Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cameron Crazy: Carolina Panthers Season Preview

2011 Record: 6-10

2011 Ranks
Total Offense: 7
Run Offense: 3
Pass Offense: 13
Scoring Offense: 5
Total Defense: 28
Run Defense: 25
Pass Defense: 24
Scoring Defense: 27


What Can Cam Newton Do For You? He had one of the best rookie years of any quarterback ever, coming in and throwing for 4000 yards and turning one of the worst offenses in the league into one of the best. Steve Smith, who many had relegated to a decline in his veteran years, had a resurgence under a quarterback who could actually get him the ball. This year, the Panthers added bruising back Mike Tolbert who should take some of the short-yardage carries away from Newton and give the Panthers an actual goal line back. Double Trouble DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are locked down in long-term deals now, and the Panthers offense should be fun to watch. Mostly because....


Their defense is horrible. DE Charles Johnson signed a big deal last year and led the team with 9 sacks, but the Panthers were still in the bottom 5 in the league in yards allowed and points allowed. Their biggest problem was an inability to stop the run, but first round pick  tackling machine ILB Luke Kuechly should help the linebacking corps. The Panthers added some depth in the secondary, but Chris Gamble and Captain Munnerlyn (who has an awesome name but can't cover) still figure to be the starting corners. In a division with Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman, the Panthers figure to be in plenty of shootouts this season.


The offense can be deadly if they don't turn the ball over. Newton threw 17 picks last season and with a defense that really hasn't improved a whole lot, they will need to hold on to the ball. If Newton's development continues, he could be one of the top quarterbacks in the league, but the Panthers will need to find a way to piece together a defense and a pass rush if they're going to challenge for the division crown.


This team is still a year or two away, but they are building. They can score with anyone, but their inability to stop anyone on defense will be their downfall. 7-9

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