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The 33rd Team names three NFL teams that are "stuck in neutral"


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Yes, one of them is us. The other two are very familiar.

Along with the Panthers, former scout Tom Rudawsky lists the Commanders and the Falcons as teams that are just treading water at this point.

Regarding the Panthers, Rudawsky writes this:

Moving down the east coast from the nation’s capital to Charlotte, North Carolina, we have another NFC team that feels like they’re swimming in the pools of average. After starting 3-0 in 2021, the bottom fell out on the Panthers, as they went 2-12 the remainder of the season, finishing with five wins for the third straight year. Some would argue this isn’t mediocrity – it’s just plain bad. However, I don’t view the Panthers as a bad football team. I do think there’s been positives to Matt Rhule’s tenure and what Carolina has in place moving forward. This is a young, athletic team with a lot of speed on the perimeter – something that makes them hard to play against. They are building an identity defensively, with a deep cornerback group and some impressive players in the front seven such as Brian Burns and Shaq Thompson.

On offense, Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore are legit studs at their respective positions – granted if they can stay healthy. Like the Commanders, it feels unlikely Carolina will take the next step this season due to their quarterback play. Drafting Matt Corral was a smart decision, as the team needed to shoot for upside – which Corral represents. However, given the offense Corral is coming from at Ole Miss, him being able to start week one feels unlikely, which means more Sam Darnold. This time last year, the jury was still out on Darnold, as some believed he simply needed a new situation and fresh start – then he’d thrive. After the tape he put out there in 2021, that’s a hard opinion to stand behind now.

Realistically, can the Panthers win 10+ games with Darnold at the helm and make the playoffs? That seems like a losing bet to make. Really, Carolina’s best shot at a successful 2022 campaign likely includes handing the keys over to Corral at some point while riding the back of a healthy McCaffrey. How likely is that scenario? Well, that’s anyone’s guess, but either way this doesn’t feel like a team with much upside given the major question mark at the game’s most important position.

No mention of other quarterback options. Unknown what his opinion might be if a change is made at that spot.

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7 minutes ago, Jackie Lee said:

But what about the process?

Didn’t you hear? “The process” (per Rhule) is just hoping players get better. 

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1 hour ago, Mr. Scot said:

After starting 3-0 in 2021, the bottom fell out on the Panthers, as they went 2-12 the remainder of the season, finishing with five wins for the third straight year. Some would argue this isn’t mediocrity – it’s just plain bad.

 

1 hour ago, Mr. Scot said:

This is a young, athletic team with a lot of speed on the perimeter – something that makes them hard to play against.

These two statements contradict themselves. If the perimeter speed made the defense hard to play against, the defense wouldn't have gotten beaten and ran over like they did after those first three games.

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7 minutes ago, jayboogieman said:

 

These two statements contradict themselves. If the perimeter speed made the defense hard to play against, the defense wouldn't have gotten beaten and ran over like they did after those first three games.

I wouldn't say they are contradictory statements.  They were hard to play against until the weakness was figured out.  As is the case with most speed defenses, running right at them can yield big gains.  That was figured out in game 4. 

The catch is not every team is equipped to run at the opposing defense.  We were still hard to play against for those offenses that rely primarily on speed and finesse.  Those are the offenses that often get throttled in the playoffs, which probably ought to be a sign to our coaching staff/front office.

Speed is a great asset in the NFL.  But, there come times when you simply need to line up and out-muscle the opponent on either offense or defense.  We haven't done that very well for a few years.  We might some improvement this year on offense if our OL shows improvement.  The defensive side of the ball remains a mystery to me in that respect.

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46 minutes ago, jayboogieman said:

 

These two statements contradict themselves. If the perimeter speed made the defense hard to play against, the defense wouldn't have gotten beaten and ran over like they did after those first three games.

Perimeter speed generally is used to talk about offense.    IMO, I think he was talking about offense on with that line and the next sentence was on D.  All part of a team summary IMO.  Carolina did have good perimeter speed and defenses had to account for with DJ and Robbie.  A defensive gameplan for us has to be much different than a team like Atlanta or the Jags (last years version with no speed). 

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4 hours ago, jayboogieman said:

 

These two statements contradict themselves. If the perimeter speed made the defense hard to play against, the defense wouldn't have gotten beaten and ran over like they did after those first three games.

Based on my armchair QB education, you always run right at a speedy defense. If the personnel is there it seems to work. 

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