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Panthers Eliminated From The Playoffs…So What’s Next?

12/27/2016 at 11:44 | April Albritton // Intern Writer
Jan 1, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA;  Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart (28) leaps as he runs with the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Carolina Panthers 17-16.
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in 13 years the two teams that competed in the Superbowl will not make the playoffs.  The Broncos saw their playoff hopes dashed after being dominated by Kansas City.  Von Miller, you can do another turn on dancing with the stars because you’ve got some time on your hands(#stillbitter).

The same of course can be  said for the Carolina Panthers, a team with so much preseason promise.  The Panthers have performed during several games to give fans hope for better things next season.

Here are my thoughts on what offense needs to do in the off season.  Look for the defensive side on Thursday.

The last three seasons were an exciting time to be a Panther fan, never in this young teams history have they strung together back-to back-to back winning seasons.  A big part of those winning  seasons was our 100 million dollar quarterback,Cam Newton.  He was electric, vibrant, personable, and a hell of talent last year. He is still all of those things, but its been a rough one.  I truly believe Superman Cam will be back next year, but the front office, the line, and Cam himself need to work hard in the off season to make sure things are in place by OTA’s

Time OFF? Yes these guys need a vacation, with Cam expecting his second little one I’m sure he wants to spend time with his family, he deserves it he is a human being, he gets to breathe and rest.  All suggestions below should come later in the season.

The front office needs to sit down with Cam and let him know they are investing in his protection.  With all the injuries to the tackle and guard positions, it seemed like Carolina finally settled into a rhythm with their third string line.  HOWEVER, that does not mean you chug on with that lineup. GM Dave Gettleman has a prime opportunity to do some shopping for free agents. It worked well when the Panthers picked up Michael Oher to protect Cam’s blind side in 2015.  Go back to the well again, everyone benefits with veterans and experience on the line.

That being said… Cam, Cam, Cameron I need you to get the ball out quicker.  Taking 8 to 10 seconds in the pocket gets your ass lit up, it takes the offense out of their rhythm, and is probably the reason Cam is battling a shoulder injury.  It’s no secret that Cam’s mechanics have been sub par this year, not all of that can be placed on his injured shoulders, but Newton should take some blame and he does.  In the off season I think Cam needs work on trying  to throw off his back foot less, and staying upright and balanced.  I think that Cam also should get back to fundamentals, working with receivers on short routes to get the ball moving surgically down the field.  Brady and Manning were masters of working the clock and moving the ball down the field in pressure situations.  No Hail Mary’s just methodically working the field.  Cam’s name deserves to be with theirs, but work needs to be done.

Last but not least Cam and his line needs to sit down and apologize to each other.  Maybe go on a camping trip, shoot bear, make some smores, and share fashion tips really anything that recreates the bond they had in 2015. I just didn’t see the chemistry even when they won games this season.

Things to look for in the off season

Which way are the Panthers leaning in the draft?

The Panthers have several elite players that are getting up in age.  Jonathan Stewart turns 30 this year and Greg Olsen turns 32 in March.

Cameron Artis Payne is still a bit of a mystery because the team hasn’t really utilized him much this season. I thought he was drafted to eventually become a successor.  CAP  is the low man on the totem pole and with  quality backs like Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, and Christian McCaffery on the board will the Panthers look to one of these guys if available?

Greg Olsen will be a difficult void to fill, that’s why I suggest the Panthers start now, replacing a player like Greg O will be trial and error…. Unless

Kelvin Benjamin as a TE.  He’s got the stature, if he can turn that extra 25 lbs he’s packed on into muscle it’s not a bad option.  Benjamin would need to work on his blocking skills and toughness( which I think comes from fear of repeat injury), but with Greg as a mentor it could be done.

If the Panthers move Benjamin to TE, grab Alshon Jeffery in the free agency to pair with Devin Funchess and Ted Ginn Jr.

What do you think? What is the Panthers biggest need in the off season, comment below.

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