Sunday, October 14, 2012

What is your theory on why Panthers seem so disappointing?

Why are fans so disappointed with the Carolina Panthers?

I wrote my column for Monday's newspaper about this subject. The short answer, of course, is the 1-4 record. But it's more complicated than that. In 2011, after five games, the Panthers were 1-4. In 2012, after five games and coming off a bye on Sunday, they are also 1-4.

So why all the outcry this season? Why – in my own opinion and also based on the emails I trade and the conversations I have with fans (along with the comments posted in this blog) -- does this year seem so much worse?

I propose a three-part theory in my column, but I'd like to hear your thoughts as well. Here's the short version -- check the column for more details:

1) A simple lack of scoring.

In 2011, the Panthers lost their fifth game at home, 30-27, to New Orleans. It was a compelling game to the end.

In 2012, the Panthers lost their fifth game at home, 16-12, to Seattle. It was a compelling game to the end.

The difference? The Panthers scored more last year. Steve Smith caught a 54-yard touchdown pass in that New Orleans game. DeAngelo Williams had a 69-yard touchdown run. Even though they went home frustrated, fans also had more big moments to talk about. The games were more fun to watch in 2011.

2. Cam Newton’s temporary on-field regression.

I would agree with head coach Ron Rivera, who said last week that Newton is pressing too much on the field. I would go further, in fact, and say that Newton has regressed compared to the first five games of his rookie year. Remember, he threw for more than 400 yards in his first two NFL games ever (although the Panthers lost both).

And as Newton’s honeymoon period concludes, he is also being judged against a far tougher standard – his own performance of 2011, rather than Jimmy Clausen’s performance of 2010.

3) The Ryan Kalil ad.

In late July, without mentioning it to anyone in the Panther organization, Kalil took out a full-page advertisement in The Charlotte Observer which began: “Why the Carolina Panthers will win Super Bowl XLVII” and which ended with Kalil’s signature.

I loved the gesture. But it had some unintended consequences. It was so unusual it gave rise to unbridled optimism from Panther fans. The ad raised expectations dramatically and the Panthers have come nowhere close so far to meeting them. To make matters worse, Kalil is now on injured reserve -- an unwilling symbol for how things can chase for the worse so quickly in the NFL.

What's your theory? And do you think the Panthers have any chance at rebounding this season?

38 comments:

Imronburgundy said...

The read option is throwing off our offensive game.

Anonymous said...

I fear there may be too many republicans within the organization. Everyone knows republicans are losers just like the panthers

Anonymous said...

Because we have the worst record in the NFL since 2010 and the GM decides to sign the guys that lead us to that record.

Anonymous said...

Because our worse fears are realized that the new coaches and #1 QB pick are not a good fit.

Unknown said...

Scott, my theory is that many of us who have been true fans since day one have struggled through the changes and celebrated the victories of the past. As the John Fox/Jake Delhomme era came to a dragged out ending (partially prolonged by Matt Moore and Jimmie Pickles Clausen) we were given hope from a new head coach and a "franchise" QB. Season one was acceptable because it was shiny and new and we still kept our hopes high. From the start of year two, it looks like John Fox's final years are haunting us as the play calling is terrible and our coach comes across with his "we did what we did, and we gotta not do that again attitude.". Compound that with the embarrassment Cam displayed at the Giants game with his childish behavior...refusing to come out from under his sulking towel long enough to shake Eli Manning's hand. The team is inconsistent, shows very little motivation to win, and just make it very difficult to continue to support. I do believe they have the talent to turn it around...what I wonder is, do they have the desire to do so?

Anonymous said...

The Panthers' 1-4 start has more to do with their schedule than anything else. Carolina has lost to Atlanta (6-0), New York (4-2) and Seattle (4-2). The Seahawks have wins over New England, Green Bay and Dallas. The Giants ran all over a San Francisco team that was supposed to be tops in the NFC. Atlanta is one of two remaining unbeaten teams.

Carolina is 1-1 against mediocre competition (New Orleans and Tampa Bay), with a win at home and a close loss on the road.

Sometimes winning - or losing - in the NFL has more to do with the competition than anything else.

Anonymous said...

I think our coaches are struggling this year adjusting to teams adjusting to Cam. It was said over and over last year that teams werent able to prepare as well for Cam because they didnt have a whole lot of film on him. Well, now they do and teams have adjusted. We, however, have not. And what happened to this HUGE playbook that was all the talk during training camp? Thus far, our offense has seemed "rather vanilla" for the most part. That may be the reason Chud was not hired away from us during the off season. Maybe he isnt as good as we originally thought. Not saying that is the case at all because honestly our record wasnt that great last year, but atleast we were exciting to watch and in pretty much every game. However something has happened. Whatever the problem is, I hope this group has the ability to identify it and fix it, otherwise its going to be a very long, disappointing season for the players and ultimately, the fans.

