Could low expectations help the Carolina Panthers in 2020?

Dean Jones
Carolina Panthers, Teddy Bridgewater. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Carolina Panthers, Teddy Bridgewater. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Could lowly expectations in 2020 actually be a good thing for the Carolina Panthers?

Expectations could not be much lower for the Carolina Panthers heading into the new season. They have made vast changes to their coaching staff and roster. So a period of transition is expected and perhaps could even be welcome.

Despite their relative lack of ambitions regarding a postseason berth in 2020. There is nothing to suggest the Carolina Panthers cannot become one of the NFL’s surprise packages if everything clicks into place right away.

Their offense has the scope to be devastating if their line holds up to the pressure. A young defense could also make some strides. But this is also certain to come with its own set of complications and inconsistency.

New head coach Matt Rhule will be given something of a pass for Carolina’s record next season. He has a rich history of rebuilding programs successfully in college. And on both occasions at Baylor and Temple, it took him until his second campaign to show real improvement.

This might let his players relax a little more. Going into the season with any sort of expectations with this current group could have a detrimental impact on their short and long-term aspirations. One would think all the Panthers are looking for is stability, and for the team to show improvement with each passing game.

Adam Rank from also shared some thoughts on this particular topic. And he even suggested Carolina might be able to make a sneaky run if they fly under the radar.

"“The Panthers are going to be given some wiggle room here. They are in a complete rebuild right now, but they have so many good pieces that they should be able to at least match (if not improve on) the five wins from 2019. The Panthers should be able to fly under the radar in the NFC South because the highest expectations will be on the Buccaneers and Saints, with the Falcons playing for Dan Quinn’s job. I’m not saying this will happen, but they do have a chance to be one of those sneaky teams that make a run.”"

Can the Carolina Panthers exceed expectations in 2020?

It is quite easy to go above your target when there isn’t really one to go off. The Carolina Panthers are predicted by many to have one of if not the worst record in the NFL by week 17. So in that sense, any encouragement the team can get from their upcoming fixtures will stand them in tremendous stead as they look to be a possible contender in the future.

Rhule himself will be under no illusions as to the task awaiting his roster going forward. They are relatively devoid of veteran leadership after parting ways with a wealth of established players this offseason. They were also dealt a real blow when linebacker Luke Kuechly announced his retirement.

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That being said, there is a case to be made for the Panthers equalling or even exceeding their 2019 record. This is a young and exciting roster that has some prominent playmakers on both sides of the ball.

The NFC South is not going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination. Therefore, it will be vital that the Panthers’ coaching staff identify winnable games on their schedule and get the most out of their players when it matters most.

If they fail during the first year of their rebuild, so what? It would give them a high-end draft pick in 2021 to bolster their roster further. And the franchise is also set to have significantly more salary-cap space to play with next spring.

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