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WR Muhammad’s Blocking Draws Raves from Panthers

December 24, 2008 by  


Associated Press

Muhsin-Muhammad-655x400 CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Jake Delhomme was asked Thursday about Carolina Panthers teammate Muhsin Muhammad’s big block in the win over Denver and interrupted the questioner.

“Which one?” Delhomme asked.

Told it was when the receiver took out two Broncos on Steve Smith’s 15-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter of Carolina’s 30-10 win Sunday, Delhomme nodded, then brought up a block he thought was even better.

“He did a block that didn’t show up in the second quarter,” Delhomme said. “He blocked this cornerback and he blocked him again, and he blocked him past the ball and as the whistle blew he slammed him down. And there is a presence that is set right there.”

When the Panthers brought back Muhammad in the offseason after his three-year stint in Chicago, they planned to again make him the No. 2 receiver opposite Smith, the role he played in Carolina’s Super Bowl season in 2003.

But the Panthers also thought the 35-year-old Muhammad could help resurrect Carolina’s dormant running game because of his history of being one of the NFL’s top blocking receivers.

“If there’s a better one out there I haven’t seen him,” coach John Fox said.

Delhomme believes Hines Ward of Pittsburgh is Muhammad’s only competition. At 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, Muhammad has the size and strength to flatten or “pancake” defensive backs, plus other intangibles, too.

“If you want to do it, you’re going to do it,” Muhammad said. “If you don’t want to do it, you aren’t going to do it. I think my game is a lot different than most players who play this position. I think I bring a little something different to the table.”

Muhammad’s blocking prowess was born from his late switch to receiver. Muhammad played running back and linebacker in high school. He moved to receiver in college at Michigan State, where he learned the art of blocking downfield.

Carolina’s second-round pick in 1996, he’s been in on several big blocks this year to boost one of the NFL’s top running games. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have combined for 1,980 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns, and the Panthers are 11-3 heading into Sunday’s showdown at the New York Giants (11-3).

“It helps out DeAngelo,” Muhammad said. “I think he said it best this week: the offensive line and the fullbacks help him get those 15-yard runs. And when you have receivers who block down the field, that is when you get your 20-, 30- and 40-yard runs or even more.

“I think the ultimate goal most guys are focused on is trying to win a championship. My focus is how do we get there? How do we make this team better? That is the goal, to make the team better. With blocking, I think I’m good at it and I help out in that way.”

Delhomme said his favorite Muhammad block this season came on Williams’ 15-yard touchdown run against Arizona in Week 8.

“He blocked the (nickel back) into the safety into the backside corner and DeAngelo Williams scored,” Delhomme said. “He blocked three people. He blocked one into another and the other guy couldn’t come up and DeAngelo scored. That’s him.”

Muhammad has also proven to be the steady No. 2 receiver opposite Smith, with 54 catches for 764 yards and four touchdowns. His presence means teams can’t automatically double-team Smith.

But Muhammad’s blocking is what separates him from others at the position. Reserve cornerback C.J. Wilson, who goes up against Muhammad in practice, buried his head in his hands and sighed when asked about the experience.

“You know how they advise you not to stand in front of a train or bad things could happen?” Wilson said. “Well, that is what it is, because you can’t stop it.”

Muhammad’s return has coincided with the Panthers’ best record after 14 games. A win Sunday would give them home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs for the first time.

“I think Moose has got more pancakes on the season than me,” Bridges said. “Moose is one of the more aggressive blocking receivers that I’ve ever seen in the NFL. It’s magical.”

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Comments

One Response to “WR Muhammad’s Blocking Draws Raves from Panthers”

  1. Maalik Dixon on December 25th, 2008 6:35 pm

    Muhsin Muhammad is NOT a Muslim. His dad joined the Nation of Islam when he was a child which is where is got his name (he was born Melvin Cambell) but once his parents divorced he never embraced Islam. Muhsin is a devout Christian. Good ball player though just dont run up to him saying salaams.

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