Keep in mind while reading this that at the time I wrote this thread, I am in no way thinking about our current Preseason games. I have in mind the previous five years and this past offseason. I'm not talking about the preseason or over/underreacting to it. So don't even start. This is a discussion about overall team mentality, not one individual or another.
I think the whole "Running Team" philosophy is played out. Like, four years ago was the last time our running game was relevant. The league is moving on and we're getting left in the dust, probably cause ol' Big Cat wants an old style power running team with a stout defense. It's how things used to be done and it has worked in the past. Unfortunately that's not how things are anymore and HELLO we have Cameron Newton, the most physically gifted QB to ever grace a Panthers uniform. It's silly to fall into the same ol' ruts when everyone around us is having success moving with the times.
I'm not claiming to know what's going on, I have no sources inside the organization. But from an outside perspective it sure looks like Big Cat still has his hand firmly planted on the wheel. Think about it. Still trying to be the same old team we were in 2008, and it's been that way the whole time. Chud changed it up, probably after nagging JR about it until he gave in, and it worked for a little while. However when things started going sour, we mostly switched back to tried and true.
Look at our offseason moves. Almost exclusively defense. Our money? It's in runningbacks. Yes yes, we all know this already. Virtually uncuttable blah blah. But the fact remains JR still wants to keep his team a run-first, defensive minded team, and he is still meddling in team affairs when he needs to go sit down, drink some tea, and let the people who know what they're doing run the team. Gett Dawg has done great with the cards handed to him, but it still feels a lot like our overall team philosophy hasn't changed a bit. Even with the major changing of the guard that's happened the last three years, we are still driving right down the same ruts.
My suggestion? Cut off the old limbs so new ones can grow. I'm not saying crown Barner the starter now and cut everyone else. We should develop him into the excellent runningback he no doubt will become barring injury knock on wood. After he starts showing out, cut ties with these aging backs. I believe J-Stew will return to form given time, much like we all hope Beast and Gettis are. I think someday down the road we need to let D-Will go to a contender team and get his SB ring to ensure his eventual enshrinement. I love D-Will but holding onto someone cause of his name and the memories you have when you have a stable full of capable backs is not only a bad business decision, but unwise for the roster as well. When should we cut him? I don't really know. He's still a good back when he has half ass decent blocking, which we obviously can't provide given that we brought in literally NO starting caliber O-Linemen.
I guess the main point I'm trying to make is that though the moves we have made the last two years have paid serious dividends in certain areas of our game, moving forward we HAVE to start seriously building around Cam. Stop overpaying for players simply because they're fan favorites. You can always find someone at least close to as good for a reasonable price. We need moves in the WR, TE, and the Guard and Tackle positions. A new O-Line coach wouldn't hurt either, this guys sucks. Make whatever excuses you want, the O-Line was inexcusably horrid last season. The Secondary could be god awful without Gamble instead of just questionable but I'm of the opinion grabbing a solid corner somewhere in the future will band aid that situation until the following offseason.
As fans we need to keep in mind juggling all these needs and whatnot isn't easy for our GM and other staff. It takes a lot of time and number crunching to get it all figured out. We need to be patient with our GM as he tries to bandage up this wound. However, he also needs to start building around Cam in a serious way and move away from this ancient run-first mentality.
Honestly, I think JR needs to stop trying to play GM. He's paying someone who actually knows what they're doing to do it. It's his team so I guess he can do what he wants, but if he wants success LET THE MAN DO HIS GOD DAMN JOB. The team philosophy needs to catch up to the times and start bringing in serious catching and O-Line talent. Need some good secondary players too. What we have will suffice for now I guess, but someday soon it needs to be addressed.