The Carolina Panthers are in preseason form, just as the rest of the NFL teams are. This tends to happen every year, so there is no real need to panic. Every fan looks for their team to be in mid-season form after the first scrimmage, first preseason game, second, but by the fourth, those fans are screaming undefeated season. I have no idea what planet they live on.
The Panthers traveled to Tennessee to take on a Titans team that was the mirror image of them a few seasons ago. After last week’s defeat at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens, the media hounds and fans were out to crucify the Panthers for their lackluster play. “It’s Preseason football people,” the score is kept, just because they pay a lot for those scoreboards, might as well make sure they work.
After the Panthers victory, I decided to focus on the one glaring issue that stuck out to me for the Panthers.
Cam Newton looked sharp as he played a little longer than he did in Week 1 against the Ravens. Newton completed 8/12 passes for 162 yards and 1 TD. This is what we shall expect to see from Newton in 2016 but what we cannot continue to see is – 51-134. Those numbers are disgusting, and yes I just stated that this is preseason, but this is the time where you should be dominating the line of scrimmage against a weaker opponent. This is the 2nd time in two weeks the Panthers have failed to make an impact on the ground.
I’ve said it all offseason. The Panthers made a serious mistake by going defensive in the first round when they had a chance to take Derrick Henry. They chose to go the other route, and that decision may come back to haunt them later down the line. Jonathan Stewart hasn’t been leaned on so far this preseason as he has carried the ball only three times but how great are they supposed to feel when you’re feeding it to Brandon Wegher 18 times in two games for a below average performance. All the blame is not on the young kid. Cameron Artis-Payne has not been the model of consistency himself with a paltry 3.o yards per carry.
Newton and the passing attack will score points, but the ground game is needed to move the chains and keep the defense fresh with time to rest. What we have seen in the first two preseason games will not cut it during the regular season.
A mistake was made on Draft Day. Now they must live with the consequences or find a way to get better ground production.