Do you remember when Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis caused a stir last week when he said that he believes the Panthers can be the #1 defense in the NFL this season?
Well, he's not alone because cornerback Captain Munnerlyn feels the same way.
At least that's what he's saying when asked how he feels about the potential for the upcoming season.
"It’s going to be scary how good we can be. And I’m excited about this year. I feel like we can be the top defense in NFL football," Munnerlyn said during an interview on WFNZ.
-Josh Alper, Pro Football Talk
I'm not going to criticize Munnerlyn -- or Davis, for that matter -- for being overly optimistic. (I'll leave that task up to Mr. Dator.) I am, however, going to agree with Mr. Alper and say that moving up 17 spots from 18th in points allowed to 1st isn't necessary for the Panthers to improve on their 7-9 mark from last season.
Minimal improvement would make a big difference for a team that finished 18th in the league in points allowed last season, though. The Panthers don’t need to wind up as the best defense in the league for the team to win more than seven games and challenge for a playoff spot.
Unless the defense completely tanks (which isn't likely given the pieces they added in the offseason), the offense -- barring any major injuries -- should be good enough in 2013 for Carolina to win more than seven games.
There are legitimate concerns that the offense won't be as productive under new offensive coordinator Mike Shula as they were during Rob Chudzinski's tenure, but with the weapons they have -- Cam Newton, Steve Smith, Greg Olsen and DeAngelo Williams just to name a few -- the 2013 Carolina Panthers should be good enough on both sides of the ball to win at least eight games, if not more.
How good they will be in 2013 is still up in the air, but kudos to both Davis and Munnerlyn for setting goals for themselves and their teammates, even if they aren't absolutely necessary for the team to succeed.
What do you think Panthers fans? Do you think the Panthers can have the #1 defense in the NFL? Give us your thoughts in the comments!