Panthers Start Strong |1-0
What did we learn about the Panthers strong showing in Tampa?
The Carolina Panthers beat an improving Tampa Bay team 20-14 and answered a major “What If” question along the way, “What if Cam Newton was injured and out for 4-6 Weeks? Would the season be lost?” For many teams the answer would be, “Season Over!” but not here. It turns out that DA, Derek Anderson, who started and ran the same offense prepared for Cam, has the respect of the team: he is a leader, a quality quarterback and generally good guy.
DA led the way to victory Sunday in his first start in three years. Immediately after the game, Coach Rivera said there was “no quarterback controversy, Cam is the starter,” but he has to sleep better at night knowing his backup quarterback Derek Anderson could start for half the teams in the league, and he has more protection at this critical position than 90% of the NFL teams.
The Panthers are preparing Cam Newton to start in the home opener Sunday against the improved Detroit Lions. The Panthers got a good view of The Lion’s as they thrashed the New York Giants last night on Monday Night Football, so they know they will need to score more than 20 to win. Cam and Benjamin are the combo to do just that!
That is where the 2nd thing we learned, that Kelvin Benjamin is determined to be an impact player in the NFL, he is making more catches, tougher ones too, than anyone in his rookie class, and much of the NFL. Benjamin’s emergence as a deep threat will open the running lanes for our solid running back crew, and make it easier on all of the receivers as well. The Panthers will continue to support his growth as a player, and use him to stretch every defense. He is almost un-coverable, and I can’t wait to see the acrobatic catches he and Cam will produce in the coming years.
The Panther defense showed it was in mid-season form, shutting out the Tampa offense for most of three quarters before giving up a pair of late touchdowns. It was fitting that Luke Kuechly, the Panther’s best defensive player is the one who stripped the ball from the Tampa Bay receiver after a short gain, on the crucial drive and ended any hope of a comeback for the Buccaneers. The defense found some physical safeties and corners as well- good work in week one by the new defensive backfield.
The coaches learned an important lesson as well, never take the foot off the gas. This is the NFL, and points can be scored in a hurry. The best defense is a good offense, and with Cam back, look for the coaches to keep the ball in their best player’s hands more often, especially in close end- game situations.
Thinking about moving to Charlotte? Panther and Hornets tickets are available.
Panthers 2014 Season Preview
Charlotte 9th in Cultural Venues in Nation