With the 2020 season right around the corner and most rosters near finalized, many teams are sliding under the radar. One being the Panthers, a team that quietly developed a young core of stars. As the season goes on the Panthers may not be able to win the division, or even make the playoffs, but watch out for an offensive showing that will outpace many throughout the NFL.
One of the most important things to look for when taking a look at an NFL roster is young talent and potential. In combination with a veteran presence, young talent can flourish and outperform all expectations as a key role in taking an offense to the next level. Luckily, the Panthers have got a lot of it. The Carolina Panthers are one of the best teams in terms of under 25 talent.With a young core consisting of Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Ian Thomas the Panthers are blooming with potential. Christian McCaffrey is the best all around running back in all of football with no debate. Averaging 4.8 YPC, McCaffrey was extremely efficient in the running game on his way to 1,387 rushing yards last year, but the production doesn't stop there. His contributions in the passing game were immense as well, totaling 1,005 receiving yards. McCaffrey is the workhorse back every team wants and is a great number one option in Carolina. To go alongside McCaffrey and the Panthers offense, D.J. Moore is a great number one receiver for the team. Despite dismal quarterback play, the 2018 first round pick garnered 1,175 yards on 87 receptions, as well as tacking on four receiving touchdowns despite missing most of weeks 16 and 17. Newly added quarterback Teddy Bridgewater should also prove to benefit especially if Bridgewater continues to throw large amounts of short and intermediate passes which fueled D.J. Moore's terrific statline. Now with newly signed offensive minded coach Matt Rhule and his high powered offense, D.J. Moore is set for an uptick in receptions and a pro bowl season. To close out the young core for the Carolina Panthers are the 24 year old Curtis Samuel and the 25 year old tight end Ian Thomas. Samuel and Curtis should serve as great compliments to the stars in the Carolina offense.
As a part of the new look offense for the Carolina Panthers, they have hired former college football head coach for the Baylor Bears, Matt Rhule. Rhule led a deadly offense at Baylor, leading the Bears to an 11-3 record and Panther executives are hoping he can do the same in the NFL. Seen as a leader for the players rather than a play caller, Rhule looks to lead and sharpen a young team which will push for the playoffs in the next few years. Also, the Panthers made the move to sign offensive coordinator Joe Brady who played a key role as an offensive assistant in a prolific LSU offense. His role turned a team with senior Joe Burrow, who at the beginning of the season had shown no signs of the great season to come and developing receivers, Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase into first round NFL picks will bode well for young receivers D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel. As a former receivers coach and wide reciever during his playing days. Watch out for yet another step up in the passing game for the Panthers offense.
Quarterback was the main problem for the Panthers last season after Cam Newton was forced to have surgery on his foot. Kyle Allen, a second year undrafted quarterback was forced to step in despite his limited game experience. While Kyle Allen may have performed well considering he was undrafted, he did not play to the standards expected of an NFL starter. Hence, the Panthers signed quarterback Teddy Bridgewater who has had stints with the Vikings as a starter for a couple of years and with the Saints, where he came in and rescued the season when Drew Brees was hurt. In the five games Teddy Bridgewater started last year he was incredible. With a whopping 67.9 completion percentage, almost eight points better than Kyle Allen's, you can expect an improvement throughout the passing attack. Teddy Bridgewater was also able to throw for nine touchdowns in that five game stretch and most importantly, compiling a 5-0 record. His ability to scramble and his agility around the pocket gives the Panthers a much needed improvement in the sack department behind an offensive line that gave up the most sacks in the NFL last year. If Bridgewater can continue to play the way he did with the Saints last year, watch out for Bridgewater to lead the Panthers up the offensive ranks as the season progresses.
With even an OK defense, the Panthers would be able to compete for a wild card spot, but at the moment all we can do is enjoy some high scoring. At least until the future, when hopefully the Panthers begin to add talent to the defensive side of the ball and become a playoff contender.
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