Carolina Panthers Monday morning optimist 10/8/12

Streeter Lecka - Getty Images

The time for excuses is over, and the time to step up is at hand.

Imagine for a second there's a team in the NFL who week-in, week-out allow players to have season highs, and career days against them. Ponder an organization who look so inconsistent from week-to-week that five weeks in there's still no knowing what, or who they are. On any other occasion the answer would be patently simple-- they are one of the worst teams in the league, and despite being our beloved Carolina Panthers the answer remains the same.

The Carolina Panthers are one of the worst teams in the NFL.

Forget Super Bowls, forget playoffs, heck at this rate forget .500. Want something optimistic? Here you go:

There's no game next week- Extremely optimistic

Let this be a wake up call for the 2012 Panthers. This team is utterly terrible right now. You're embarrassing yourself, embarrassing the fans, and it's atrocious that you have the audacity to wear 'Keep Pounding' on your collars, because from where I sit that isn't happening, and that team, those 'Keep Pounding' Panthers would never let an embarrassment like yesterday to happen.

It's comical to even look at the score and imagine this game was ever close. Thank you Captain Munnerlyn, for making this respectable, and thank you to the defense for not getting completely embarrassed.

The welcome has officially been worn out on Cam Newton as Heisman recipient, national champion, and 'winner'. Each week that passes it has gotten harder and harder to defend Newton's penchant for giving victories to the opposition. Last week all the focus was conveniently reflected away from the Sophomore QB, while arguments swirled around what a good decision is on 4th and 1 only in hushed tones did anyone dare talk about that Newton's screw-up lead to that decision needing to be made in the first place.

Cam Newton has worked wonders for the organization, but yesterday it might as well have been Jimmy Clausen circa 2010 playing QB, and I say that with no hyperbole. Newton wasn't just missing receivers, he was missing so badly that there were times you even wondered which wide-out he was targeting. There were at least three passes that should have been intercepted, and Cam ignored a wide-open Greg Olsen for so much of the day that one wondering if he'd ever see the giant TE. When Newton finally did the offense clicked, but it was all too fleeting.

Just like the three interceptions against the Giants, just like that critical fumble against the Falcons, yet again Cam Newton found a way to clutch defeat from the jaws of victory. First missing a wide open Ben Hartsock for what would have been the game-winning touchdown, and then with just under a minute left he fumbled the ball again to ensure there was no chance for a comeback.

Was the offensive line abysmal yesterday? Yes, at times they absolutely were. Cam Newton was sacked four times by the Seahawks, and was under pressure the entire day. Care to know who else was sacked four times on Sunday, and under pressure though his whole game? Andrew Luck-- his team won by the way, beating the Green Bay Packers. The time for excuses is over.

Optimistic

Luke Kuechly- Extremely optimistic

There is no justification for moving Kuechly back to the outside after yesterday's performance. It's a case of going with the hot hand, and with Uncle Luke as middle linebacker, he's the hot hand. Largely the reason why Marshawn Lynch had tied his season low, Kuechly was in the backfield, diagnosing plays, and moving all over the field. Finishing with 11 tackles and an interception should have been enough.

Charles Johnson- Extremely optimistic

CJ left his heart on the field on Sunday. The stat column shows just two tackles, but he was getting held, chipped, and doubled every down-- yet still managed to get consistent pressure on Russell Wilson. Unkind on the stat column again, kind on the eyes, it was a good day from Big Money.

Greg Hardy- Extremely optimistic

The other bookend played well also. Hardy was active as a pass rusher, and had a good day on special teams. Finishing the day as the second leading tackler, and adding a sack he was active on Sunday.

Sherrod Martin- Somewhat optimistic

Start him. It seems Martin has learned his lesson, and played well off the bench on Sunday..

Brandon LaFell- Somewhat optimsitic

Sorry your QB couldn't get you the ball more. This could have been a big day, yet it was relegated to 'ho hum'

Pessimistic

Cam Newton- Extremely pessimistic

No more whining, no more complaining, no more excuses. Fix it.

Steve Smith- Extremely pessimistic

For the first time in Steve Smith's career it sounds like apathy is creeping in. At times the fire was there, while on other occasions he dropped easy passes, and looked like his grudge match with the DBs was more important than winning the football game.

Garry Williams- Extremely pessimistic

I guess I'm missing something the team sees here. Bad in training camp, bad in preseason, bad when called on in the regular season.

Running backs- Extremely pessimistic

That was atrocious. Dropped easy passes, costly fumbles, and lackluster running. No wonder you got limited touches.

Rob Chudzinski- Extremely pessimistic

It's getting old. The read-option is cute, we get it... and I'm sure it's super fun to draw up plays using it. Problem is: It doesn't work as a base offense. It's failed more often than it's worked, and surely you're realizing that by now. Unless this is some grand scheme to stay in Carolina, I'm at a loss; because as it stands no team will hire you for head coach.

Overall outlook

When the Panthers lost to the Giants we got a ten-day reprieve from the madness. I'm thrilled to know we have two weeks to get over this game, personally I'll need every second of it. Talking about coaching, GMs, and organizational structure is all pointless. For better or for worse we're stuck with this team for the rest of 2012, so here's a novel concept: FIX IT.

No more read option madness, no more accepting lazy, passive play from linemen, no more settling for mediocrity. Time to put a piece of duct tape over 'Keep Pounding', because until this team show one iota of the heart and passion the 2003 Panthers had it's misplaced, and they don't deserve to have it don their uniforms.

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