Aug 15, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Nate Chandler (78) warms up with guard Hayworth Hicks (75) beore the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

In Chandler We Trust

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There’s no point in beating around the bush. The Panthers are heading into the season in what really looks like a precarious situation, on paper.  It’s not standard operating procedure for teams to go into the season with a converted player starting in an important position along the line.

Jan 12, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers guard Nate Chandler (78) on the field prior to the 2013 NFC divisional playoff football game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 12, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers guard Nate Chandler (78) on the field prior to the 2013 NFC divisional playoff football game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

As it stands now the Panthers will enter the season with a converted defensive lineman at one tackle spot and a heavily criticized former undrafted player at the other. Is this something to worry about? Of course not, if anything look at it like this – the Panthers’ defensive tackles are so good they are playing one on offense!” There will be plenty of talk thrown around regarding the Panthers starting offensive tackles between now and September, but don’t let it get you down Panther fans.  We are going to be just fine despite what anybody has to say about it. The fans, analysts and self proclaimed “experts” will see the situation as it looks, on paper, and make the most obvious assumptions.  On paper the depth chart doesn’t look good but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Football is a game of intangibles, and sometimes they can make all of the difference.  Yeah, Nate Chandler is an undrafted player who didn’t even enter the league playing the position he will be starting in this year.  That will lead many into assumptions that Cam Newton will certainly be on his back all season.  That it will render the offense ineffective and many will cast off the Panthers as a fluke last year.  Their assumptions matter little when certain intangibles come into play.

The Panthers of last year were no fluke, and those of us that sat on the edge of our seats with them all season know that.  This team is well coached and disciplined.  As fans we should trust in the men running the show in Charlotte.  They have proven themselves capable and we should have faith in them. Nate Chandler received a contract extension this past week and it’s important to take a minute and consider what that means.  It was not specifically necessary to extend him at this point in the offseason but the mere fact that they did so suggests they believe in him.  They have seen what they needed to see in order to trust him with the safety of our star quarterback. The new contract is a clear vote of confidence for Nate Chandler that can motivate him to higher levels of success.  Motivation and confidence are intangibles of the game that will never show up on paper.  A properly motivated player can excell regardless of the level of skill he brings to the table.  Football is a game of emotion and when a player believes; when he puts it all on the line, he can do things that nobody thought possible. The team has sent a clear message to Nate Chandler that they believe in him, and that message is for us too.  Chandler has as much potential to succeed as anybody this season and it’s going to be great watching how it all unfolds.
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