As fans of the Carolina Panthers we all know something we are notorious for.....Conservatism...Lack of Creativity...Cheap ownership. While all of those are true to an extent, I think there are a few problems that the Carolina Panthers will have to change in order to be successful in the future. More after the jump.
2011 gives the Panthers new hope. A new coach will be here along with a new staff. Maybe the Panthers will get "Lucky" with their no.1 pick. But no matter how many new, shiny players and coaches we get, one of the many things that needs to be drilled into this team. The Steelers game gave many indications what has been wrong all year long!
Execution: Jimmy Clausen was not the blame for this loss. I don't care what anyone says. I saw a young Quarterback that showed some progression against one of the best defenses in football. His throws at the beginning of the game were good enough to be completed. But if your receivers continually drop passes then those are opportunities are squandered. Granted some of the play calls were horrendous, but you still have to execute. Jimmy could not get in any kind of rhythm. That wildcat play on 3rd and 2 was a crazy call but wasn't impossible to pick up with our run attack. For once Armanti should have been there/ At least he could have thrown if needed. Or put Stewart in backfield. He is a power back. You have to execute the plays called. Clausen still made some bonehead plays as expected but it wasn't all him. The O-line broke down on a few of those passing downs allowing defenders to come through unscathed. Even if Luck comes and becomes the starter, if the team doesn't help him then he will end up like Clausen. Thats just the bottomline! In fact Matt Millen said it best "This team is beating themselves!" And its true!
Lack of Discipline- Ok I understand football is an emotional game but giving up easy yards for stupid penalties is ridiculous! 59 Nic Harris running his mouth and pushing that Steeler to negate a penalty giving the Steelers a free first down! You can't do that against good teams becasue they will make you pay. Anyone remember when DeAngelo Hall helped the Panthers to a victory because he got into it with Smith. Its 4th and 1 and we have to burn a timeout because we have too many men on the field. 2 false start penalties to kill a great drive in Pittsburgh territory. Not playing the ball ( Richard Marshall) which in turns leads to pass interference giving the Steelers the ball at the 1 yard line! In the words of Keyshawn Johnson "Cmon man!"
Attention to detail- Our team misses the little things. They always appear a step behind. Receivers not turning around looking for the ball. Running the wrong routes. Not filling the gaps on a run play or special teams. Missing sure tackles that should be sacks or tackles for a loss. Catching the football on a punt return(Thanks Captain). Not fumbling on kickoff return when your team still has a chance to score. Knowing the playcall coming out of the huddle! Picking up the blitz! Need I say more. The great teams do the little things right.
Aggressiveness-The Panthers are known for playing not to lose. I hate that. I loathe when we get a lead and we just sit on it. No matter how much the lead is. The Steelers are still throwing on a 3rd and 19 with a 27 point lead. The Panthers would have called the patented draw play we know and love. Its 3rd and 6, 10 yards out from the endzone and you run! Take a shot at the endzone. What did we have to lose! We are not PhilIy. We weren't coming back to win. I understand that being conservative has its place, but we have aired on it too much. So much that it has lost us more games than it has won.
WE are young. WE have talent. WE have the no. 1 pick in the draft. WE have lots of money and cap space. WE will have a new coaching staff. If WE can clean up these and other little issues, then I see no reason why this team can't go to the postseason for years to come. Panther pride forever!