I have read many things about the Panthers this year on different websites. They all seem to either discount the Panthers completely or already call the season lost. In the last article that I wrote, I discussed what I thought the Big Cat was doing and I believe I was right on that one.
But here is my take on the team now…
Well here is what I think about our current situation from the perspective of a youth football coach. When you get a group of players, you have to get the best out of the potential of each player. A coach’s main job is to put players in a position to make plays and to motivate them to do so. This directly relates to the Panthers this year because of three factors:
1) With shorten off-season; the rookies have less contact time with the coaching staff to learn the system with enough depth to be confident and consistent in making plays. Players with a lot of natural instincts and abilities can do well until the coaching catches them up.
2) New coaching staff has less contact time to teach the system to all the players with the required depth to allow for complete game planning. They will not be able to use all the plays in the arsenal until all play groups are practiced enough that they can use anything to exploit the weakness seen in an opponent.
3) Time to “cook.” This means that they need reps as a unit to be familiar with each other’s ability to anticipate what the other teammates will do in certain situations. This only comes with time.
The soup analogy works best here. We have many ingredients by themselves look good. We need to add them in the soup in the right way (coaching), for the right amount of time (practice) and on the proper heat (games) to make the soup come out nice and tasty. This is the process of building a team.
As long as you show development in base play structures, you can then add and practice the other pieces of the playbook until you have it all. Some teams never develop the ability to use all of the playbook with the confidence to execute it. The example comes from the 1980’s Redskins play, counter trey. They ran that play so much because the practiced it until nobody had to think about anything, just execute your assignment. Then they forced the other team to stop it or they would run it until you could. Then they would move away from it to exploit your changes to stop it.
Given time to cook with the ingredient we have, we will be a successful football team in the future. I believe that as the season moves along and we can show improvement each game, we will win 5 or 6 games this season. The Panther should contend for the playoffs next year and many to come as long as they follow this plan.