Monday night was one of the worst games that the Carolina Panthers have ever played. They turned the ball over twice in their first three plays. Cam Newton had three interceptions, two fumbles and was sacked nine times. The defense made Mark Sanchez look like Peyton Manning.
Such a horrible game is evidence enough that the Carolina Panthers are done. This team is lacking any and all qualities of a good team. The 12-4 team that shocked the world last season is gone. After their pathetic loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night, the Panthers fell to 3-6-1. Yet, thanks to the fact that they are in the poorest division in the NFL, the NFC South, Carolina is right behind the New Orleans Saints (4-5) for first place in the division.
It will not matter, however. The Saints offense is enough to carry them to the division title. Carolina’s poor offense and inconsistent defense can not help them at this point.
Let’s take a look at why the Panthers have become one of the worst teams in the National Football League.
LACK OF LEADERSHIP
Perhaps one of the worst things a team can have is a lack of leadership. Carolina has no players or coaches stepping up and being a leader. Coach Ron Rivera acts like he could not care less in interviews and on the sideline during games. Cam Newton looks completely disappointed in this team. Nobody is stepping up. There is not a voice in the locker room that can light a fire under the team at this point. Last season, Carolina started 1-3.
Left tackle Jordan Gross and wide receiver Steve Smith, two of the team’s veteran players, held a player’s meeting and helped rally the team to win eight games in a row and the division title. Gross retired after the season and we all know what happened with Smith. General manager Dave Gettleman said in the offseason that Newton and linebacker Luke Kuechly would be the ones to step up in the locker room and become leaders of this team. Neither of them have done this. The Panthers have no leaders and thus are failing on the field.
LACK OF PASSION
As previously stated, nobody is even attempting to light a fire under this team. Even if someone did, at this point, it would probably be too late. This team acts as if they could care less. On the field and on the sidelines, they look completely defeated before a game even begins. This trickles down from the head coach. As previously stated, Ron Rivera looks as though he could not care less. The players mindset is probably something along the lines of “If coach does not care, why should we?” There is no passion in anybody on this team. They are done, and they all know it.
LACK OF TALENT
The Panthers had perhaps the worst offseason of any team. They lost most of their offensive linemen in Jordan Gross, Travelle Wharton, Jeff Byers, Bruce Campbell and Geoff Hangartner, They lost their entire receiving corp in Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn and Domenik Hixon. They lost their best defensive lineman in Greg Hardy. They lost most of their secondary in Captain Munnerlyn, Mike Mitchell and Quintin Mikell.
The receiving corp is probably the one they took care of the best, drafting Kelvin Benjamin and bringing in Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant. The offensive line and secondary are horrid. Byron Bell took Jordan Gross’ place as left tackle. That should give you an indication as to how horrible this line has become. Roman Harper and Thomas DeCoud were picked up, but neither can cover any receivers. The Panthers’ lack of talent is evident.
Leadership, passion and talent are three of the most important things to any sports team. The Carolina Panthers are lacking all three. However, these are not the only reasons this team is failing. What has not been mentioned yet is how horrible of an offensive coordinator Mike Shula is. How about Ron Rivera’s inability to make any in-game or halftime adjustments? This team is not only plagued by lack of leadership, passion and talent, but by terrible coaching as well.
The Carolina Panthers are done. At this point, they should tank the season to get the highest draft pick possible. Besides, the draft is really the only thing this fanbase has to look forward to anymore.