Like many panthers, I have been really frustrated with this season. Our offense is putrid and our defense is not much better. However, I think we have to resources to get a playoff caliber team next season. Here is an analysis of our team overall and some changes we should make this offseason.
1. Coaching – Fox needs to go.
a. I have been a big supporter of Fox over the years. He has always been a very good defensive-minded coach that has good relationships with his players. With that said, Its very obvious that he needs to go. Throughout the years, he has shown that he lacks the ability to motivate his players (just look at the whole Julius Peppers situation).
>b. Ron Meeks is a good defensive coach that I could see staying in Carolina in the future.
c. Jeff Davidson is probably the worst offensive coordinator in the league (maybe ever). I cannot see how he was ever an upgrade over Dan Henning. His play calling is very predictable and lacks any kind of creativity.
d. Who should we bring in? Bill Cowher is a super bowl caliber coach that has shown interest in coaching Carolina. He is a defensive minded coach that can put together a solid coaching staff. Russ Grimm would be a great offensive coordinator that understands how to run an offense that can run the ball behind solid offensive line play.
2. Quarterbacks – Luck isn’t the answer (IMO)
a. Unlike most panther’s fans, I still think we should stick with Jimmy Clausen as our quarterback of the future. I know that he has been awful this season, but I think it’s a result of a combination of poor coaching, poor offensive line play, and a young receiving corp. Although it has been rare, Jimmy has shown flashes of his abilities. Some QBs just need time to develop. I think it’s a mental thing for Jimmy, which can be fixed with sitting back and watching a Veteran QB play. I know Andrew Luck is a great NFL prospect, but so was Jimmy when he came out of Notre Dame. Instead of drafting Luck, we should trade our first pick to the Bengals for their first, their second, and QB Carson Palmer. Palmer is a proven NFL QB that can lead us to the playoffs. Meanwhile, he can mentor Jimmy Clausen into being our Quarterback of the future. We can use our drafts picks for other needs.
3. Running backs – Bring them all back
a. Re-sign Deangelo Williams and team him with Stewart/Goodson. We would have one of the best running back corp with this three headed monster.
>4. Wide Receivers – good but young.
a. We have a solid young receiving corp that will get better with time and good coaching. Brandon Lefell and David Gettis have shown that they will be starters soon.
b. I have always been a big fan of Steve Smith. I really wasn’t happy with him pointing fingers at Clause considering that he hasn’t really been "Steve Smith" in the last 2 seasons. He is still a great offensive threat that opposing defenses will have to plan for so I think we should keep him.
5. Offensive line – Need to get healthy
a. In my opinion, this has been out biggest problem this season. Going into the season, we sported on the best offensive lines in the NFL. Though their run blocking has been solid, Pass blocking has been ugly. O-line should be better with the return of RT Otah and LG Wharton. Kalil is a good center and should be back. LT Gross has been a BIG disappointment this season, hopefully he will be better in the future.
b. We have a good starting solid 4, but we definitely need to acquire a good LG and build depth through the draft/free agency.
6. Defensive line – Eh..has been average
a. Pass rush/run defense has been mediocre at best. Defensive tackles are bad and Brown/Brayton have been ineffective. If we bring in Cowher, our defense will probably switch to a 3-4 base. We need a acquire a big Defensive nose tackle that can stuff the run in the middle. Someone like Haloti Ngata, but I doubt the Ravens will let him walk. We should draft Bowers with our first pick and team him up with Charles Johnson on the edges.
7. Linebackers – Best part of our team.
a. Great corp highlighted by the leader of our team MLB Jon Beason. If we switch to the 3-4, we can showcase our talent at that position. Dan Conner/Jon Beason would be the inside Linebackers along with Thomas Davis/James Anderson on the outside.
8. Secondary – Desperately need a shutdown corner.
a. Needs to get a lot better if we want to return to the playoffs. Godfrey has been pretty good, but everyone else haven’t played well. We should sign someone like Champ Bailey, who looks like he is going to be let go by the Broncos. Bailey is still a pro bowl caliber CB that would bring much needed veteran leadership to our defense. Pair him with Gamble, who is still serviceable, and Richard Marshall at the nickel. We should draft a starting-caliber safety in the second/third round.
Like I said before, I think we have a solid foundation of young talented players that we can build around to become a super bowl team. If Richardson is really serious about fixing the team, he should be willing to spend the money needed to build a decent team. Personally, I feel that he has really let us fans down this year. Anyways, This is my first post, so please give me some feedback of what you guys think. Take care guys!