Are you worried about this young and inexperienced team losing close games? To put it in perspective, remember the following:
1.) We are losing games that are close, better to be close than to be out of reach. We are in the games to the very end which is a far cry from last season.
2.) We have seen improvement across the board despite the injuries. Play calling, QB, WR, TE, and CB. We are maintaining the LB play despite the massive injuries.
3.) Our young QB Cam Newton has performed brilliantly to this point. I don't see any reason why his growth won't continue to develop. Veterans seem to want to play with him, that speaks louder than anything else. Also, it takes many young players time to adjust to the speed of the game. I would argue that Cam hasn't even adjusted to that speed yet. That alone is a scary idea for other teams. Assuming his continued development, when the game speed slows down for Cam, watch out!
4.) This team is loaded with talent and is extremely young and inexperienced. Inexperience generally leads to silly mistakes and lapses in concentration. If this team is for real, which I suspect it is, then this tendency will reverse sometime towards the final 5-6 games of this season.
I am basing much of my optimism on the following stats. These stats do not prove my opinion, but I use them to support it. I may end up being wrong of course with egg on my face, but if this team ends up being that hot chick you ask out, date, and then find out she has no personality, then so be it. However, I think this hot chick has got some serious personality going for her.
Young teams with up and coming signal callers with talented yet inexperienced supporting casts generally tend to lose a lot of close games by 7 points or less. The following teams with losses listed were by 7 points or less.
2008 Green Bay Packers: 7 losses
2008 New Orlean Saints: 6 losses
2010 Detroit Lions: 6 losses
I believe that these three teams represent the talent level of the current Panthers team the best. Keep in mind that the 08' Packers didn't even have BJ Raji or Clay Matthews and Tramon Williams was still a backup. The 10' Lions were missing Stafford for 3/4 of last season. We still don't know how far the Lions will go this season, but they look like they are for real. The point is that the main core players of these teams was in place. Pieces would still be added before the Saints and Packers Superbowl runs, but the core is there. I believe that the core pieces of the Panthers is there.
You may disagree with these comparisons, however with the solid mix of talented young players on each of these three teams, I can't help but think that the Panthers are really close. Each loss is bothersome, but these might be some of the easiest losses I've ever had to endure when keeping some of these comparable teams and their future success in mind. Only time will tell.
My original idea heading into the season was that the Panthers would lose at least 6 games by 7 pts. or less. We are almost there.