We're going to lose a bunch of games this year. BUT... it's ok... in fact, a high draft slot is a good thing going forward... as long as we're seeing progress.
Here's the facts and how they are affecting us:
- Rookie HC - Rivera is going to have to learn the in's and out's of being a head coach.
- Shortened Off-season due to lockout - A rookie HC who had a fraction of the time to install his playbook is going to have an uphill battle.
- Two years of off-season Free Agent inactivity - Mr. Richardson admitted/U] he was preparing the franchise for a lockout by going on the cheap. He's apologized. But, having mediocre players or a lack of depth [U]right now is the result.
- A "Build through draft" approach, but we've didn't have a first round pick in 2009 and 2010 - Prior to this year, we mortgaged our future to keep the wheels on the Delhomme/Fox bus. Well, the future is now, and we're going having to pay up.
- Rookie QB - Cam had a bad game, but he's a rookie, and he'll make rookie mistakes. The INTs today were tipped balls until the last one at the end. That's going to happen. He has no where to go but up from here, and has already broken records, and set new records (5 passing, 5 rushing TDs in 5 games as a rookie). His upside is enormous, and will pay dividends once we sort out our problems with Defense and Special teams.
- Injuries on D - Beason and Davis's absense is key here. Our short passing game D, and gap block D is terrible. We're at near the bottom of the league in run D.
- Rookie DTs - These guys aren't playing well, but they are rooks too. They should improve.
- The HARDEST schedule in the league two years in a row - Just the way the cookie crumbles... we'll get better schedules as we rotate through the divisions.
- One of the toughest divisions in Football - Our division has hosted the #1 NFC seed two years in a row, and the #2 three years ago. We have an Elite QB in our division in Brees, and two VERY good QBs in other teams. 6 games out of our 16 will be some of the hardest games we will ever face.
- And finally - John Fox's 2009 and 2010 lame duck mentality - What John Fox did to this team in the last two years here was inexcusable. He admitted that he'd known for 2 years he was leaving, and it showed in his demeanor and in the discipline and intensity of this team. His give-up half-ass ways were instilled in the whole franchise, and has left its mark. Rivera has a long road to pave to correct it, and truth be told, this year is going to be a wash in that process.
There is no other team in our situation. The damage that's been done to our beloved Panthers team was wide-ranging and deep. The fact we've been in these games is actually a testament to the efforts being made by the organization to correct the problem.
Next year, we'll get a decent draft spot (I'm thinking 4th pick overall). If we bring in a franchise Defense player, and make some smart moves in Free Agency, we will start to emerge. In another year, maybe two, we will be a force to be reckoned with.
Hell, after the Bye this year, I think we'll see a turn around.
But, we're going to lose games. Many games. And some will be by more than a TD. I'm gonna hang tough as a fan and not give in to the emotion of losing, and continue to support this team.