I know you've experienced it before. When things aren't going right. When you're in a funk. Whether it's personal or business. We've all experienced it..
Then things start to happen. From little to big things. This has been the rhetoric of the Carolina Panthers of late. Take a step forward and then two back.
Let's flashback to 2010. When everything was in a funk. A lame duck coach. Yes, Foxy was a lame duck coach. NO matter what any of you that wish he was still here say. He was a LAME DUCK COACH. Hey, it is what it is.. or what it was. Having a QB carousel, not knowing who will start the next week. A rookie QB that was thrown to the wolves. Sure he wasn't any good to begin with but eh. He was dead on arrival. The staff was as vanilla as can be. Jeff Davidson was the OC then. Remember that? Run, run, pass on 3rd and long, punt (good play man good play!). Predictable.
2011 Draft. Cam becomes our 'savior', start out bad, finish strong. the rest is history. (Lockout was the main scapegoat for this season. Injuries as well. Lack of experience from the coaching staff.)
2012 comes, high hopes on everyones minds. We start out horribly, finish strong with a 1 game improvement. What was the scapegoat this season? Coaching staff regressing? Injuries to key players? Lack of talent at certain positions? Yes on all accounts.
The Coaching staff for whatever reason did not progress like most of us would have thought. Chud went "full retard". Yes, he somehow thought it would be a great Idea that running the Read Option as a base offense would work. When the prior year it wasn't done that way. It was thrown in periodically. Was it Rivera's fault for not supervising Chud? Could be.. He shares part of the blame. But ultimately that was on Chud for even thinking about it. The running game was abandoned. Towards the end of the season we finally clicked. But again, took a step forward at the end of 2011, and took two steps back in the beginning of this season. I blame mostly Chud for this.
McDermott, who even as of last year. I thought was a moron... Really won me over. I believe that the players finally bought into his system. It works. Sure it worked for sub par teams. But let's look at the Denver Game. Take away the special teams blunders, that game was controlled by this defense for a huge chunk of the time. Keeping Manning In check. But again, Denvers special teams just steam rolled through ours. The momentum was too much. Not McD's department. Most of the season the wins can be accounted for 1 key play in the defense. That falls to lack of Talent at the players in that position.
Safety. Corner in some games. Not going to go in the 'had (Players name) made that play' game. We all know that doesn't exist.
The special teams, which was suppose to improve with a certain player from Arkansas, did not. Armanti Edwards was the person that took care of these responsibilities. Yes. He did an ok job. But being run down by the punter? Come on man.
Rivera: There's been plenty of blunders that he's committed. Time management is still a foreign concept to him. Time outs with a minute left and the ability to move up the field to get at least 3 points is a sin. Regardless, during the whole seasons progression. I did notice he took command, being under a lot of heat. I mean tremendous heat. After Hurney was fired. I believe this was the turning point of the Coaching staff. Rivera firing the special teams coach as well. Could be a scapegoat, who knows. But it took balls. In the beginning of the season where you have one of the leagues most talented backfields, and expensive, you don't feel comfortable enough to go for it on 4th and 1 to finish a game? Not even mentioning Cam Newtons 6'5 frame that could easily stretch out to get 1 freaking yard... Rivera grew some balls. Yes, testicular fortitude was acquired in the latter part of the season. There were several games we went for it. The Raiders game to go for the field goal to seal the win. It took cojones.
Ending the season with a one game improvement isn't much of an improvement. But it is an improvement regardless. I'm not condoning mediocrity. But I am promoting patience. 2008 was a long time ago. We yearn as a fan base the ability to talk poo to others that we're in the playoffs and they aren't. That we're the best team of our division but we're not. I understand that.
Take a look at this off season so far. "One step forward, two steps back.." Oh wait. Gettleman is a huge step forward. Shula is more of a lateral move to me (admittedly I though as this as a step backwards). I did not want him at first but then I soaked it in a bit. Chud won't be playing mad scientist anymore. He won't be here to abandon that running game we have. Skipper was hired again, that's another huge plus. A third year in the same system will help Cam. The draft isn't even here yet and our holes are glaring but minimal. The lines and weapons for Cam. We aren't making this team learn new systems which would set us back. If anything we'll have a more balanced attack with more use of our running backs. That's the way I see it.
So far I don't see a step backwards.