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How the Carolina Panthers can get back to the playoffs

It's time for second-year general manager Dave Gettleman to help restore the Carolina Panthers to postseason contention.

It’s time for first-year general manager Dave Gettleman to help restore the Carolina Panthers to postseason contention.

Although they have steadily improved from the disaster of 2010, the Carolina Panthers haven’t posted a winning record in the past four seasons, much less gotten close to the playoffs. They aren’t necessarily as far away from the postseason as it might look, however. They have a strong foundation in place. With a few tweaks and strategic moves, they can not only contend for the playoffs, but also take that next step to become become one of the best teams in the NFC.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton looks to lead his team to the playoffs for the first time since 2008

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton looks to lead his team to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Lead from the front

Quarterback Cam Newton has all the athletic ability to become an NFL great. The only thing holding him back is that he does not know how to handle losing. When the Panthers are behind on the scoreboard, Newton shuts down. The rest of the team can’t help but notice this and starts playing poorly too. As a leader of this franchise, Newton must learn how to keep a cool head and rally the troops in the face of adversity.

Less read option

Since Carolina drafted Newton, they have moved away from the traditional running game and implemented a read-option offensive scheme. This has hurt the production of running backs DeAnglo Willams and Jonathan Stewart, both of whom were 1,000-yard rushers before the read option was adopted. The read option can be useful in certain situations, but when it becomes a staple of the rushing attack, it is easily stopped.

Returning to a power run game will take pressure off Newton and make the offense both more balanced and more explosive.

Draft strong

General manager Dave Gettleman and the front office have their work cut out for them, as they only have five picks in the 2013 NFL Draft: the 14th-overall pick in the first round and one pick in each of the second, fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds.

Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams hopes to rebound from a down 2012 season.

Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams hopes to rebound from a disappointing 2012 season.

Luckily, this team doesn’t have many glaring needs other than defensive tackle, cornerback, and free safety.

Although he will likely be long gone before Carolina is on the clock, Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei would make an immediate impact and transform an already good defensive line into a great one. Alternatively, Sylvester Williams out of North Carolina would be a steal in the second round. Quick off the snap, Williams is always in the backfield. He is great run stopper who can also get after the quarterback.

After picking up cornerbacks Drayton Florence and D.J. Moore in free agency, Gettleman is not likely to draft another corner in the first few rounds. However, he might take a good look at Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, a game changer who would easily replace the struggling Haruki Nakamura.

865 comments
robertj72
robertj72

Has the FBI named Richard Jewel as a person of interest yet?

0125
0125 moderator

Seeing the ignorant comments about Muslims from people on various message boards makes me sad for two reasons. 1) No one knows who the attacker was, it could be a Muslim terrorist or a white american terrorist. 2) All muslims arent the same. 


BearsSaveLives
BearsSaveLives moderator

So, Sam Shields hasn't signed his tender yet. I thought that was the case.

natradamus
natradamus moderator

I just remembered to email my nominations... damn I suck

JVince 11
JVince 11

I do find it interesting that Sam Shields was rated as the 8th best cover CB in the NFL last year....


Thanks PFF.

JVince 11
JVince 11

josh sitton Verified account@jsitton71

i enjoy long walks on the beach. and beautiful sunsets. i also enjoy my hair

JVince 11
JVince 11

How the hell did we not see that Rodgers is dropping absolute gold on Twitter the past few days!?!?!?!?!

JVince 11
JVince 11

No more flyovers before Packer games...


that is kind of sad.

JVince 11
JVince 11

Packers were originally just going to release Jolly the second he got reinstated but after speaking with him on the phone and a scout seeing him in person and what kind of shape he was in... they thought they should give him a shot because they thought he really sounded dedicated and knew that he had fucked up but wanted to make better for himself so they are giving him a shot.


Kudos to GB for not making everything just a business decision.

JVince 11
JVince 11

Packers signed another Street UFA... Sederick Cunningham WR from Furman who ran a 4.45... I am sure he will be the next Greg Jennings for us....  No doubt.. every street UFA that TT picks up will be an NFL God.


http://imgur.com/mguc1no

JVince 11
JVince 11

Good lord... Demovsky and Vandermause are debating whether they think GB should bring back Benson...


DRAFT MOTHA FUCKING LA'VEON BELL!!!! Problem Solved!

MIB Baby Bird Whisperer
MIB Baby Bird Whisperer

"The first electronic bingo games aimed at helping to fund the Vikings stadium have hit a technical glitch and will be shut down until the problem is fixed, according to a report at the Minnesota’s Gambling Control Board meeting Monday."

JVince 11
JVince 11

The Packers are still talking with restricted free agent CB Sam Shields about a long-term contract.

Nothing is imminent as Shields is at least third in line for a new deal behind Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews. There's no urgency because he'll eventually sign the one-year, $2.02M RFA tender. Per Pro Football Focus, Shields graded out as a top-eight corner in coverage last year.

JVince 11
JVince 11

Is it pathetic that I am actually excited to see Andrew Quarless again??? he was a average to slightly above average blocker and was also an above average receiver too.

0125
0125 moderator

The world must be ending. My Macbook Pro just froze on on twice in a row and I had to hard reboot both times. 

MIB Baby Bird Whisperer
MIB Baby Bird Whisperer

Bears begin a voluntary mini camp today. It is an extra 3 day mini camp that they are allowed due to a new coaching staff.

JVince 11
JVince 11

no one here already...... jeez.... this place is emptier than MaC's bank account living in Colorado with legal weed.

JVince 11
JVince 11

Bitches and Hoes..... Good Mooning boys... good mooning.

0125
0125 moderator

Braves go for 10 straight tonight! I think they can do it

0125
0125 moderator

Good morning northerners!

LKP
LKP

Carolina picked up CB DJ Moore not DJ Williams

Mods Suck
Mods Suck

Social media is absolutely unusable right now. Millions of people flooding their pages with maudlin sentiments thinking they are "making a difference" by firing off 140 characters of faux empathy.

zombienunya
zombienunya

well, guess im gonna go get toasted. I might be back