4 things the Panthers need to do to get back to the Superbowl
With the Panthers 2017/2018 season officially in the books, we will take a look at what the organization must do in order to get back to the bowl.
The Panthers finished the regular season 11-5 suffering losses to the Eagles, Bears, Saints (twice), and the Falcons. All but the Bears game were losses against playoff caliber teams, which is nothing to bat an eye at. The Panthers also had BIG wins against the AFC top seed Patriots and the NFC second seed Vikings proving they are formidable.
The Panthers took a slow start on offense this season winning games purely because of their defensive dominance. And this is before they traded away their number one receiver, the 6 foot 5 Kelvin Benjamin. Strangely it was after the trade that the offense began to find some rhythm. Rookie running back Christian McCaffrey started getting in sync midseason becoming both a rushing and receiving threat for opposing defenses. In the end, however, none of this was enough to keep the Panthers from dropping the 3rd game to the Saints in a heartbreaking affair in New Orleans. Here are some things the Panthers MUST do if they ever want to get back into the Superbowl (and win).
Revamp the O-line
The Panthers drafting philosophy under former General manager Dave Gettleman was a simple one. Take the top talent available. Rather than draft according to need the Panthers drafted based on talent, and hoped to fix holes on the roster with trades, and free agency. This lead the panthers to draft the best middle linebacker in the game Luke Kuechly when everyone was screaming for help on offense. Though the organization found great talent this way, especially on defense, this left former number one all around draft pick Cam Newton with little weapons and no protection.
We’ve seen Cam win consistently with practically no-name receivers. This is why getting the o-line in shape should be the number one priority for the Panthers this off season. Cam has proven he can get the job done. But he’s inconsistent. That inconsistency stems from inconsistent play from an O-line who has let Cam be hit more than any other QB in the league. It’s time for the Panthers to start protecting their investment. They need a combination of youth and experience on the line to keep Cam safe from the lineman who want to tear his head off. Their 2015 loss in the Superbowl should be all the proof anyone needs.
Bye Bye Shula
In 2015 the Panthers had the number one offense in the league. But let's be honest. That status came as a side effect of a ball hawking defense that had Josh Norman locking down receivers. The offense constantly faced short yardage situations and tired defenses because their defense was solid!
Shula’s play calling has been ineffective from day one. The defense has been a band aid to this fact long enough! Time to rip it off and let it heal. The Panthers need to get a real offensive coordinator before they waste all of Cams prime years. A QB of his caliber is once in a blue moon. Time to get the most out of him.
A Shutdown Corner
Many of you may say a wide receiver is more of a priority but I beg to differ. Between Olsen, Funches, and McCaffery coupled with Cams own abilities the Panther have the firepower to beat out any team. With a veteran shutdown corner coupled with Coleman and the Barberry would put the panthers D into the elite category once again. They will soon find that their pass rush is more effective since QB’s would have to take more time to find an open receiver. The middle will remain no go territory with Kuechly, Davis, and Thompson continuing their dominance. The Panthers will need to drop some serious coin and go get a top corner this off season to help the young guys in the backfield.
The Panthers need to be able to take the top off. The success they had with Ginn proves that if the panthers can get faster, they will get better. When Byrd’s role on the team increased we saw an all around better offense. Though it would be nice to have a receiver with Antonio Brown or Odell level capabilities its not absolutely necessary for the Panthers to have success.
In the end the offense needs a stimulus package. I fully believe the Panthers, with these adjustments, will be one of the most complete teams in the NFL next season. With the offense being shaky all season and still managing to get to the postseason shows their potential for greatness. Do you agree?