The absolute best thing Owner David Tepper has done PR-wise was spread his cash supply on documented OC and DC coordinators and assistants for a team that just might be a well-trained stud quarterback shy of being MUCH better. FYI – The current number on Ohio State’s CJ Stroud as Panthers #1 pick is -160 by CBS Sports (betting $160 to win $100 base bet-proposition)
GM Scott Fitterer, Tepper, Reich, and first year OC Thomas Brown will be 100% on same page with this choice. https://www.panthers.com/team/coaches-roster/thomas-brown All the boxes will be checked. Yes, its still a month to draft day.
This isn’t Kevin Costner as Sonny Weaver, Jr. in ‘Draft Day.’ Some will call it a 4th iteration of Fitterer bringing in previous, if flawed, leaders. Keeping Matt Corral, post-broken ankle v. trade, means he’ll be a more valuable backup from same great coaching. Everyone’s glad Shaq worked out staying.–Myself, 3/30/23, but Panthers #1 pick, as Covey often suggests, isn’t anything fans should worry about. #Gshorkonsharonroadseam
2nd Time with Franchise QB: More than Move the Chains
Frank Reich as Head Coach is now operationally fine, and Steve Wilks found a pretty solid place to showcase his chops in Phoenix.
Yes, 7-10 record off 1-6 Rhule-Mayfield start was a resurrection, for organization and fans. No hard feelings there (maybe). It was difficult seeing McCaffrey become an even brighter (Super Bowl!) star with 49ers, DJM was all class, and he felt the Love here. Both gone in one season – If you want to declare ‘We were blessed with their efforts,’ feel free #Charlotte.
Former Panther QB Jimmy Clausen saw unrelenting blitzes the year before Cam’s rookie year without a checkdown receiver, but All Pros Jeremy Shockey (past) and Greg Olsen (future) came to Charlotte with Cam. Both had terrific blocking skills, but Olsen became a lethal ninja-type TE, reappearing eight yards downfield for first downs that moved the chains.
His three consecutive 1,000 seasons hasn’t been replaced, but starting with Adam Thielen (from Minn., 3 yr/$25MM), RB Miles Sanders (from Philly, 4 yr/$25MM), WR DJ Chark (16.7 avg yd/catch, one yr. $5MM ‘make good’ contract), and resigning center Bradley Bozeman (3 yr./$18MM), puts good personnel all around that franchise piece. You haven’t heard ‘up against the cap’ in a while.
Expectations for rookie stats (4,000+ yds) will be similar level to Newton’s. The 2023 Panthers won’t be in Game Management 101 mode.
Newton’s physical skills in RPO (run pass option) of 2010 offense were obvious, but even during his MVP season, his throwing stats were in line with career numbers, like three points higher. He never threw anything besides a bullet, never ‘threw a receiver open’ or aired it out for a fast guy to run under. On a certain level, it’ll be a 2nd Coming the Panther faithful can-will embrace.
O-line as Strength
The offensive line is built righteous, all paid for too. The mantra about offensive line play is always a problem, until it isn’t – well, now it isn’t. Panthers have notably signed several additional lineman, after years of what seemed an organizational flaw, with line repositioning necessary whenever two injuries occurred. Ekwonu and Moton are All-Pro material. https://www.panthers.com/video/ikem-ekwonu-earns-spot-in-pff-90-club-after-performance-vs-49ers.
The running backs (Chubba Hubbard, 1,078 yards/7 TDs in two years; high achiever Sanders) will benefit from Bozeman’s return and OC Thomas’ usual two-man gang approach to the position. Jamaal Williams had 17 TDs for Detroit last year under Staley, and they averaged132.2 yards/game. The Panthers averaged 130. Expect some saltiness in their approach to run blocking, and giving Stroud (-160 is stiff, but a winner) the sort of steadiness barely imaginable this time last year.
Accumulating coaches positive: Asst. Head Coach/Running backs, Duce Staley https://www.panthers.com/team/coaches-roster/duce-staley
Staley and Reich were part of the offensive coaching that made Philadelphia Eagles 2017 Super Bowl winners, a VERY BIG factor in Reich’s selection as Head Coach. While visions of prime talent gone elsewhere (McCaffrey, Moore) will persist, Line Coach James Campen and Staley will continue upward cycle of strong O-line play, with significant statistical success.