pretty much is going to change. You get what you get.

Q: Cam, that last fumble there, have you gone over that play in your mind and if you could have done anything different?

What would you want me to do?

Q: People are saying you should have jumped in the pile but you didn’t and so what do you remember what you were thinking at that moment?

OK, I didn’t get the fumble but we can play tit for tat. I’ve seen numerous quarterbacks throw interceptions and their effort afterwards, they don’t go. I don’t dive on one fumble because the way my leg was it could have been contorqued in a way. Ok, you say my effort. I didn’t dive down. I fumbled that’s fine but at the end of the, that game wasn’t built off of, we didn’t lose that game because of that fumble, I can tell you that. So, you can condemn and say ‘well, oh man, he gave up, he this, that, and a third but hey as long as my teammates know, as long as my coaches know as long as anybody that’s following this team knows. I mean it’s easy for a person to nitpick and say ‘oh man Cam this, oh he gave up’. That’s cool, that’s fine. I’m a grown man, I can understand that but to say some things along the lines of that and to say it in my face that’s extremely different.

Q: Cam it sounds like your teammates are certainly supportive of you despite the criticism you’ve got about the press conference. Tell me about that. What did the players have to say to you about your efforts on the field and what did your teammates say after the game.

What’s already understood. (several players shouting they love Cam in the background)

Q: How does that make you feel when you hear your buddies standing up [for you]?

At the end of the day, it’s understood (players singing for Cam)

But at the end of the day, what’s understood shouldn’t have to be said. You know, so many people talk about the Carolina Panthers, so many people talked about Cam, so many people talked about Coach Rivera. He fact of the matter is, nobody on this team got suspended for disciplinary reasons, you never once heard about anybody on this team have to sit out games because of what they did. You never heard coach nor coordinators say ‘These guys wasn’t coachable’, and so pretty much everything that people say about us is fluff. They say Cam’s a thug. They say players on this team are classless. But, I mean, (Player yells to Cam: ‘No thugs in college, we all went to school’) Exactly, straight up, we are professional athletes. Like I say, before you are put assume anything, what makes your way right?

Q: Any last message to fans? Your fans? Any last message to your fans?

We will be back and I mean that. Like, we will be back. I mean I say that with so much emphasis and, you know, if I offended somebody, that’s cool but I know who I am and I’m not about to conform nor bend for anybody’s expectations because your or anybody else’s expectations will never exceed mine.

Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePacheco81. Have a comment about this blog post: ThePapers@MikePacheco.com.

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Pacheco Papers Podcast – Season I, Edition I

(Charlotte, NC) — Sharon Thorsland from Panthers Radio and News Talk 1110 WBT stops by to look back at the Panthers sensational 15-1 regular season, discuss the build up to Super Bowl Sunday and preview the Panthers v. Broncos. Click to the link below to listen.

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Panthers Prowling for First Title – The Five – vs. Denver in Super Bowl 50

(Charlotte, NC) — The Carolina Panthers are on the brink of their first ever Super Bowl victory.  They came close in 2003 before getting clipped by Adam Vinatieri and the New England Patriots 32-29.

Standing in the way of franchise history is a team very familiar with the Super Bowl, the Denver Broncos.  Denver’s appearance in the big game Sunday ties them with Dallas, New England and Pittsburgh for most Super Bowl Appearances with eight.

Panthers led the NFL this season with 31.3 points per game while the Broncos boasted the number one defense in the league holding opponents to 199.6 yards per game.

DSC_0600This games has several plot lines but none brighter than The Sheriff v. Superman. However, Clark Kent may have a say when all is said and done. With that as a back drop, here are five topics I’ll be keying on Sunday.

1. Fast Start – The Panthers have been especially adept and jumping on opponents early this year.  Look no further than the two playoff games when the Panthers offense was clicking on all cylinders. Against Seattle, Carolina scored three touchdowns and a field goal in their first four possessions of the game. In the Arizona game, they started off with a Graham Gano field goal followed by a Ted Ginn, Jr. touchdown run and a Cam Newton touchdown pass to Philly Brown. The big question is, can Carolina come out swinging against a more than capable Denver defense.

2. Can He Do It A-Ginn. When wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin went down, most everyone believed the loss of the former first round draft pick would sink the Carolina offense.  Despite the occasional dropped ball, Ted Ginn, Jr. has enjoyed his revival with the Panthers.  The former Dolphin, Cardinal and 49’er finished second on the team in receiving yards (739) and led everyone other than Cam Newton in touchdowns.  If he can get open, and that’s not a given, he could be an X-factor for the Panthers.

3. Clark Kent v. The Sheriff. Luke Kuechly missed three and a half games. The Panthers All-Pro linebacker has had a dominant season and may not win the best defensive player on his team let alone the entire NFL.  The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year was second on the team with four interceptions including a pick-6.  He picked off both Russell Wilson and Carson Palmer with picks returned for touchdowns in the playoffs. Peyton Manning is, well, Peyton Manning.  Maybe he is not the old gunslinger, but when he returned from injury toward the end of the season, he was a pretty good game manager. He also beat the Patriots to get here. If this is the end of the line for him, you know he’ll do everything to go out on top.  This is one chess match you won’t want to miss.

