The Carolina Panthers move into training camp this week with everything on the line.
The Panthers are a year removed from a season in which Ryan Kalil promised a Super Bowl appearance that did not come to fruition and a season in which the team became beat by themselves rather than the opponents.
This distinguishes a certain issue the Panthers have had for years. The attitude of the team is one of dejection.
Cam Newton was chastised by the media last year for making the statement that the reporters should put suggestions in the suggestion box. This showed a lack of leadership and a losing attitude in the face of adversity.
No player wants to lose, any player that does would never be in the league. However, losses happen, considering the only undefeated team in NFL history was the 1972 Dolphins. Accepting these losses and learning from them is how a team becomes successful, not by making statements based on emotion.
If Ron Rivera makes a point to cultivate the rookies in an atmosphere of hope and determination, Ryan Kalil’s Super Bowl promise will come this year. If Rivera coaches the rookies and the team with a sense that the season is already lost, the actions will follow the beliefs.
I cannot and will not put this all on Rivera, however. More than him, the veterans and NFL conditioned players need to step up and get the team pumped. Steve Smith and LaFell can get the wide receivers mindset correct. Ryan Kalil can jack up the offensive line. The defensive line has three veterans in Hardy, Johnson, and Edwards to get the rookies ready. The list goes on, and the teams mindset is one of the issues that never got solved last season.
The Panthers have the talent. The team is full of veteran leadership and experience and is now refueled by young vibrant players, chomping at the bit to prove their worth.
The last and and final thing to say to the Carolina Panthers, if you like it, then you NEED to put a ring on it. Don’t just be happy with second place or the playoffs. Shoot for the grand prize, and the results may surprise some people.