The Panthers ended the season with eight straight losses, and in the words of veteran tight end, Greg Olsen ‘This is about as rock-bottom as it gets’ after scoring only 6 points in a week 16 blow out which ended with a Colts victory and a final score of 6-38. Many questions arise in Carolina this offseason, which includes what’s going to happen with their star quarterback Cam Newton, who will be the head coach of this struggling team? One thing is for sure, and there has to be a change in Carolina soon if they want to compete at all in the NFC South.
Is There Any Heart?
Every Panthers fan still reminiscences about the days they went 15-1 and made it to the super bowl, but Panthers have been nowhere near that level since then. How can a team drop off that quickly? Anyone that has been to a Panthers game lately would see that the Panthers have no heart in their game. While watching the week 16 beat down against the Indianapolis Colts in the bleachers, I noticed a lot more than what you could see on your tv.
No one hyping their teammates up and everyone walking on and off the field, the Panthers seemed like a ghost team… no soul at all. In a tweet from former Carolina defensive end, Charles Johnson, he mentioned, ‘I feel bad for the culture of the panthers. I just see it when everyone’s heads drop after a score. Where is getting on each other? Calling each other out?…’ which means people clearly see this team needs leader, right now.
What’s Gonna Happen With Cam?
Kyle Allen busted, and Will Grier doesn’t look like the future of the franchise, so what do you do? Cam Newton clearly brings a spark into this team, but it’s hard to keep a quarterback that hasn’t been healthy since the 2015-16 campaign. Cam brings a $21.2 million cap hit coming into the 2020 season, which is a lot for someone who has been injured as much as Cam has, so the Panthers have a decision that will be a headliner through free agency and throughout the league. Do you keep Cam and take the cap hit, or do you cut/trade Cam and start another quarterback.
Cam’s cap hit is relatively small for a starting quarterback, though. But a strong market of quarterbacks in free agency with potential names including Marcus Mariota, Phillip Rivers, Jamie’s Winston, etc. means it could be tempting to restart with a new quarterback. But as mentioned earlier, the Panthers need leadership, and there’s no one that fits that role better than Cam Newton himself. It’s clear Cam wants Carolina, but does Carolina want Cam?
Who’s Going To Be HC
Long-time head coach Ron Rivera is gone, so who’s up next? The Panthers have shown interest in a few different coaching candidates. They’ve recently interviewed former Green Bay Packers HC, Mike McCarthy. The Carolina Panthers have also shown interest in New England Patriots OC, Josh McDaniels, which has coached that dominating Patriots team for a while now, but there will most likely be a wait for him with the Patriots season continuing in the playoffs.
Baltimore Ravens OC, Greg Roman, is another promising candidate that has gotten some recognition this year, leading that strong Ravens offense. With the final candidate for the Panthers, they might look outside the NFL and into college football at Baylor’s HC, Matt Rhule. He has completely turned around the Baylor program a 1-11 team his first season just two years before this season, where they went 11-2 and played in the Sugar Bowl this year. There are, of course, a few more candidates.
It’s hard to look at the positives for the Carolina Panthers when there are so many negatives. Luke Kuechly is beginning to come out of his prime, Cam Newton’s future is shaky, a new head coach is needed, the run defense is historically terrible. Its clear changes need to happen in Charlotte, North Carolina.