I'm starting to believe that we're our own worst enemy. Why do I say that you might add??? Because we're never satisfied with our team and rightfully so as of late we haven't been given anything to be satisfied about. 1-11 is a tough pill to swallow, but it wouldn't be as tough if we could see steps towards progress, something to hang our hats on in the coming years. There are however some bright spots.
Let me start with what I'm happy with… heading into the future for the Carolina Panthers.
1. The end of the John Fox Era (and subsequent coaches) - This Era had its share of ups and downs. At one point during his tenure we were a play or two from winning the Super Bowl, and I even thought back then that if John would have mixed in a few more younger players, then we would have road a wave of dominance in the NFL a lot longer. Loyalty is his short coming. Unfortunately it was also packed with many, many lows which I won't dwell on (1-11), I'll just say that it's definitely time to make a change. I like Meeks system but I can see him leave as well... it's time to clean house, Spring cleaning baby=)
2. Youth Movement in Carolina - They have to grow up sometime and when they do watch out. Plenty of young talent to be impressed by for example Clausen: I know that he shouldn't be the starter next year... I got that, but we should definitely hold on to him, let him sit and watch, until we see substantial increase in his progression. A new QB is definitely in the cards albeit (draft, FA, or both). Lafell & Gettis with sound QB play should increase their numbers tremendously. Our running backs are elite, Hardy on the defensive line... just need more game experience, solid contributor while on the field regardless of sacks. Stud Line backing core... what more can I say, and some sparks in the secondary.
3. New Coaching Staff - This speaks for it self... not ALL change is good, but this one definitely will rejuvenate this team for next season. I'm a little bias towards a passing offense, because I have seen a grind it out offense for sooo long that it would be a welcomed change in my book. I also believe that the team is geared for it (player wise) with the right QB under center and the right offensive coordinator calling the shots (can you say Oregon Boyz & Girlz.
With so much to look forward to for next season I ask this questions which really seem to aggravate or should I say agitate and divide Panther fans… and that's “who we should draft?” People say all kinds of things about who the scouts say choose and this person compares to that, but this is my post so I'll put this out there. Who “I” think we should take in the up coming draft.
*** Andrew Luck (Stanford) with the first overall pick in the NFL draft.
Why??? As added insurance in case Jimmy is not who we think he is (Denny Green… wait for it, , , , never mind). Andrew Luck is one of the most highly regarded NFL prospects to come out in years at the QB position, so it’s a no brainer to select him. Deemed ready to start and pick this organization up and run with it should Jimmy fail. Financially Jimmy was purchased as a bottom bargain discount 6mil for 4 years (I could be wrong but I’m close). With Clausen, Luck, and Pike on the roster we should be set at QB for years to come. The competition to be the starter would be so significant that it could only help the team and spark this organization. If the competition is close… let Jimmy open the season and from there let the chips fall where they may. If you’re a Jimmy fan wish him luck on the remaining games…
* Why not Cam Newton? The guy is phenomenal but one year isn’t enough to really gage what you’d have as and NFL Quarterback. After the debacle with QB’s this year in Carolina the last thing you’d want to do is… the very next year you do the same thing. However(kama) if Cam Newton polishes off the rest of this season, collects ALL the hardware and measures out better at the combine… then who needs Luck???
*** Clausen wins 1 Game, we finish #2 overall: Pick – Cam Newton (Auburn).
For all of the above things I mentioned about Cam Newton this would be the ideal place to choose him, any later and he’ll be gone with another organization. The league realizes the QB talent crop coming in that’s why there are sooo many bottom feeders this year. If you don’t believe me watch Minnesota the rest of the year. Don’t get it confused Cam Newton can flat out play and he’s definitely talented… he is hyped and for good reason, and he’s played through adversity all season long against hard hitting SEC opponents. Andrew Lucks conference isn’t as tough and he hasn’t had to play the schedule that Cam has had to endure. If you don’t think he measures up then check the stats… and remember this is against some of the best football minds in college. Compare the stats of both QB’s… and you’ll see why I say what I say.
*** Clausen wins 2 Game, we finish #3 overall: Pick – A. J. Green (Georgia).
Carolina receives the biggest and brightest prospect at wide receiver who stretch the field, can open up the run game for double trouble, and remove the cancerous double & triple team on Steve Smith. Selecting A.J. Green this high forces the Offensive Coordinator to open up his play book a little more down field. It allows Steve Smith to float in the offense in the slot or outside with Gettis or Lafell in the slot. The team would have to be respected in both aspects of the game which would make defending the pass that much more difficult. I know the QB has to be able to get him the ball but another year, new coach, new coordinator, and an improved O-line should help. Remember you don’t have to do too much this guy will go and get it. “What about Edwards?” he’ll have a chance to prove himself in the off season.
* Why not Peterson or Prince? Because with the money invested in Gamble (all 53 million of it), the play of Munnerlyn, and possible cheaper free agent Cornerbacks on the market… why reach. Are we really ready to spend close to 100 million in two corners??? It’s the offense that’s offensive, and a lack of a consistent pass rush.
*** Clausen wins 2 Games, we finish #4 overall: Pick – Da’Quan Bowers (Clemson)
Carolina receives a powerful beast of a defensive end (6’4, 280 pound) who can explode to the Quarterback, knock Offensive linemen off the ball, and blow plays up in the back field. Bowers have been doubled teamed all year and still produced huge numbers. Pairing him alongside Charles Johnson and we have bookend defensive ends flying to the ball disrupting pass plays (real Carolina defense). This move enables the team to expend the contract of Tyler Brayton, and will improve our much maligned pass rush. Add Hardy and Brown into this rotation and look out…
* Why make this move when you have Hardy & Brown? Brown has yet to produce consistently, and Bowers will give Hardy all he can handle for that starting position. Other defensive prospects don’t have the measurables or not graded as high.
*** Clausen wins 3 to 4 Games; we finish #5 or #6 overall: Pick – Best Player Available / trade down.
Defensive tackles are not as strong this year or offensive linemen. Don’t get me wrong but none warrant a top 5 pick. I say trade down because we could land Julio Jones late first round and a strong DT/OL second rounder.
Basically don’t put all of your hopes and prayers into one player (Andrew Luck) when there are many players who can help our organization out. If you know what’s available then you as true fans wouldn’t be looking for you team to loose any game, but that’s what we do when we keep screaming Luck. All of these prospects help so lets win a few games!!!
Instead of screaming for Luck… cheer your team on even through this abyss of a season… Go Panthers!!!