Anonymous said...

Loss of Kalil is huge. O-line was already an on/off proposition this year, but now turnaround looks a whole lot harder.

George Hanson said...

The owner's time has passed him by -- he needs to sell. (truthfully, he was in WAY over his head from the start)

I've been saying it for years...until there's new ownership this franchise will NEVER excel.

Let's do this, in 5 years time let's see where the Panthers are vs. the Colts. Both starting from scratch with franchise QB's but the Panthers have a 1 years head start.

If Richardson is still owner in 5 years I bet the Panthers a seriously sucking wind vs. Colts.

Anonymous said...

I can't spake for other Panthers fans. But I myself I am very disappointed with Ron Rivera as well with the players as well as with Marty Horny. It's make so sick to watch the Panthers play on Sunday and no matter against who they are playing to see the Players simply don't play with effort. It make me mad that Ron Rivera on the sideline not getting into the players face about not playing with effort. It also upset me that in the off-season Mary Horny instead of upgrading the Panthers area of weakness which has been at secondary Horny decided to ignore that issue.

Anonymous said...

1-4 at this point last season felt like progress, especially with the way we were competing.

1-4 this year feels stagnant and well short of where we should be. 12 months on we are no better than we were at this point last year. That sucks.

Samsonite said...

It's simple for me at least. Last year we were supposed to be terrible, and it was nice to see an improved team even if it was losing.

However with Hurney spending money like crazy and the belief that getting Beason back and some new bodies in the middle on defense that the team would improve.

Instead the team has been worse even with Hurney's awful cap management, the runninggame has been absolutely putrid, the coaching is worse...simply put this team looks somehow worse than it did last year. No excuse for it.

God only knows how Hurney kept his job last year, but he has no business keeping it if this year keeps going the way it has.

Anonymous said...

I'm not disappointed as much as some because I've learned over the years not to get my expectations too high. 17 years. 13 of those years, there was little or no hope of the playoffs when Thanksgiving rolled around. December rallies saved jobs and raised hope for the next season, only to have those hopes dashed time and time and time again. Just watch and enjoy as best you can.

Anonymous said...

Bad coaching resulting in bad tackling, poor clock mgmt, and bad play calling. Secondly, Superman more concerned with himself than the team and he is holding the ball way too long trying to make that sportscenter highlight pass.

Anonymous said...

o-line sucks bad. defense can't tackle. qb option plan doesn't work .. ad nauseam.

Anonymous said...

Scott. We have played some of the better teams to begin this NFL season and our team has revealed we simply are not to that level of competition. Both sides of our line have for the most part been dominated. We have proven we can't block on the O side to allow our RB's to get to a hole and our QB routinely has to run when he's back to pass. On the D side we can't get pressure to the QB on a regular basis. When you look at both sides we haven't given it much attention recently and our O side doesn't have a high draft pick since Kalil.

Anonymous said...

HEAD COACH! HEAD COACH! HEAD COACH!
FOX and Seifert look like Lombardi next to this guy, any wonder he was turned down for a head coaching job so many times?? C'MON!!!

Scott Stotelmyer said...

Thank you Imronburgundy!! I am so glad someone else sees this. This is the nfl, how about running a big boy offense. I like coach Rivera and Chud, but they are blind if they think this option is the way to go. Our backs need a real running game. The rest would fall into place. More points, longer drives, less time for our D on the field, Wins.

Mike said...

I sold my tickets to the last 5 home games. This is the first time I have done this. I hung in there with the 1-15 and 2-14 seasons. It does feel different maybe because I think Mr. Richardson is trying to build a winning team. I don't think the answer is firing coaches. To me it's a lack of talent on the team. Panthers need to continue building through the draft and hopefully in a couple of years they will become a contender.

Anonymous said...

Chud, Chud, Chud. Get back to basics. When did a quick 6yd slant pass or screen pass become taboo? Ever heard of no huddle? Need to get Cam off to a confident start with short quick dink/dunk pass/run offense scheme. Get out of the box putting the D on their heels.

Anonymous said...

It's simple: intensity.

When you watch a game, you can tell when teams are "in the game" or just going through the motions. Last season, for the most part, you could feel the Panthers doing their best. Even with the injuries, the players on the field were giving it everything they had - they were simply outgunned.

Now, we supposedly have the talent back on the field, but the intensity level isn't even close. When you watch the beginning of most NFL games, the intensity can be felt through the tv or in the stands. When the Panthers play, you don't feel anything.

