It’s been a few weeks since I have last analyzed a sucky team in the Cleveland Browns. There have been so many sorry-ass teams since then I had lost track which teams to put on my prayer request list. Now that things have settled down for me a bit, I can successful zero in on another team that needs my help.
Enter the Carolina Panthers. Let the psychoanalysis begin…
Remember last year when the Panthers were considered a team to watch? This was the same team that started a Rookie of the Year at QB (Cam Newton). It had an explosive offense that ranked in the top half of the league, thanks to its two-headed running game and outstanding tight end production thanks to Jeremy Shockey and Greg Olsen. And WR Steve Smith had one of his best seasons.
This season, the Panthers are a complete mess. It’s offense haven’t been nearly as good as last year’s, ranking 22nd in overall offense. Newton looks like he is beyond the typical sophomore jinx. At times, dude has looked completely lost. Check out his games vs. Seattle, Dallas, Denver and the first Tampa Bay game.
Of course it is not all Newton’s fault. The running game has been underwhelming given the talents of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. The tight end production has not been the same since Shockey was not brought back. I also think coaching has a big hand in this. It returns the same offensive coaching staff from last season, so the offensive production should not have experienced such a precipitous drop-off.
As for the defense, well let’s just say it’s still not very good. Hell I’ll take it a step further, it blows chunks. For being such a defensive-minded coach, Ron Rivera is not doing a good enough job in shoring up the defense. Look at how many times that alleged defense blew games the last few years. Hell, look at last week’s game against Tampa Bay! Carolina had a 21-20 4th quarter lead, only to blow it and lose in overtime. In short, Carolina needs to nuke that defense in the worst way.
Oh yeah, and Carolina may want to draft better too.
It’s actually simpler than it looks.
First, the Panthers need to clean house. The house-cleaning started when owner Jerry Richardson fired general manager Marty Hurney. After all, it was Hurney who was responsible for a lot of what ails the Panthers.
Hurney gave defensive end Charles Johnson that ridiculous $72 million contract. He also didn’t find the need to bring back Shockey – you see how that move negatively impacted the offense. For some reason, Hurney chose to re-sign both Williams and Stewart instead of using one of the as trade bait to field more draft picks. And speaking of the draft, Hurney was just horrible. Armanti Edwards in the third round? Really?
Next they need to fire Rivera’s ass. I’m sorry, but dude’s in-game management failures and the failure of his coaching staff to maximize the talent of his players underscores that. Plus he doesn’t strike me as a leader of men.
I think Richardson needs to pony up the cash to bring in Bill Cowher. This team needs a kick in the ass as well as a dude players would love to play for. Cowher would bring both of those qualities.
Look, the good news is the Panthers have a good foundation. They have a franchise quarterback, a stud at wide receiver, and two good young backs that could be used to garner much-needed draft picks. Now they need the right shepherd to lead them in the right direction.
The doctor’s session is closed…