When we were discussing whether or not Rivera should get another year, there were a lot of people on the board who were citing the level that the team was playing at to close the season as evidence that Rivera should be retained. There was also talk about how much the injury situation hurt the Panthers. And, of course, the poor start was blamed on Chud's play calling.
So now Chud's gone. If the season started today, we would have a better offensive line with Kalil's return. We would have a hole at DT, but one which could probably be patched and upgraded in the draft. We would be pretty much where we were in the secondary, and with Beason returning and replacing Anderson, we would be upgraded at Linebacker.
Where would we be worse?
Atlanta's lost their best pass rusher, and replaced one aging physical back with another. I don't see how their offense is going to really be any better than it was last year, it was already very good. And their defense has gotten worse. Tampa Bay has moved the "strength" of their defense from the line to the secondary. New Orleans got a cornerback, but they're still going to be transitioning to a new defensive scheme that they don't have all the parts for.
So yeah, they're all good teams and they're all adding players that we wish we could add, but they're also losing players, and there are legitimate questions regarding whether or not they've actually improved. And at the level we were playing, we should be pretty happy that we're not losing anyone, right?
So which team should we be discussing here? The Panthers team that everyone here was talking up in January? Or the broken down relic that most of the current posts are describing?
Mostly agree. ATL is still one of the best teams in the NFL and should be a superbowl contender again. But we can beat them and almost swept them.
New Orleans is all about coach Peyton. They are clearly a much better team with him and they are a playoff caliber team.
TB should be the bottom of the NFCS but they are always a challenge for us and we generally expect a split on average with them.
So are we if you get rid of the coaching issues