Kevin said...

The entirety of our on field failures can be attributed to the total lack of legitimate management, from the entire organization. The problems start with Jerry Richardson, and trickle down all the way through our dysfunctional coaching staff.

Cam=Collins said...

You and your paper are the top reasons this team had such out of whack expectations. Vegas had this team at 6 wins as the over under. That ws about right. Yet you numbskuls kept talking about nonsense such as playoffs and idiotic ideas about the Super Bowl. This team is MUCH closer to the cellar than they are the top. As is roster is, they will never win even 8 games. It is time to start telling the readers what REALLY is the issue with the kitty kats. I know you willnot though, as you may lose your buffet line rights. Keep towing the Big Rat's line.

Anonymous said...

NEWTON IS THE PROBLEM

ANY OTHER QUESTIONS?

Anonymous said...

We let two wins get away from us from botched calls and timid thinking. We should be 3-2 which would be more palatable.

Anonymous said...

It's about the lack of club house leadership. The Panthers lack enough players in the locker room with NFL championships on their resume. Lots of talent but no one to help them understand the workload. The missing player leadership is only compounded with the lack of coaching and organization leadership who don't have the resume to fill the void.

Anonymous said...

Scott, I've got several observations: First, our defensive backfield is deplorable. Hurney/Rivera at least acknowledged it in the offseason (Nakumura/Norman), but how can McDermott let his front 7 pin their ears back and blitz when he constantly has to drop his LBs into pass coverage because he can't count on the Safeties? In the offseason, this would be my #1 area of concern, both in the draft AND free agency (input image of Hurney gagging here). Along the same line, we have to draft a stud DT at some point. Our DEs are adequate, but we are still getting gashed by opposing RBs. Somebody HAS to start clogging the middle. Kuechly is as advertised and it looks like Davis is almost back to form, but in general, our tackling is atrocious!!!! On the offensive side of the ball, I have to agree with the commentator of our last game when he asked if Cam was mad at Greg Olsen. He didn't even LOOK at him until the 4th quarter. Last year, Newton looked at Shockey and Olsen twice as much as he does now. This falls on either Chud or Newton (I can't figure out exactly which because I have a hard time thinking Chud is trying to exclude his tight ends with the history there, but the offense doesn't seem to feature Olsen as much). LaFell is an adequate Smith alternative, but he's never going to draw a double team away from Steve Smith. I think he's a great 3rd WR, but in this upcoming draft, we absolutely need to take a star WR with the FIRST round draft pick, not wait until the later rounds. Some people may not be sold on the Falcons model, but ask yourself this question....which WR (White or Jones) do you double team??? While I'm not recommending we pay the price the Falcons did to move up to get Julio Jones, I do believe it's time to go after your Steve Smith replacement. In terms of play calling, Chud hasn't done the same job he did last year of alleviating pressure on Cam. In the Giants game, Cam got hammered because Chud didn't call enough screens or delayed draws to slow down the Giants DL pass rush. This is symptomatic of many of their problems on offense is that they simply aren't playing to Cam's strengths. Lastly, our OL needs help. Kalil, All Pro and no question the future glue that holds everything together. Gross has been the anchor for the line, but let's face it, he's getting up there in years. After that, you've got a rookie (from a DIII school) who is getting worked, and two others who wouldn't start for any other team in the NFL. Neither would be starting had Wharton not left and Otah been a bust. Here's the solution to this problem: get Duane Brown from the Texans or Long from the Dolphins, pay them whatever they want and put them at LT and move Gross to RT. Now you have a young, quality LT, an All Pro Center and another All Pro at RT. Use a third rd draft pick or so to pick up another Guard (from a big time program school - SEC, Big 10, etc....NOT DIII). Does that help for this year? No. The simple fact is, Richardson and Hurney set us up for rebuilding prior to the lockout. Problem is, nobody remembers that! While I admire Kalil's gesture and optimism, it was premature. I know he wanted to believe in his teammates, but we simply have too many holes to fill with no depth. Panther fans, our time is coming, but it's not this year. Expect a top 7 draft pick again....

Anonymous said...

The expectation begets the disapointment!! Players, Fans and Media were too hyped for a 6-10 team with major holes and an extremely difficult schedule. Couple that with the salaries the organization handed out and criticism/comparisons abound. A $100 million backfield, a $100 million linebacking core, and a $100 million defensive line, you'd think we'd be better than 18th in both offense and defense. It's sickening to realize the prodcution with the assets laid out. People will find fault in Players, Coaches, and/or in Management. The fact is, there have been mistakes on all fronts. Cam needs to not fumble, Rivera needs to manage the game better, Hurney needs to draft/negotiate better. Whatever your reasoning, it doesn't really matter, because you'd be right. There isn't one answer, because there isn't one problem. Until this team/organization and it's individuals correct their mistakes, they will continue to disappoint, because we all expect more!

