The real reasons why Robby Anderson signed with the Panthers

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There are many reasons why Robby Anderson ended up in Carolina.

Some of them are easier to see than others – his connections to his former head coach and quarterback who helped him excel at Temple. The ability to be the exaggerated threat in an explosive attack led by Joe Brady. Lucky to find another quarterback, he learned a lot during his young career.

But sometimes it just comes from black and blue.

“I have always loved Carolina colors,” smiled Anderson, who was featured in Charlotte media from her Florida home on Friday afternoon, already wearing a Panthers hat and a Christian McCaffrey jersey. ” The [NFC South]too – I feel it’s going to be the best [division] in the NFL and has some of the best NFL receivers – that’s what I want to compete against. “

OK, so the color palette had something to do with it – but Matt Rhule probably didn’t hurt.

Photo credit: Joseph V. Labolito / Temple

As the new head coach of the Carolina Panthers, Rhule has brought many familiar faces since he was hired earlier this year – between a large portion of the coaching staff and almost half of the free agents having so far Linked to Rhule’s college days, it’s not a leap to assume that the Robby Anderson wide receiver is another train on the tracks that have traveled between Carolina, Temple and Baylor in the past three months.

But the connection goes deeper than that – the 25-year-old 6-3, 190 pound player might not even have had the chance to be a leading free agent this offseason – or even a chance to play in the NFL – without his Temple coach. Anderson has a huge debt to Rhule; after Anderson’s academic suspension for a year in 2014 after his junior season, Rhule – a notorious “player coach” – fought to not only bring his player back to the field, but also to class.

And after a summer of hard work raising his GPA, the cornered catcher broke out in 2015 with 939 receiving yards and seven scores.

“I can honestly say that if it weren’t for him to make things happen, I probably wouldn’t be in the position I am in,” said Anderson. “The way the rules were made was that I wasn’t supposed to go back to school for like, five years or ridiculous because of the suspension and my GPA, but coach Rhule beaten hard for literally like a whole year – over and over and over and over. “

Anderson led the Owls at receptions, yards and touchdowns in 2015, was invited to play in the game East / West Shrine and after signing with the Jets as an undrafted free agent, he became the first New York catcher just in his second season, finishing with 63 receptions for 941 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns – last year Anderson became the fifth NFL player since 1970 to reach 3,000 receiving yards during his first four seasons after entering the league as UDFA.

None of this would have been possible without Rhule.

Photo credit: Mitchell Leff / Getty Images

So, yes, Anderson owes a huge debt of gratitude to Rhule – but make no mistake, there are a lot of football reasons why Anderson wears those colors he loves so much. The addition of Anderson as a deep threat to the skills already on the list of DJ Moore, Curtis Samuel and Christian McCaffrey will help open the offense of the new coordinator Joe Brady, who feeds on stretching the field horizontally and vertically to get players open.

Safety against Anderson streak, who ran a 4.34 on 40 yard dash at his Temple Pro Day, had the most touchdown passes of all NFL receivers in 2017 and whose objectives were on average more than 15 meters in the air last season will open up plenty of room everywhere else for other pass-catchers.

Rhule and Brady will have a chance to start installing their new programs on Monday as the Panthers begin to meet remotely – the NFL has shut down all team facilities and North Carolina remains under control of the home stay until ‘as of April 29 due to the COVID- 19 pandemic – but the real test of whether Rhule, Bridgewater or someone else can succeed will not come via Zoom or Skype – this will happen on the ground.

“There is little he can do on the football field,” said Rhule last year of Anderson. “I really believe in who Robby is athletic and above all competitive. He is as dynamic a competitor as ever. “

This belief is one of the reasons – in addition to the renewed focus on offense that the Panthers had during this off-season – the Panthers made one of their biggest freelance wide receiver catches in the history of the franchise. Previously splashing signatures like Keyshawn Johnson at the end of his career have not worked for the Panthers in the past, but they hope an enlarged youth entering his heyday with inventive game player will be able to fulfill the 20 million contract dollars – but even with Anderson’s agreement, the Panthers still spend less than the league average on their large group of receivers, with DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel still on their rookie contracts.

Anderson says he’ll be fine with Moore, whom he considers to be one of the best receivers in the league, Samuel, whom he has watched since leaving Ohio State, and McCaffrey, who he says is one of the best runners returns to the league.

“With my extraordinary speed and abilities, I think we will complement each other very well,” said Anderson. “With Teddy, who has this veteran presence and knows how to distribute wealth, I think we will complement each other in a formidable way. “

And then there is Bridgewater, which the Panthers signed last month as a free agency open to a $ 63 million contract over three years, and that is another reason why Anderson wanted to come to Carolina. The wideout and its new QB go back a long way – the two were supposed to play on the same team in a 7 against 7 high school tournament in South Florida before a change was made. Anderson attended Plantation High School, about 30 minutes north of Miami Northwestern Senior High, where Bridgewater was a highly recruited double-threat quarterback.

Anderson has matured since two early eight-month career arrests that marked his 2017 breakout season. Although all charges were eventually dropped, with the exception of a no-show plea and one of reckless driving for disloyal driving, Anderson says he is a different man, changing both his mindset and his attitude. state of mind.

“Sometimes I think of these things as things that happened for a reason of showing me what life could have been,” said Anderson.

Shortly after his second arrest in January 2018, the Jets signed Bridgewater – Anderson and Bridgewater had a strong, albeit brief, bond during the 2018 offseason before the quarterback was traded to New Orleans a few days before the start of the season.

“Teddy helped me grow as a man,” said Anderson of the quarterback. “There were things I experienced at the time as I adapted to the NFL – there were things I was not immune to. It sort of helped me see things from an older perspective, even though we are the same age. It’s easy for me to talk to her because we come from the same culture and similar backgrounds; it’s easy for me to talk about football with him. “

“He understands the game, he understands how to get a receiver [into a] rhythm – we have a natural friendship and a natural chemistry on the ground. “

This connection was one of the main reasons why Anderson signed a two-year contract with the Panthers – after thinking he would like to play under Rhule again as rumors circulated that the former Temple coach and Baylor would make the jump to the NFL; he was not the head coach, but the quarterback who ultimately tipped the scales in favor of Carolina.

“And then I saw that Teddy signed up there, it was just the icing on the cake,” said Anderson. “It really attracted me to want to become a Panther.”

That – and the colors.

(Top photo via Adam Hunger)

Josh Klein on Twitter
Josh K

Josh Klein is editor of the Riot Report. His favorite panther of all time is Chad Cota and he once spoke with Kevin Greene. Follow Josh on Twitter @joshkleinrules.



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