How the Carolina Panthers can get back to the playoffs

By
Updated: April 15, 2013
It's time for second-year general manager Dave Gettleman to help restore the Carolina Panthers to postseason contention.

It’s time for first-year general manager Dave Gettleman to help restore the Carolina Panthers to postseason contention.

Although they have steadily improved from the disaster of 2010, the Carolina Panthers haven’t posted a winning record in the past four seasons, much less gotten close to the playoffs. They aren’t necessarily as far away from the postseason as it might look, however. They have a strong foundation in place. With a few tweaks and strategic moves, they can not only contend for the playoffs, but also take that next step to become become one of the best teams in the NFC.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton looks to lead his team to the playoffs for the first time since 2008

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton looks to lead his team to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Lead from the front

Quarterback Cam Newton has all the athletic ability to become an NFL great. The only thing holding him back is that he does not know how to handle losing. When the Panthers are behind on the scoreboard, Newton shuts down. The rest of the team can’t help but notice this and starts playing poorly too. As a leader of this franchise, Newton must learn how to keep a cool head and rally the troops in the face of adversity.

Less read option

Since Carolina drafted Newton, they have moved away from the traditional running game and implemented a read-option offensive scheme. This has hurt the production of running backs DeAnglo Willams and Jonathan Stewart, both of whom were 1,000-yard rushers before the read option was adopted. The read option can be useful in certain situations, but when it becomes a staple of the rushing attack, it is easily stopped.

Returning to a power run game will take pressure off Newton and make the offense both more balanced and more explosive.

Draft strong

General manager Dave Gettleman and the front office have their work cut out for them, as they only have five picks in the 2013 NFL Draft: the 14th-overall pick in the first round and one pick in each of the second, fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds.

Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams hopes to rebound from a down 2012 season.

Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams hopes to rebound from a disappointing 2012 season.

Luckily, this team doesn’t have many glaring needs other than defensive tackle, cornerback, and free safety.

Although he will likely be long gone before Carolina is on the clock, Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei would make an immediate impact and transform an already good defensive line into a great one. Alternatively, Sylvester Williams out of North Carolina would be a steal in the second round. Quick off the snap, Williams is always in the backfield. He is great run stopper who can also get after the quarterback.

After picking up cornerbacks Drayton Florence and D.J. Moore in free agency, Gettleman is not likely to draft another corner in the first few rounds. However, he might take a good look at Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, a game changer who would easily replace the struggling Haruki Nakamura.

About the author(s)

WCSN contributing writer Michael Helton lives in North Carolina and is a huge Carolina Panthers and Tarheels fan. Football is his passion. His aspiration is to become a football coach. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or suggestions for future articles at [email protected].

1171 comments
robertj72
robertj72

Has the FBI named Richard Jewel as a person of interest yet?

Home of the Braves
Home of the Braves moderator

Seeing the ignorant comments about Muslims from people on various message boards makes me sad for two reasons. 1) No one knows who the attacker was, it could be a Muslim terrorist or a white american terrorist. 2) All muslims arent the same. 


Preparation_A
Preparation_A

Donkey, for some reason my reply to you won't post. My friend and I have a bet to lose 25 lbs by Oct 8. We each have a $100 stake. If we both succeed, we pool the money and have a party. If one does, but not the other, the loser pays the winner $100. If we both fail, horror sets in, because we each have to write a $100 personal check to the Westboro Baptist Church with their slogan in the memo. We can't update each other on progress, so to avoid the unthinkable we both have to assume the other one will fuck up.

BearsSaveLives
BearsSaveLives moderator

So, Sam Shields hasn't signed his tender yet. I thought that was the case.

natradamus
natradamus moderator

I just remembered to email my nominations... damn I suck

JVince 11
JVince 11

@AllSaintsRow I don' tknow if one of those chicks is fuckable.... maybe the one down in front with dark hair...

robertj72
robertj72

@Atlfalconsfan0125 What makes America great is everyone can allow their voice to be heard and counted. The huge flaw of America is the same thing.

JVince 11
JVince 11

@BearsSaveLives No he hasn't... he has until Friday.... just the beauty of having Drew Rosenhaus as your agent.

natradamus
natradamus moderator

you gotta at least try.  when I was looking at the categories, I just went with what came into my head.  If nothing came into my head, I made a joke out of my nomination

MIBearFan
MIBearFan

@natradamus 

I can't verify the first part of your statement, but you are dead on with the second.