For the first time since 2008, the Carolina Panthers are over the .500 mark with a record of 5-3. The last time they had a winning record, they were in the playoffs. Only seven players are currently listed on the roster that were on that team; running back DeAngelo Williams, linebacker Thomas Davis, wide receiver Steve Smith, Center Ryan Kalil, guard Travelle Wharton, left tackle Jordan Gross and defensive end Charles Johnson. It would be nine actually if you want to add running back Jonathan Stewart who has not played this year and safety Charles Godfery who is on injured reserve. Nine players out of 54 are the only ones that experienced the Panthers in the playoffs. In an interview with ESPN, tackle Jordan Gross said, “Is that all that’s left?” Yes Jordan, that’s it.
It has been 70 games since the Panthers felt like winners, losing each of their home openers since 2008. According to ESPN statistics, the Panthers have the fourth longest drought in the last 25 years, with Oakland at 101, St Louis at 93, and San Diego at 75. Carolina always looked very promising but never living up to expectations. This year is very different.
Quarterback Cam Newton is having his best year as a pro, his completion percentage is at his best at 64.4% and has already thrown 13 touchdowns, rushed for four and has only thrown seven interceptions. Besides the play of QB Cam Newton, the defense has been top notch. Third in the league in total yards allowed, 10th in passing and second in rushing, the defense is making life easy for QB Cam Newton and the offense. Led by 2012 defensive rookie of the year linebacker Luke Kuechly, this defense has become a nightmare for NFL offenses.
If the Carolina Panthers are going to make the playoffs and make some noise, QB Cam Newton will have to keep leading the offense and let the defense keep doing what it is doing.