banner
Caulton Tudor

Panthers seeking historic season with 9-plus wins

Posted July 10, 2014

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) checks the defense. St. Louis Rams visiting the Carolina Panthers on Sunday October 20, 2013. Rams first play from scrimmage was intercepted and returned for a TD and the Panthers never looked back with a hime victory of 30-15. Photo by CHRIS BAIRD

— When the Carolina Panthers begin their season on Sept. 7 at Tampa Bay, they’ll be picked by some to win a second straight NFC South Division title.

At worst, the Panthers will be predicted a close second to New Orleans in the divisional race.

The web site OddsShark.com has the Panthers at 33-to-1 to win the Super Bowl while making the Saints (16-to-1) the NFC South favorite. The site favors Seattle (6-to-1) to repeat as NFL champs, followed by last season’s Super Bowl loser Denver (13-to-2), San Francisco (7-to-1) and New England (9-to-1).

It’s understandable that the Panthers will begin as a popular pick to go far. That’s what happens after a team goes 12-4 by winning 11 of its final 12 games.

But amid all of the preseason optimism in-and-outside the Panthers locker room, a more valid question might be, 'can they even get out of the 2014 season with so much as a winning record?'
A winning record this season might not be the cinch you assume.

After all, the Panthers have been around since 1995 and have never managed to put together two straight winning seasons.

That may sound difficult to believe, but it’s a fact.

After going 11-5 in 2005, the Panthers' 2006 record was 8-8. In 2008, the Panthers whet 12-4, followed by another 8-8 in ’09. After an 11-5 record in 2003, the ’04 team finished 7-9.

This feast-or-famine routine has been a part of the franchise’s performance personality from the very start. That ’95 team, which played home games in Clemson, went a surprising 7-9 in the NFC West. 

The next season -- 1996 -- the Panthers were the darlings of pro football, going a startling 12-4 in regular season and ousting Dallas in the playoffs before losing the conference championship on a brutally cold afternoon in Green Bay.

Picked as a Super Bowl contender in the ’97 preseason, they slipped to 7-9 and suffered a devastating 34-0 late-season loss to Denver. In 1998, the roof collapsed. A 4-12 record sent Dom Capers packing and George Seifert arriving in the head coach’s office.

Many variables

On paper, the 2014 Panthers come across as a team that should have little trouble ending its seesaw trend -- but that also can be deceiving.

In Cam Newton, they obviously have one of the most talented and imaginative quarterbacks in the game.

Running backs DeAngelo Williams, Mike Tolbert and James Stewart have been among the most productive corps in the league for years. Williams, 31, is getting somewhat old by running back standards and injuries have limited Stewart, 27, to 15-game appearances during the past two seasons. But with Tolbert, technically a fullback with tailback quickness, the running attack should be very effective again.

Beyond the immediate backfield personnel and tight end Greg Olsen, the Panthers are facing more questions than almost anyone could have anticipated late last season.

Most of the wide receivers are new and the offensive interior line may turn out to be the most inexperienced in the division. Rookies Ed Kugbila and Trai Turner almost certainly will have to play a good deal and three veterans are coming off injuries and/or facing positions switches. Even Kugbila, drafted in 2013, sat out all of last season with knee trouble.

It’s hardly a secret the Panthers are built from the ground up on the basic theory of defense-first, and although the secondary has been revamped, the overall defensive picture remains impressive.

End Charles Johnson and linebacker Luke Kuechly are among the best in the business at their jobs.
Even with a top-line defense, it still can be a thin line.

During the final five or six games last season, it was virtually forgotten that Ron Rivera’s future as head coach appeared bleak at best after a 1-3 start and an ugly 22-6 loss at Arizona on Oct. 6 that came on the heels of bye week no less.

But starting with an easy win at Minnesota the following week, the schedule suddenly turned favorable, thanks in large part to surprisingly weak seasons by Atlanta and Tampa Bay (both 4-12) in the division.

The 2014 mid-season schedule almost certainly will be more difficult.

There will be a four-game October stretch -- at Cincinnati (Oct. 12), at Green Bay (Oct. 19) and back home for Seattle (Oct. 26) followed by a three-day around against New Orleans (Thursday Oct. 30) in Charlotte -- that could determine whether the Panthers have legitimately arrived or are still prowling around on the brink.

22 Comments

Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • uBnice Jul 13, 2014

    View quoted thread



    Good analysis. And your first statement summed it all up.

  • rherring23 Jul 12, 2014

    [[/quote]I don't think the Panthers will be as good as last year but you can never tell. Nobody is sure how the offensive line will be with 2 rookies. May be terrible or may be the best line they have ever had, depends on the rookies, look what Luke did as a rookie. Don't know if the defense took a step back or not, but they could have probably added better players. They did make changes in the secondary which was the weak link on defense. They got burned way too much when they faced a good QB, so the changes could turn out good. Don't agree with letting Smith go, his fire will be missed. But facts are he had slowed down considerably. He still was good enough to draw the double and triple team, but that would shut him down where before he could still beat the double and triple team. He definitely needed another good receiver to take some of the pressure off him. I think some of the other receivers they lost may be just as important.

