Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis (52) hoists the Vince Lombardi trophy after Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Ravens defeated the 49ers 34-31. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers: Better Than Advertised

Going into this football season the Carolina Panthers have made moves to improve the secondary, the linebacking core, as well as new faces on the offense. Still, however, the media gives them no credit.

Cam Newton has the potential to become a franchise quarterback if he can let go of the “big play” mentality and focus on the “right play” completion. Whether his potential is recognized is up to him at this point.

Steve Smith is still a top wide receiver in the league, albeit he is getting older. To remedy this problem the Panthers have made selections such as Ted Ginn Jr. to back up Smith and the young Brandon LaFell.

The running backs are set with the pickup of Kenjon Barner, which may fix the issue of our halfbacks being injured. With another runner in the mix, Barner provides a backup for Jonathon Stewart and DeAngelo Williams. Mike Tolbert does not look like he will have a problem pounding out the defense and staying healthy; considering all three hundred pounds of him, he is a tad more durable.

The defense is power packed with Luke Kuechly chomping at the bit to become the next Brian Urlacher, and returning veterans like John Beason, Thomas Davis, Charles Johnson, Greg Hardy, and Dwan Edwards. The combination of experience and raw talent coming from the veterans and rookies is fit to be tied. They are all looking for their chance to get a piece of opposing offenses.

The offensive line is healthy again, and Ryan Kalil is back; breathe a sigh of relief Panthers fans. The healthy line culminates into a better running game and more time for Newton to COMPLETE the RIGHT play.

With these pieces fitting together, the puzzle for a Lombardi is almost complete. The media and the rest of the league don’t seem to think so. The Panthers have been counted out yet again.

The team is together and the combination of Ron Rivera and Mike Shula on offense may provide a creative touch to keep the offense on the field and the defense off.

The defense is led by Sean McDermott and Rivera, both of them ready to create the shutdown defense to cause turnovers and score points.

Needless to say, don’t be surprised to see Carolina raising some eyebrows, and be prepared to see them in the playoffs. They may not lead the division but a wildcard spot is well within reason based on the talent the team has in stock. The Panthers have slowly been building and preparing and it is possible that the team will make a run to go deep in the playoffs.

The Panthers are set to disprove the doubters that have looked down upon them this year. The fans and the team need a Super Bowl win, and a Lombardi trophy to put in the trophy case.

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