Panther Fan Poll: Pick the New Team Captains

Scott Cunningham

The Panthers select six players every season to serve as team captains. The Panthers lost two of their six from the 2013 season so replacements will need to be selected.

Carolina Panthers announce captains for 2013 season - Cat Scratch Reader

Newton is joined by Luke Kuechly, Steve Smith, Jordan Gross, Ryan Kalil and Thomas Davis. None of the other selections should come as a surprise based on what players said this offseason. It has become clear that Kuechly is the leader of the Panthers' defense, and that he would get a patch -- but there were major questions about Cam, as it appeared he would be up against long-standing offensive veterans.

Remember the Panthers changed the rules last offseason in order for Cam Newton to be a captain without dropping either Jordan or Smith:

Ron Rivera announced earlier in the week that changes would be made to the captaincy structure. Rather than picking two players from offense, defense, and special teams -- six players would be named, regardless of position. This opened up the door for Newton, and avoided any awkwardness. It was a shrewd move by the organization.

We pretty much know the make up of the team so let's predict the two replacements. Of course picking two players makes for a hard poll (TWSS). So we will need to break this into two polls, first picking one for the offense and then a Part 2 post for the defense.

So the leading contenders on offense to join QB Cam Newton and C Ryan Kalil as team captains are:

1. TE Greg Olsen

Carolina Panthers WRs for 2014: King & McNutt, or Kelvin Benjamin and The Replacements? |
The Panthers have a pair of captain vacancies after the departures of Smith and Jordan Gross. One of them should go to tight end Greg Olsen, who’s one of the team’s best players and a good representative of the organization on and off the field. Olsen has never been a captain. It’s time.

I couldn't say it any better. Olsen is starting his fourth season (8th in the NFL) with the Panthers and figures to be one of the key cogs in the offense.

2. FB Mike Tolbert

Starting his 3rd season in Charlotte, Tolbert has brought a lot of energy and diversity to the fullback position. He leads by example and will take over the #1 touchdown dancer position vacated by Steve Smith. He might as well take his Captain's spot as well.

3. RB DeAngelo Williams

The eighth year running back is the most veteran of the offensive players on this list. He has been a leader both on and off the field, leading the NFL's breast cancer awareness effort. He appears to be primed for a big season in the Panther offense given the added inspiration of a heavy heart due to the loss of his mom.

Two other players getting consideration was 5th year Panther OT Garry Williams but Williams only has 21 starts in 40 games and is no guarantee of starting on offense or special teams.

Though Byron Bell has started 41 of 47 games he's worn a Panther uniform in three seasons he also lacks the tenure to be a Team Captain; I'll leave it at that.

So cast your vote for the new Panthers team Captain on offense.

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