Carolina Panthers, The Road To A Championship In 2009 Starts Now!

By PFC Writer Brian Wyant

Let’s begin with comparing where we are against where the final 4 teams in the championship rounds are.Where are our weaknesses, we can only hope that if we can see these that Mr Richardson, Coach Fox and Marty Hurney (GM) can and will see this as well.  Past experience has shown us we have at least a 50/50 chance of them taking the time to evaluate and analyze as we have done here. If I can see these things you would expect our Panther leadership to see this as well (at the very least)

Defense, an obvious weakness as you see 3 of the final 4 this weekend are in the top 3 defensively of the NFL, we are not.

What is it about our defense, lack of enough players with a passion for the game, a killer instinct, lack of a front four and D Backs with a mentality of “Once I put my helmet on, if you come near me I’m going to knock your head off”.  In listening to former Carolina Panther Brentson Buckner he states “Attitude” is such a huge ingredient to a winner on defense.  We have a good start on this with Chris Harris, John Beason, but this needs to permeate the Panthers 2009 locker room and on draft day as well as into free agency.

Ability and Skill, Defensive backs were our weakness all year, we need two press cover men, two new D backs that can play bump and run shut down defense.  I don’t care if we trade for them, draft them, or find them in free agency, just “Find Them”

Defense, Front 4 we need to add at least one pass rusher ideally two because one thing we did not do in 2008 was put pressure on the QB’s we played against.  Drew Breeze, Warner, and others stood in the pocket with enough time to make a sandwich and then eat it and then throw the ball.  These and any other “average” QB will rip us apart given this much time.  This is a need that must be filled in the off season or we will be watching multiple QB’s throw for over 350 yards again next year.

On offense we have two needs,  One we need another deep, fast Wide Receiver threat, someone to compliment Smitty, Moose is not that guy, Jarret may be but I need to see a lot more before making that conclusion.  Secondly if we don’t have that tight, high potential starting QB on the roster now, we need to get one.  We need someone to push Jake, someone who can step in when Jake gets flaky and can run the offense effectively and efficiently, someone who can take over and run this offense in the event Jake gets hurt or simply cannot do the job effectively anymore, I am concerned that he may have hit the wall and we will need a change sooner than later on this.

Coaching, it’s time for a change at D. coordinator as well as a tweak in Coach Fox’s own philosophy. The problem is Fox, unless he changes his philosophy will only go with a yes man like Tergovac, that’s why he hired the former D. Line Coach T. because he would simply do what Fox tells him to do.  With this philosophy we wont get better, Coach Fox, Mr Hurney,  please wake up, look at the facts, our defensive schemes are not working, we dont have a coordinator the D. wants to play for and we are not making in game adjustments like we need to.  Coach Fox, please look at this weakness, acknowledge it and look for a new D. coordinator in the off season.

The intangibles:  current players stepping up and seeing this devastating early exit as a reason to get better, get stronger, practice harder, get in the mind set of “this is not good enough for us”, who will step up?  Who will be the one defensive leader, offensive leader that will rally the troops, and exert his leadership and passion and infuse this into the 2009 Carolina Panthers?

Last but not least, watch these teams this weekend (Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Arizona, Philadelphia), the final 4 and LEARN from them, watch and see what they do, how they do it, what the players attitudes are, how adjustments are made, who and how personal is utilized and implement what you can in 2009 so that we can become one of the elite in the NFL.

Great leadership learns from and makes changes, emulates winners and champions, Great leaders do not stay status quo and stubbornly tied to a philosophy when it isn’t winning you championships!