We’re two weeks into the season and the Carolina Panthers have already shed most of their believers. Last week, 71% of fans were still confident the team was headed in the right direction. This week, that number has dropped to 35% of fans.
The biggest culprit here is the offense. Yes, injuries have affected both sides of the ball and are an unfortunately major storyline only three weeks into the 2023 season. But Frank Reich, Thomas Brown, and their staff were supposed to deliver an actual, purposeful, well-coached offense to the Carolinas for what felt like the very first time. Instead, the Panthers trail the rest of the league in a large number of basic statistical categories. The most concise picture of the current offense is shown by just two of those: the Carolina Panthers are tied for last in points per game and are last in passing yards per game.
It’s not surprising, between Reich, his staff, and first overall pick Bryce Young at quarterbacks, that 87% expected the offense to look better that it has to start the season.
It is unlikely that fans are going to feel significantly better after the team’s Week 3 date with the Seattle Seahawks. The team is expected to lose handily after traveling to the West Coast on a short week and Young is not expected to play after sustaining an ankle injury in the Week 2 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Even if the team does win, any optimism from that will be complicated by questions about whether Young is part of the problem. I don’t think he is, but we’ll dig into that more later today.
For now, know that you aren’t alone if you have question about this team. Fans are entering the believe-it-when-they-see-it phase of the season, a Panthers tradition like no other.