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With Much Difficulty, Panthers Can Build With This Team


The football side of the story to the Panthers is bleak. The culture side of the story to the Carolina Panthers needs help too. To give an honest assessment of the Carolina Panthers situation takes a lot of hard truth to swallow. Overall, every position except kicker is a position of need. There is potential in certain places that feel good. Even that potential for the most part is either a free agent or still needs help. It is because the Panthers are in such a mess that they need to keep their efforts to grow intact. But the Panthers need to take what they have and develop a strategy that works with who is on the roster.

The bad news is it is an awful situation. The good news is the roster is not as terrible as it looks. Chuba Hubbard is coming nicely as a running back. The fact that he actually played in week 18 is proof that he's at least tough given how weak the offensive line is. The Offensive line, which has been the appetizer of every defensive line that played against the Panthers this season, showed some signs of life at times. The younger players on the offensive line were allowed to play later in the season and they didn't look too bad. This brings to mind questions about why the younger players weren't used earlier of course. One theory I have is that that may be part of why Joe Brady was sent home early. The players were rotated more frequently on defense than on offense. That is normal. But with offensive linemen, it is not that normal. It is something to consider.

The wide receivers were supposed to be elite in Carolina. They were not and that's not just the fault of quarterbacks or strategy. Unfortunately, even DJ Moore was disappointing with unnecessary drops at times that cost the team heavily. Terrace Marshall looked good early in the season. But alas he got hit by one of the many injuries on the team. The biggest problem on wide receivers is Robbie Anderson is in the wrong place. He is not a good fit for making a bad team into a good one. He can help bring a team from a good place to a great place certainly. Anderson has never had that chance in the NFL. But if he was in Green Bay or New England, his career would be much greater. Carolina and New York are not for him, just like they're not good places for most offensive players. The other receivers are mostly young and need to learn. I have no problem with being patient with them for the most part.

Tommy Tremble can be a good tight end. But he needs help. When the Panthers had Dan Arnold, that void was filled. Best of luck to the Panthers to try to patch that mistake to trade him. It could be a rough spot for the team for a while.

No matter what the Panthers are in need of a quarterback. If the team does trust Sam Darnold to be the future of the team, I'm actually cool with that. I don't expect all Carolina Panthers fans to agree. But at least he's not a quitter. He's shown enough promise at the beginning of the season to prove he can be good in the NFL in the right circumstances. Taking snaps behind the current Panthers offensive line is not the right circumstances for anybody. Just ask the best quarterback in Panther's history, Cam Newton. Darnold played like a rookie and showed a lot of mistakes. After two or three years (or for that matter, two or three months) of Adam Gase coaching him, that's a big improvement.

It is easy to blame everything on the owner and explain what David Tepper is doing wrong. It is hard to explain what David Tepper needs to do from here. David Tepper needs to spend the entire offseason having Matt Rhule's back in the media. The best head coach in team history was fired to grab Matt Rhule. Admitting it was a mistake to hire him is not going to change a bad situation into a good one. It is proving that David Tepper cannot be trusted to support his team, even if he is the one who brings them into the situation. Rhule made a mistake with Joe Brady but not with Phil Snow. David Tepper needs to start bragging more about what the team will look like in the future and how the players are working. He's a media guy not a football guy. Let the football guys do their jobs. David Tepper can boost the fan propaganda. And let's face it. There aren't many people in the NFL better at propaganda than David Tepper. If he stays focused on that, there is a chance the Carolina Panthers get excitement and fun back into the game.

They need to throw attention on the players who bring a priceless attachment to the community. Christian McCafferey and Jeremy Chinn are both unstoppable in connecting themselves to community culture through charity work. Putting emphasis on the Levine Center at the CMC Hospital, where Greg Olsen had a strong presence would carry a lot of weight. It would also help tremendously to work with Cam Newton as much as possible within the Carolina community, even if he ends up playing somewhere else. The guys Tepper needs to call on the phone are those kinds of community kings. Richardson was good at the football side. But David Tepper needs to be on the culture side of the team's success story.

One of the strongest recommendations I would make is to involve the team into children's development and education. Buying laptops for children in low-income households are needed. Kids also need playground time and social time with their friends since people are handling problems due to being on house arrest during the paranoidemic. The more the team does within the Carolina community, the more the players and coaches are going to want to be a part of the culture. Tutoring and mentorship would go a long distance. It is the example of cultural greatness that made people want to witness this league.

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