This is only the first of many articles I plan to write concerning the Carolina Panthers. My name is Ryan, and let me start my stating that I am a 20 year old Carolina Panther fanatic, who eats, sleeps, and breaths Carolina Panther football. Like a librarian loves books, I love talking about the Cats. There is no doubt my articles will hold a strong Panther bias, but at the same time I do understand the league and how the game is played quite well, and my whole purpose, is to explain to you, the readers, the meaning behind our Organizations decisions.
Now that the intro is out of the way, lets get down to business. Dave Gettleman and the Carolina Panthers , though it may not seem like it, are on track to build a dynasty! You might think its crazy, and you can disagree, but you cannot argue with the facts!
#1- You cant start without mentioning the young man under center for us, Cam Newton. In 2013 Newton passed for over 3300 yards, and accumulated 30 total TD's (24 passing, 6 rushing). He ended the year with an 89 QB rating, one of the best in the league, and along with that, we saw Newton mature into the QB everyone wanted him to be.
After picking up Newton's 5th year option from his rookie contract, Dave Gettleman and Ron Rivera essentially handed the reigns over to the young man. Our front office has no doubts Cam is our future, and neither do I. Going into his fourth year #1 will be THE guy on offense. Now that Gross and Smith are both gone, there will be no second guesses as to who is in charge of the offense. I cant forget to mention that along with last season, Cam has been shaking off defenders with a bum ankle...that goes back to his college days at Auburn to say the least. It will simply be scary to see Newton sitting at 6'6 250, moving on the field and his ankle being the last of his worries. Cam is very confident going into 2014, and could very well be the year he joins the elite club of quarterbacks for years to come.
#2- My second point sits on the shoulders of our #2 ranked defense and Luke Kuechly. Im very excited to say that we will be returning arguably one of the best front sevens in the league. Our 12-4 record was due, in large part to our stifling defense and excellent play of our young middle linebacker. The panthers have established two young leaders with Cam (the face of the organization) and Luke (the I dont say much and let my play talk). Along with that our defense is still very young, with a nice mix of veteran players, that will help with their development on and off the field. Throw Roman Harper and Antoine Cason in with our young cornerbacks, and our defense looks better than last year. We lost Captain who was 5'8 and Mike Mitchell who played very well, but you have to understand almost anyone can thrive in a system like the panthers when your front 7 is so dynamic. This leads me to my next point...
#3- Free Agency: Who we Lost- Steve Smith, Brandon Lafell, Ted Ginn, Domenik Hixon, Jordan Gross, Captain Munnerlyn, Mike Mitchell, Qintin Mikell. Who we Got- Tiquan Underwood, Jericho Cotchery, Jason Avant, Ed Dickson, Roman Harper, Antoine Cason. Looks kinda like we replaced all of the major positions that we lost doesn't it? Other than loosing Gross thats how i see it. We replaced mediocre Brandon Lafell who had 627 yds and 4 tds, with Jerricho Cotchery who had 600 yds, and 10 tds with the steelers, and who also happens to be a great locker room veteran.
Steve Smith was released due to his decline in performance and age, but ultimately because we had to. Dave Gettleman is in the process of building a long standing team that can compete every year. You can only imagine that Smith who is 33, could easily be a distraction in a locker room where a young quarterback in Cam Newton has now been deemed the leader of the offense. We all loved Steve, he was and still is one of the meanest toughest players in the game, and he will retire a panther. Ginn was replaced by Underwood both had similar stats, and hold very similar attributes being fast and explosive.
The biggest pick up of them all is Ed Dickson TE from the Baltimore Ravens 6'4 240 pounds and has good speed. Anyone remember when Cam threw for 4,000 yards his rookie season when we had Jeremy Shockey and Greg Olson together? Coming off a lockout and no OTAs or mini camps, Newton had a lot of relief due to the two tight end set. Ed Dickson had only 237 yds in 2013, but what is impressive is his nearly 600 yard 2012 season with the Ravens. Olson and Dickson give Cam the comfort he needs, paired with receivers who equal our previous WR production, with more TD's and at a cheaper price. Dickson is also only 26 years of age, oh and don't forget DeAngelo Williams AND Jonathan Stewart will be healthy this upcoming season! WHAT!?
Draft/Future: Dave Gettleman has had the lovely pleasure of cleaning up the shit storm Marty Hurney left behind. With millions tied up in dead money ($8 million for John Beason to play for the giants) due to outrageous contracts. You wont see Gettleman pay to much for an average player that is replaceable. What we have seen him do is take no name players and have his team go 12-4... This leads to the draft, and everything that everyone has been talking about. I personally have no preference wether we go OT or WR with our first two picks. The WR talent will be higher than the OT/OL from what im guessing, and the draft is deep in both positions. Marqise Lee and Brandin Cooks are both favorites for our WR pick 1st round with the possibility of even Devante Adams from Fresno State. Both are glaring needs, but Gettleman has proven in the past doubling up on a position is quite effective.
There are no doubts in my mind Dave Gettleman and Ron Rivera, along with the talent we have and will get, will set the Panthers up for a successful season. Leading into 2015, the Panthers will be relieved of their dead money cap issues, and will be much more free to make moves in free agency. With our young very talented players, Dave Gettleman is slowly putting pieces together to create a DYNASTY. Rome wasn't built in a day, so I encourage Panther fans to listen! Look at the facts and do a little research, the blood always makes the wound seem worse doesn't it?
Sorry if the post was a bit long, like I said I hope this is the first of many, and want to recognize my plan is to dive into more detail concerning what I mentioned above, with my near future focused on the draft, free agency, and so on into the season. Thanks for reading and talk to me!