4. Calling the Calvary.  As of this writing on Friday afternoon, the Panthers are expected to have two starters on defense in the line-up. Thomas Davis broke his arm in the win two weeks ago over the Cardinals to advance to the Super Bowl.  Defensive End Jared Allen was injured in the Seattle game and did not play against Arizona. According to their head coach, barring a decision by the doctors to sit one or both, they are playing. Allen was a nice pick up when Charles Johnson went down with a hamstring. It wouldn’t seem right not to see number 58 out there.

5. No Spotlight Too Big. One of the winners of the week leading up to SB 50 has been Cam Newton.  He kept his composure after hearing the same questions day after day. He laughed, didn’t say too much, answered questions thoughtfully for the most part and made fashion statements – from Versace to flip flops and socks. Some people aren’t comfortable in the limelight. Cam thrives in it. Watching him against Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware and the top ranked Denver defense should be interesting.

In the end, I believe the Panthers will come out victorious. It won’t be a stampede, though. I believe this one is in the 27-21 range.

Panther fans were extremely confident this week in predicting a blow out. I just hope they weren’t writing checks the Panthers can’t cash.

Follow Mike on Twitter: @MikePacheco81

 

 

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Carolina Seeks Best Start Since 2003 – The Five Panthers @ Buccaneers

(Charlotte, NC) — This is the fourth time in twenty one seasons of Carolina Panthers football the team has started 3-0.  With a win Sunday against the Buccaneers, this year’s edition can become just the second Panthers squad to start a season 4-0.

That mark was set by the 2003 Carolina crew that finished 11-5 and would lose to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII (38).

Perhaps more importantly, the team can go 2-0 in the NFC South with a victory over Tampa Bay.  The Panthers lead the all-time season series with the Bucs 16-11 including four straight wins. Tampa swept the season series winning both games in 2012.

Injuries continue to mount for Carolina. They lost number one WR Kelvin Benjamin in preseason. Linebacker Luke Kuechly has not played since leaving the season opener in Jacksonville with a concussion.  Defensive end Charles Johnson exacerbated an already troublesome hamstring injury requiring the team to place their leading pass rusher in the short term injured reserve list. The team even pulled off the rare in season trade for an impact player when they acquired DE Jared Allen for a 6th round draft pick.

With that as a back drop, here is this week’s edition of The Five:

1. Newton’s First Start Against The Bucs In Two Years.  Last year, Panthers QB Cam Newton missed both encounters with the Buccaneers. Carolina won both games with back up Derek Anderson at the helm. Look for Newton to have a big game against Tampa Bay. Cam has engineered a solid start so far combining his prowess as both a passer and a runner. Newton’s record against the Buccaneers in 4-2.

2. Win One, Win Both. Going back to the 2009 season, the team that has won the first meeting has taken the second one as well.  Carolina has the advantage in the last six meetings with a 8-4 record. A win Sunday and the Panthers can tie their longest win streak vs. Tampa Bay. They won five straight from the beginning of 2003 through the first meeting in 2005.

3. Strength on Weakness. Looking inside the numbers, Carolina is strong where Tampa Bay is weak or at least at a disadvantage. The Panthers enter with NFL’s 7th ranked defense holding opponents to 315 yards per game. The Bucs are 26th in total offense averaging 308 yards per game. The running game should also tilt in favor of the visiting team. Carolina is tied for sixth in the NFL with 132 yards per game while Tampa defensively is 30th surrounding almost the same number at 138 yards per game. The Panthers defense is stingy against the run holding opponents to 75.7 yards per game, 4th in the NFL. The Bucs rushing attack is is 20th in the NFL churning out 96.0 yards per game.

4. No Kuechly, No Problem? You don’t replace an All-Pro, NFL Defensive Player of the Year.  However, Carolina has not seen a dramatic drop in production by their linebackers. Kuechly’s replacement, A.J. Klein, will be tested Sunday with a mobile quarterback and a solid running back in Doug Martin. Klein is second on the team in tackles behind Thomas Davis and also has an interception. Davis has stepped up his game as well and first round pick Shaq Thompson has impressed with his play so far.

5. The Winston. Buccaneers took Quarterback Jameis Winston with the number one overall pick in the draft this year. This game features two former Heisman Trophy winners in Cam Newton (2010) and Winston (2014). If the Panthers can put pressure on Winston it’ll be a long day for the former Florida State Seminole. Carolina is strong in the interior of their defensive line. Look for Jared Allen looking to impress in his first game as a Panther.

Follow Mike on Twitter: @MikePacheco81. Listen to the CPI Security Postgame Show and Pepsi Wrap Up Show on  WBT AM (1110 AM) and www.panthers.com. Watch on Time Warner Cable NC Sports Channel 323 and follow on Twitter: @Panthers_Radio.

 

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