Having what it takes to win
Just a couple of weeks ago the Panthers signed Joe Brady to be their offensive coordinator. Fresh off of a championship victory of his own, Brady must have been watching SB LIV with pleasant reminders that the NFL is his new playground and his duty is to take charge of an offense with the goal of winning their first Super Bowl. His new toy box could make that goal a reality as the Panthers are just a few steps away from bearing a striking resemblance to the latest world champions.
The Panthers already have an offensive line that will be returning an experienced cast, a shifty running back (with a possible complement), a duo of quick ball-hawking wide receivers, and a fullback that has plenty of untapped potential. They will be without their security blanket tight end, but their fearless leader is sure to make a comeback on top of other offensive suitors who want to make the Panthers a championship team.
What the other side of the ball will look like is mostly up for debate, but we do know the linebacking corps and the line will be returning people with championship experience, the defensive backfield will be mostly the same, and the biggest issues will be addressed with the draft and free agency.
The determining factor of the Panthers’ success in 2020 will be how well everybody meshes on this new team and whether or not they’ll play for each other. You couldn’t really ask for much more effort from some people, but with recent and pending departures it’ll be interesting to see how much the changing culture affects the product on the field.
We all know a quarterback run for a first down on third or fourth down is always appreciated, but if the quarterback doesn’t make the play how much of an effort will the defense make to get the ball back to him? Who will take the most blame for the failure of the play? Will the coaches try the same thing later just to prove a point? We saw the 2019 Panthers’ late-game rallies fall short (too many times), so maybe the returners can refer to those moments as lessons for the 2020 team.
It helps that the new coaching staff has a salubrious mix of expertise and championship experience to use in their approach. It’s also encouraging to know the most important piece of the puzzle is a comeback story with something to prove. Everyone on this team has something to prove; they all have a story to tell. Now we wait and see how the story unfolds.