  • mittnfriends Jul 11, 2014

    2 more months, Cam haters, deeyam!

    As the article states; Cam is "one of the most talented and imaginative quarterbacks in the game". Cam is a blessing for a team that lacks the proper offensive weapons.

    Of course it doesn't feel right having let Smitty go, but maybe it makes sense 2 or 3 years from now. It's business.

  • rcsser Jul 11, 2014

    Looks like the panthers are going to have another great year! When they are pumped up by the media and fans they do horrible. When everyone thinks they are going to be really bad they usually do great. And by the way I have always been a huge Steve Smith but let's face it the only part of that man's body that still works well is his mouth. It took him all of 15 minutes at his first ravens practice to get in a scuffle.GO PANTHERS!

  • I am not who you think I am Jul 11, 2014

    unless Gettleman picks up a proven OT and a proven possession type WR the Panthers are toast

    The defense can't play offense too

  • robertleonard01 Jul 11, 2014

    James Stewart? Really? James?

  • thomasew52 Jul 11, 2014

    Probably going to be a long and painful year for Coach Rivera, and Panther fans.

  • uBnice Jul 11, 2014

    It looks as though the GM decided it would be a rebuilding year given the off-season changes. From my perspective they were bad moves.

    Now we just have to wait. But it will be inexcusable to go from a playoff team to a non-playoff team in 1 year because of personnel changes that decreased the team's ability to win.

  • Jeanne Gunn Jul 11, 2014

    This is going to be a tough season for the Panthers. Rivera was on the hot seat before and it will be even hotter this year. Jordan Gross and Smitty will be missed big time. I don't know what went on behind closed doors, but treating Smitty the way the Panthers did is going to come back and bite them.

  • Doc Holliday Jul 11, 2014

    But they have Superman....16-0

    With that D and that red zone offensive machine (19th in NFL).......okay, with that D, they have a shot.

More...

 

 

  • NASCAR: Folds of Honor 500 in Atlanta

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • ACC: Syracuse at Duke

    Tonight at 7:00 on 620am

Scoreboard
Local
Final
UCF 66
ECU 71
Final
BC 79
NCSU 63
Final
MIAMI 64
UNC 73
2nd
NCCU 69
COOK 47
 
1st Intermission
NYI 1
CAR 1
 
7:00pm Tonight
DUKE
SYR
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
DET
7:30pm Tonight
MIA
ATL
7:30pm Tonight
NYK
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
MEM
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
BRK
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
MIL
9:00pm Tonight
PHO
SAN
Final
LIP 94
KNST 75
 
Final
GHND 47
NAVY 57
 
Final
LAF 74
ARMY 64
 
Final
AMER 69
BUCK 71
 
Final
UCF 66
ECU 71
Final
STJ 81
GEOR 70
Final
CLEM 70
GT 63
Final
COL 61
LEH 55
 
Final
FSU 59
LOU 81
Final
MD 66
MICH 56
Final
UGA 68
MIZZ 44
Final
BC 79
NCSU 63
Final
LAS 56
RIU 59
Final
UNH 65
MAINE 56
 
