Carolina Panthers: 3 Reasons Why the Panthers are in Trouble
- Updated: June 16, 2014
The Carolina Panthers were one of the surprise teams a year ago as they advanced in the playoffs after an impressive regular season. The reason for their limited success is an over powering defense that could dominate the line of scrimmage. With improved play from quarterback Cam Newton it seemed like the Panthers are on the right path to be a good team for years to come.
Great Division: The Panthers are a very good team, but unfortunately they play in a very talented division. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints are all teams that are loaded with talent and can easily win the division. For this reason it will be difficult for the Panthers to repeat their success from a season ago.
Protect the passer: Newton is the MVP for this team, but if they cannot protect him, they cannot win. Newton was hit 161 times while throwing or rushing in 2013, by far the most among NFL quarterbacks. Some of that is attributed to designed runs and scrambles, but the loss of Gross looms large. Byron Bell and Nate Chandler are vying for the starting left tackle spot, though neither has a track record at the position Bell is a heavy-footed power player who struggles to react against edge players and plays with little knee bend. Chandler, a former college defensive end, has reps at guard but must prove the transition to tackle isn’t insurmountable and be better at the point of attack after his initial punch. If the Panthers cannot protect Newton it will be a very long season.
Stop the Pass: On defense, the Panthers have to stop the pass. The Panthers have spent the offseason rebuilding their secondary. Mike Mitchell (Steelers) is a critical loss at safety and Captain Munnerlyn’s (Vikings) presence will be especially missed in the slot. Gettleman has added a pair of NFC South castoffs in Roman Harper and Thomas DeCoud at safety, but neither has the range and explosiveness of Mitchell. At cornerback, the Panthers are hopeful veterans Antoine Cason and Charles Godfrey can duplicate what the group did last season. In a division that has Matt Ryan and Drew Brees, stopping the pass becomes paramount for this Panthers team.
The Panthers deserve credit for a great year last season, but that will be hard to duplicate this season. Management has made too many changes and it will show on the field as this team tries to duplicate their success from a year ago, but will fall short of making the playoffs.