As I’ve been saying for the last two weeks, the Panthers aren’t expected to have a successful 2020 season, and their Week 2 loss to the Buccaneers showed us exactly that. We already knew going into this season that this is a team that won’t win a lot of games — that much is clear — but we should take solace in the fact that they at least appear to be a team that puts up a fight and doesn’t give up when the game appears to be out of hand.
This is a young team that will make a lot of mistakes that cost them games, and while that’s not a lot of fun to watch on a weekly basis, we have to remember that we’re in this for the long haul and that as long as we see the team getting better over time everything should be alright. Considering this is the first year of a rebuild under a completely new regime, that’s really all we can ask for.
Our Reacts survey users seemed to agree with that last week, as fan confidence was at 70 percent after the Panthers’ 34-30 loss to the Raiders in Week 1. Following their Week 2 loss to the Bucs, however, fan confidence has dropped back down into the 50s, coming in at a mildly disappointing 57 percent.
It’s expected for fan confidence to drop after a team loses, so I can understand where fans are coming from. It also doesn’t help that the offense looked terrible against the Bucs with four turnovers, so I get why some fans would vote no this week. I still voted yes, however, and it’s because I think the team is doing the one thing I wanted them to do when this season started, and that’s show some heart (or grit, or fight, or whatever you want to call it).
I am still pleased that over half of our participants seem to be buying into the process that Matt Rhule is bringing to the organization. It’s comforting to know that fans are willing to give this rebuild a chance, even if it doesn’t result in immediate success.
There’s still a sizable group of fans who need to see more out of the Panthers before getting their confidence back, and I totally get that. I still think it will be a while before we’re back to over 90 percent confidence again, especially if the team only wins four or five games. I understand where those who voted no are coming from, but I still have a hard time believing the future is doomed beyond this season after what we saw in the first two games of 2020 (even the turnovers in Week 2, because those are execution errors that are easily fixable).
I’ve said this every week, but I strongly believe we have to grade the Panthers on a curve this year because of the lack of a true offseason. That’s especially hard on a new roster and coaching staff, and when you factor in all the youth on the roster it’s a recipe for disaster. The fact the Panthers almost beat the Raiders in Week 1 (who beat the Saints in Week 2, by the way) is a testament to how far they’ve come given the circumstances they’ve endured.
And to be fair, I’m not confident the team will be good this year. This team is likely headed for a 4-12 or 5-11 record in 2020, but I think the future is very bright for the Panthers, assuming everything goes according to plan. There are going to be some expected bumps in the road, but I think the ride will be worth it in the long run.
What do you think, CSR? Are you confident that things are going to turn around for the Panthers? Why or why not?
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