Final
IUPUI 80
NEOM 87
 
Final
WINT 80
PBY 53
 
Final
VMI 69
SAMF 80
 
Final
CITA 54
WCU 67
 
Final
DEP 53
BUT 67
Final
LONG 70
CAMP 65
 
Final
TULA 47
CIN 63
Final
VCU 55
DAY 59
Final
TOWS 60
DEL 65
 
Final
WMARY 66
DREX 80
 
Final
JVU 75
FLGC 67
 
Final
EVAN 67
ILLST 69
 
Final
BRAD 52
INDST 60
 
Final
MIAMI 64
UNC 73
Final
WICHS 74
NIOWA 60
Final
UWGB 83
OU 63
 
Final
LSU 73
MISS 63
Final
OKLA 67
TCU 60
Final
BING 76
UMBC 69
 
Final
AFA 60
UTST 74
 
Final
GTDNS 79
VERM 73
 
Final
XAV 66
VILL 78
Final
MNTER 74
WAGN 64
 
Final
ILLCH 61
WRST 46
 
Final
YALE 90
SARAHLAW 55
 
Final
UAB 100
MTST 95
 
Final
NDAK 65
SUTAH 71
 
Final
LIB 77
UNCA 95
 
Final
CHIST 65
WLVRN 44
 
Final
UMO 57
BGU 62
 
Final
SHU 84
LIU 73
 
Final
APP 66
LAMON 43
 
Final
VANDY 73
ALA 66
 
2nd
KENT 78
ARK 53
 
2nd
NCCU 69
COOK 47
 
2nd
MRGST 47
COPST 59
 
Final
SHU 67
CREI 66
 
2nd
BONA 84
DUQ 72
 
2nd
MERC 62
ETST 64
 
Final
UMASS 82
FORD 74
 
Final
RAD 72
GWEBB 62
 
2nd
JMU 79
HOF 69
 
Final
BU 70
HC 77
 
Final
KYST 70
ISU 69
 
2nd
DELST 56
MDES 60
 
Final
LOYC 65
MIZST 51
 
2nd
IDAHO 73
MNTST 65
 
1st OT
MCNST 77
NICST 75
 
2nd
TTU 58
OKST 56
 
2nd
PORT 61
SDU 72
 
2nd
BRY 60
Terriers 46
 
1st OT
RMU 59
RFLSH 67
 
Final
UVA 69
VT 57
 
2nd
BAY 77
WVU 58
 
2nd
FUR 53
WOFF 57
 
Final
SILL 63
DRAK 57
 
2nd
FD 60
CCST 49
 
2nd
WMICH 51
EMICH 54
 
2nd
CSOU 54
HIGH 50
 
Half
UNCG 27
CHAT 25
 
Half
SD 44
SDKST 34
 
1st
CARK 31
SELA 27
 
Half
KU 31
TEX 34
 
Half
EWASH 39
MONT 42
 
1st
TROY 20
UGST 28
 
1st
TXST 19
ARKST 14
 
1st
UNT 17
ODU 10
 
6:00pm Tonight
CORN
DART
 
6:00pm Tonight
NCAT
FAM
 
6:00pm Tonight
PSU
IOWA
6:00pm Tonight
MORE
JVST
 
6:00pm Tonight
PEPP
LMU
 
6:00pm Tonight
SCAR
MSST
6:00pm Tonight
BRO
PRIN
 
6:00pm Tonight
NEV
SJST
6:00pm Tonight
SCST
SAV
 
6:00pm Tonight
BEL
TENST
 
6:00pm Tonight
UF
TENN
6:00pm Tonight
ALAST
TXSOU
 
6:30pm Tonight
SOUTH
ALCOR
 
6:30pm Tonight
JST
MVSU
 
7:00pm Tonight
SEMIZ
PEAY
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOL
BST
 
7:00pm Tonight
KSU
BUF
 
7:00pm Tonight
LBSU
CSFU
 
7:00pm Tonight
MARS
FATL
7:00pm Tonight
STLU
GMAS
7:00pm Tonight
DAVID
GWU
7:00pm Tonight
HOW
HAMP
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLMB
HARV
 
7:00pm Tonight
LAM
INCWORD
 
7:00pm Tonight
YOUNG
UWMIL
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENNM
MURST
 
7:00pm Tonight
ELON
UNCW
 
7:00pm Tonight
ILL
NW
7:00pm Tonight
YALE
PENN
 
7:00pm Tonight
ALAAM
PVU
 
7:00pm Tonight
STJOE
RICH
7:00pm Tonight
UNF
STET
 
7:00pm Tonight
HART
USB
 
7:00pm Tonight
DUKE
SYR
7:00pm Tonight
EKENT
TENT
 
7:00pm Tonight
LATU
TXSA
7:00pm Tonight
NKENTUCKY
USCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAST
WILL
 
7:05pm Tonight
UMKC
GRCN
 
7:15pm Tonight
NO
ABCHRIST
 
8:00pm Tonight
SDST
BSU
8:00pm Tonight
NILL
CMICH
 
8:00pm Tonight
RICE
CHAR
8:00pm Tonight
ORU
DEN
 
8:00pm Tonight
WKENT
FIU
8:00pm Tonight
TXPA
NMST
 
8:00pm Tonight
COC
NE
 
8:00pm Tonight
TAMCC
SHSU
 
8:00pm Tonight
SCU
GAELS
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOUB
STEPH
 
8:00pm Tonight
SMISS
UTEP
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
TULSA
8:00pm Tonight
UNLV
WYO
8:15pm Tonight
TXARL
ARKLR
 
8:15pm Tonight
LALAF
GSOUT
 
8:30pm Tonight
TEXAM
AUB
8:30pm Tonight
ARKPB
GRAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTAH
ARZ
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
NARZ
 
10:00pm Tonight
GONZ
BYU
10:00pm Tonight
WEBER
IDST
 
10:00pm Tonight
FRES
NMU
10:00pm Tonight
USF
PAC
 
10:00pm Tonight
CPSL 0
UCD 0
 
10:05pm Tonight
PORST
SACST
 
10:30pm Tonight
SEAT
CALST
 
10:30pm Tonight
CSNO
UCR
 
10:30pm Tonight
USC
WASH
11:59pm Tonight
UCSB
UCI
 
Final
FLA 5
BUF 3
 
Final
NAS 3
DET 4
 
1st Intermission
NYI 1
CAR 1
 
2nd
CLB 0
NJD 1
 
1st
BOS 1
ARI 0
 
7:00pm Tonight
MON
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
PHI
NYR
10:00pm Tonight
COL
MIN
10:00pm Tonight
SJS
OTT
10:00pm Tonight
EDM
STL