Word on the hot Spartanburg street is that the Carolina Panthers offense is looking pretty rough so far at training camp. Passes are hitting the dirt, or hitting hands then hitting the dirt, and the defense is throwing a daily pick-nic in their own honor. As a result, the knee jerk reactions and the hot takes are already flying around like mosquitoes in a bog garden from those who love a good opportunity to spout off about nonsense.
Ask anyone who has actually played football at any level of the game where summer practices are a part of life, and they will tell you that this is normal. Because it is. Playing defense isn't necessarily a matter of timing. You have assignments, you stick to them, and it amplifies any slight error the offense might commit. Offense however is highly choreographed. Everyone needs to make it to certain spots at certain times or plays fall apart. Combine this with the fact that it has been six months since anyone caught or threw a live pass to anyone else on the field, and it really shouldn't shock you to hear that the defense looks great right now.
You've also got some miscellaneous factors to throw in there, most of which have to do with not getting hurt. Linemen aren't going to maul each other the way they do during the season because they don't want to hurt each other. Also, speaking as a former lineman myself, it is HOT out there. You are constantly tired. You are lugging around far more weight and are far more overheated than anyone else. You are going to have a hard, if not impossible time going 100% all day every day in the summer. Finally, the biggest factor is not showing your hand while all the fans and media are around. You can't let your tricks out of the bag from a playcalling perspective lest they end up in the wrong hands.
I think most of our readers on this site don't need this reminder. I think we all recognize that rust has to be shaken off, and that we should be focusing on the healthy return of some key guys that we missed like crazy last year. But, with the spotlight resting heavily on our shoulders as the Super Bowl runner ups, and the team in the best shape to make a return to the big game, we are going to face heavier analysis than we might otherwise, and should be prepared for that.