This Carolina Panthers team is just bad this year. The Panthers are truly lucky to have a 6-6 record with a slim shot at the playoffs because this team has lost heart, they got comfortable at 6-2 and it’s evident that most players no longer are buying what these coaches are selling. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers embarrassed the Panthers on Sunday and I strongly believe that if the Panthers had played the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, or New England Patriots, they would’ve been the first team in history to give up 80 points in an NFL game.
Concerns as the Carolina Panthers Losing Streak Continues
Cam Newton is clearly not 100 percent healthy and the fans saw it all game long; and his offensive line did him no favors. Yes, he threw four interceptions and there’s no excuse for that from a top 10 quarterback this year; but to give him the benefit of the doubt, there’s no way he should’ve been playing after coaches saw that he wasn’t willing to throw the football down the field because of his compromised shoulder. In addition to that, he was hit as he was throwing on three out of four of those interceptions. I’m aware Ron Rivera is trying to save his job, but this is the time to preserve the career of Newton and let him get his shoulder rehabilitated for next season.
As for the defense, I’m highly convinced that I could’ve taken 11 insurance salesmen, put them in pads and they would’ve played better than what we saw yesterday. The turnover machine known as Jameis Winston completed 66 percent of his passes, threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns. The Carolina defense gave up several third and long plays to help the Bucs extend drives and take more time off of the clock and the schemes were so bad that Eric Washington wasn’t calling defensive plays for the second half.
Sure, Brady Hoke and Jeff Imamura are gone, but it doesn’t change the fact that Washington has repeatedly shown ineptitude since taking over as defensive coordinator. It will be in the best interest of the team to cut their losses early with him and let Rivera hold on until the end of the season just to call defense…and then fire him as soon as the clock strikes midnight after the Week 17 game. If that game wasn’t adding fuel to Ron’s hot seat, I don’t know what will. The only bright spot in Sunday’s embarrassment of a game was Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey rushed for 106 yards on 10 carries and added 55 receiving yards on nine receptions; totaling 161 scrimmage yards.
Preparing for the 2019-2020 Season
Moving forward, it may be a good idea to bench McCaffrey along with Newton to prevent an injury in games where there isn’t much at stake. Mathematically, the Panthers are still in the playoff picture, but the remaining opponents are the Cleveland Browns, Atlanta Falcons, and the New Orleans Saints twice. When you look at our losses this year to sub-par teams like the Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins, and Tampa. It’s easy to see that even one win against the Saints is unlikely. As of now, this is looking like an 8-8 football team.
This would be a good time to give the younger defensive guys like Jermaine Carter, Rashaan Gaulden, and Marquis Haynes more snaps to start preparing for next season, especially since most of the guys ahead of them are retiring anyway. Some of those aforementioned guys may end up starting next season if their positions aren’t addressed in the 2019 draft or free-agency (Gaulden and Haynes.) Where Carter needs to be ready to play at all times just in case he is asked is to move to outside linebacker to fill Thomas Davis‘ spot next season.
Unfortunately, Greg Olsen’s foot injury came back to haunt him and he has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. This is a huge blow to the heart of Panthers fans since this very well may be his last season as an active member on the roster. In the mean-time, this would be a great time to coach up the heir-apparent Ian Thomas and get him to be the best player that he can possibly be. Thomas is coachable, receptive and willing to make changes in his game. It’ll be interesting to see what he can do learning from an all-time great.
Jameis Winston 3 yd TD pass to Adam Humphries (7-0 Bucs)
Cairo Santos 35 yd FG (10-0 Bucs)
Cam Newton 8 yd TD pass to Christian McCaffrey (10-7 Bucs)
Jameis Winston 13 yd TD pass to Chris Godwin (17-7 Bucs)
Graham Gano 37 yd FG (17-10 Bucs)
Peyton Barber 1 yd TD run (24-10 Bucs)
Cam Newton 10 yd TD pass to Devin Funchess (24-17 Bucs)
- Owner David Tepper definitely has every reason to clean house in regards to coaching; the only one that stays should be Norv Turner
- Sit Cam; he’s hurt.
- Use McCaffrey and other starters sparingly
- Let defensive rookies/young guys get snaps
- Pull the plug on the season, it’s a wrap. Start planning for the draft and free agency.