As I'm moderating the big Panther group on FB. I'm going through threads and then this topic comes up.
What percentage is it Cam's fault, how much should he be held accountable for the Panthers fall from grace?
Personally, I do not blame Cam that much, I'd say at least in the teens would be his fault.
Most of the problem here is the previous regime's screwed up contracts that got things started badly. No money to sign real talent, even with the Hardy tag, which at the time was more of a 'smart' move, even though I had my doubts. There were a select few of fans that thought about letting Hardy walk and using the tag money to make the offensive line better. The secondary better, and along the way if possible, getting one weapon for Cam. Hindsight, right? Hah.
On paper, Gettleman, over zealously in my humble opinion, tried to hit the jackpot again while scrapping the bottom of the Free Agency Barrel. In all fairness It's the only option he could do at the time since he tagged Hardy. It's understandable, he does have an eye for talent. He literally was leaning on luck once more to make this work. A very wise man once told me that if you have to rely on luck to get things done you're doing things the wrong way. I'll chalk that one up to Gettleman being in his second year as a GM. He has done wonders for his first year. Maybe overachieving as well. At the current time frame, it looks like it was an overachieving year last year.
Gutting the WR corp and adding sub par talent, not the best way to help your franchise QB, but by the logic of the answer being the roster, you could argue that it was the correct move. Cutting Steve Smith, to me wasn't a huge loss. As you can see after our game, Smith has disappeared. A bit of a Ghost, but, that has nothing to do with this team. Adding veterans and seeing what we had in UDFAs was all he could do. I do not fault our GM for that.
The never ending Offensive line carousel. This is one of the huge faults. Losing your franchise Left Tackle to retirement you can't stop, but you can try to replace. At least with someone with half the talent. Well that didn't happen. The answer was in the roster. The draft came and well according to Gettleman, no one was good enough to put in that spot. Which is why we kept the course with Mr. Byron Bell. Wharton not being there, really a JAG but he was a serviceable one. Getting Trai turner was a godsend to be honest, a break in a way. But alas, the injury bug. It seems that is a huge factor to this lines woes. But, many clubs have the same thing happen but their lines are average, it's literally the next man up mentality that is implemented by the coaching staff. For example, the Cardinals. Too many pieces in order to gel together wasn't going to happen. Not this year anyway. The silver lining is that with the injuries, you can see the next man up. Norwell is looking like a staple, Remmers is promising as well, even after one game.
The once mighty stable of Running backs that put on a clinic on Sundays, has literally become a clinic. They are not healthy and they are grossly overpaid. It's sad that this group is getting more money than the offensive line unit, which makes everything work, the run game, the pass game, everything. Thanks Hurney.
The defense was the most perplexing though. Essentially losing hardy has put it in retard mode. I guess it's a wake up call to how much of a difference Hardy made on this team. He was literally the engine of that Defense, he made it go. Right now it is a shallow core of its former formidable self. Another reason why this team plain sucks. They can't stop a nosebleed. The secondary is sporadic at best. The pass rush is non existent. The Line backing corp is the best part of the unit.
The special teams unit has been horrible since Ted Ginns departure. Another reason he was more than just a WR. The field advantage he brought to the table helped so much. Another thing that helps the offense and the QB.
I believe the biggest losses this team had that were the Catalyst of this terrible season are the loss of Jordan Gross, the exclusion of Greg Hardy, and the departure of Mike Mitchell and Ted Ginn. The rest were non-factors. Losing them hurt more than anything. There are sub departures that left ripples in this seasons puddle of suckage. LaFell, even with his mediocre play he was reliable, but not a huge loss. Steve smith with his fire and passion, that lacked in recent years until he was let go was only rekindled because of stubbornness and the inability to realize that- You're old bro. Get over it.
The Coaching Staff. This is where I believe, if we were talking about pie charts, the hugest chunk would belong to the "Why we suck." pie chart.
The offensive coordinator position. I honestly don't know what happened. Shula in the previous year, as play calls are concerned, were average. Then, all of a sudden, he forgot how to play call. The miscues, the running plays on passing downs, the same 3 plays over and over again. The misuse of the weapons we had, even if they weren't many, but we have them. The lack of urgency in certain situations. I could go on for day with how oblivious he is and the play calling is that of a high school coach. We were warned from the start, by that famous MFCEO. (Hi Jeremy! :3)
Defensive coordinator took a step back, I can't help but wonder if it is really just because of Hardy missing and the aggressive styling of Mitchell. Hardy was the best Run stopping DE we had, we can't stop the run. Hardy was versatile, so much that he played Tackle in certain packages, opening up the defense and the pass rush. Mitchell got to sit back and make plays. Very good plays. His strengths were against the run as well. Decoud and Harper...hah. Not so much. Why Melvin White was not kept as a starter is beyond me. Having Cason in there after his missed tackles, getting burned every other play does not make sense. The soft zone schemes though, with Cason? WTF. You have
Finally the Coach himself. River boat Ron. That ship has sailed buddy, you've lost the locker room. Your bonehead play decisions, no sense of urgency. You don't seem to understand how to work a clock. You don't run the ball when you are down by more than two possessions! You are not Leading the game you're trailing. You even quit your gambling persona. You're not 'Riverboat' Ron anymore, you're 'Denial River' Ron. It's the state of mind Mr. Rivera has been in since game 5.
All the ailments this team has endured that seem to be brushed aside and the question keeps getting asked by fans and the media alike, 'Why has Cam Regressed?" "What's wrong with Cam?", "How much is this Season, Cam's fault?". Well, I'd say very little. I'd have to say the wrong questions are being asked.
To be fair, he has his faults. He over throws. He hangs on to the ball too long. Happy feet. Cam Newtons throwing mechanics and footwork are the only faults that I see that contribute to this season. Over throwing and not stepping into his throws. I hold him accountable for things he can control.
Not having time to throw, not having receivers run the right routes. Not having them get open. Dropped balls when they were placed in the right spot. Running for his life or having the protection stop, Linemen not pick up the right assignments and letting defenders waltz right to him. Having, apparently, a limited number of plays that are being called during the game leading to constant 3 and outs. Players being injured and not being healthy. The defense not being able to make stops when needed. That's not Cam's fault.
If I could put a percentage, I'd say this is probably 5% Cam's Fault. This is a team sport after all. This team is no playing as such, not like last year. Last year was a perfect storm.
Despite all this, the future does look bright, Gettleman being able to do more with more cap space is a very intriguing notion to daydream about. The possibilities endless. Sometimes you have to take a couple steps back before taking a huge jump forward. Is the draft here yet?