Despite all of the negatives we have gone through this preseason, I'm beginning to feel a bit of optimism going into the regular season this week. Sure there are questions, but how many teams don't have any questions. Here are 5 reasons I am optimistic the Panthers will have a great season.
This could be argued both ways, but out of current active coaches John Fox has the fifth highest winning percentage at .563% and 7th in number of playoff appearances. Regardless of your opinion he has lead the panthers to more post season appearances that the rest of the team's history (3 in 7 years versus 1 in 7 years).
Great Running Game
With DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, and Mike Goodson carrying the ball and lead blocker Brad Hoover, the Panthers running game is second tier to none. Even if Stewart misses some of the season, I have high confidence in the others to pick up the slack. Someone mentioned that Goodson is a poor mans Brian Westbrook. It will take time to determine, but I would argue that he could be just as good as Westbrook.
Filled Some Key Holes
With the lost of Ma'ake Kemoeatu at the beginning of training camp, we went through the preseason without a true space filler in the middle. We have since picked up Louis Leonard and Re'Shon Harris. We didn't have a need for all star DT and these two players seems to be the run stuffer we were looking for. Time will obviously tell if they are the answer, but I feel more confident about our defense with their addition to the team.
Basically I mean we are not in rebuilding mode. Again, going back to Fox, the team he puts in place from year to year usually spurs talk of our potential. And that is only what every team has as the beginning of the year, potential; some just have more than others. I'd rather be in contention from year to year than going through the pains of rebuilding.
This also means how do you define a successful season, if you only define it as a Superbowl win, then you are missing a lot from this sport. This is how I see it this year--having a winning season: great; making the playoffs: even better; winning 1 or more playoff game: now we are talking; winning the superbowl: priceless.
There you have it, five reasons I am looking forward to watching the Panthers play every weekend from now until the end of the year.