Anonymous said...

Because we appear to be no better off than the last years under Fox.

Anonymous said...

Non-leader ego centric Newton with far too much baggage was a terrible draft pick and maybe the worst ever as this controversal scenario painfully plays itself out.

In the end you get what you bargain for and the entire situation shows very poor judgment and low character on a discombobulated franchise with a control freak media. Inmates run the asylum.

Face reality. Charlotte is not a sports city yet even with the Carolina name on the front. Not even close. Its takes eons. Give it 50-60 more yrs min.

Racing and banking, yes.
Pro football and basketball, no.

An underlying problem is also one of social engineering and political correctness run amuck. The tail can only wag the dog for so long.

Josh, Raleigh, NC said...

Because Richarson will contiune to keep Hurney around to waste money on tailbacks and to waste picks in the later round of the draft.

Anonymous said...

Scott, my thoughts are simple: People don't get that we are still rebuilding. Our problems are, in order, 1) Entire defensive backfield is terrible, 2)Defensive line, 3)No viable, dynamic playmaker besides Smith, and 4)worst OL we've had in a long time and now we've lost one of the two bright spots (Kalil). Chud's playcalling has been suspect (see Giants game where he called very few screens or delayed draws to mitigate that pass rush's impact on Cam) to say the least. Cam has yet to show that he is a real leader. POOR timing on the introduction of his clothing line with Belk. I'm a Cam believer, but he needs to grow up and win something first before he starts up with his 'superman' shenanigans. You don't celebrate like that, then sulk like a child when things aren't going your way by isolating yourself. I'm not ready to throw Rivera (or the coaching staff) under the bus, but Hurney??? That's another story. How's that DIII offensive lineman working out for ya? Or Armanti Edwards? Target proven players from proven college programs and you'll get consistent, quality performers....not longshots from small schools. Those long shots are few and far between. Build the team first, then take chances.

Anonymous said...

Player performance and poor play calling. Enough of the belly option. Run it every now and then to keep defenses guessing. But I would wager that 85% of our running plays have been some form of this play. It takes away from Stewart and Williams ability to get the ball and make reads to hit the hole quickly. They are the running threats, not Newton. Let them run the ball. Too many mistakes on the field. I think the talent is there, just haven't performed.

Anonymous said...

Definitely some elitist DUMMIES posting on here regarding non-Div 1 players. If these know-it-alls had brains and could read they could easily find out that there are tons of very successful players in NFL history that have come from smaller schools that are NOT Division 1 "big name schools". Arguably some of the best ever, at their positions... Examples? Jerry Rice, Walter Payton, Nate Newton,Eric Davis, Steve McNair,Timmy Newsome,Roethlisberger... Give this rookie (Silatolu) a chance.

Anonymous said...

Lets blame it on Clausen. It worked for a whole year or more!

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing an interview with JerryRichardson online in 2007/08 timeframe (cannot find it now online)
, back when Jake suffered a tommyjohn and David Carr was stinking it up. He kept saying 'first and foremost priority is to create a family atmosphere for fans' which I took to mean he wants a 'minor league ballpark like atmosphere'. Nowhere in the interview he said, we should try to win it all. At that time I said to myself no way will this team win consistently or win the big one.

Anonymous said...

I found the article I was referring to where Panthers owner said his priority was to create a family atmosphere.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=nfl&id=3223598

banks said...

True, we're not scoring much, but why? This team can't run the football like it's supposed to, and the offensive line play has been abysmal. Too often, Cam is the leading rusher (remember that PILARES was the leader in Week 1 with 5 yards). The failure of the running game gets us behind in down & distance, which kills drives; the fact that we've only attempted 2 field goals all year says to me this team can't even put drives together consistently. Sure, Cam will break off a big run here & there, and there is the occasional big chunk in the passing game, but when the other team expects the run they are stuffing it. I think that's inexcusable with the two studs we have at the running back position. And yes, the play calling has been suspect at times (no more handoffs to Tolbert, please).

Besides that, I believe the league is the most competitive it's been in my lifetime. The Patriots, Steelers, Eagles and Packers can all attest to that. Take a look at the standings in the AFC East and NFC West--not at all what you would expect. When I look at the remaining schedule, it's tough for me to see how we'll get back to 6-10. But the margin separating winning from losing in this league is incredibly small; I still have hope that we can win the next 3 and get back to .500