So...everyone is wondering what needs to be done to set the Panther’s ship back on course and going forth under full steam. With the team having a bye before their next foe, it’s time to reflect upon the team on field performance and to initiate any actions necessary to address problems, real or imagined.
When looking at the Panthers organization, my background has me looking at the whole as if it were a military command. The owner, general manager, coaches and staff are the officers. Jerry Richardson would be the Captain, Marty Hurney the Engineer, and Ron Rivera the Navigator. The players are enlisted personnel with key players being senior enlisted personnel. Positions of leadership amongst the enlisted personnel are acquired by way of position, experience, and/or on field performance. Cam Newton by way of position would be the Command Master Chief, team captains would be CPOs (chief petty officers), and team veterans would be LPOs (lead petty officers).
My suggestion is that the time is ripe for the ship’s captain to have a short, heartfelt, and most importantly candid chat with the command master chief. JR needs to sit down with Cam and have a man to man examination of what will be expected of him for the remainder of the season. I would expect the following talking points would be addressed:
1. Do your job. You won’t be expected to carry this team, but you will be expected to keep your head up, be engaged, and stay positive. Leaders don’t carry the whole load, they identify an objective and execute a plan to make it happen while best using all the assets available.
2. Focus. This is football season. You have all off-season to conceive, promote and commit to non-football projects. All these opportunities are opening to you because of your football prowess. Your future is tied directly into your success as a football player…so focus.
3. Last but not least, lose the superman. Celebrate your successes on the field. Jump up and down, give high fives, give a ball to a young fan, but loose the contrived, choreographed, overused gesturing. Look at those playing your position in the past. Do they draw attention to themselves or do they speak of great team and great teammates? Your superman act separates you from team and teammates, rather than melds you and them into a single unit.
The points given address small, identifiable problems that, left uncorrected, can create obstacles to future success. However, if Cam will embrace these changes, he can set sail on a pleasure cruise into the future that ends with his retirement being one of sailing off into the sunset of a Hall of Fame career.