Analytics predict big things for Carolina Panthers offense in 2020

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Joe Brady
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Joe Brady /

Some insightful analytics point to significant improvement for the Carolina Panthers from an offensive standpoint in 2020.

There might be plenty of questions to answer for the Carolina Panthers overall in 2020. But their offense has the potential to be special if everything clicks into place right away.

They boast a wealth of playmakers who can make things happen at the drop of the hat. The Carolina Panthers also made the shrewd move to bring in Joe Brady as their new offensive coordinator after a historic spell at LSU. The former New Orleans Saints assistant masterminded the Tigers’ passing attack on their way to a convincing National Championship in 2019. It also propelled quarterback Joe Burrow from a mid-round afterthought to the consensus No. 1 overall pick.

Brady’s familiarity with free-agent signing Teddy Bridgewater is something else the Panthers have going for them as they look to surprise those who have all-but written off their chances next season. The signal-caller has some dynamic weapons at wide receiver, an emerging tight end in Ian Thomas, and an All-Pro running back in Christian McCaffrey to further aid him during this period of transition.

This has caught the attention of NFL Network’s senior analyst expert Cynthia Frelund, who picked out the Panthers as one of six teams that could benefit from a new offensive scheme in 2020. She backed this up using Next Gen Stats, which highlighted the team’s struggles in 2019 and their scope for a vast improvement during the upcoming campaign.

"“Next Gen Stats shows that the Carolina Panthers’ offense had the second-lowest passer rating in the NFL last season on passes of 10-plus air yards (60.5) and also posted 13 interceptions (tied for fourth-most) on such passes. Carolina wide receivers averaged just 1.2 receiving yards per route run on all passes, which also ranked second-worst in the league, per NGS.“The acquisition of veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater early in free agency gives us clues as to how Matt Rhule and Joe Brady are likely to run the Panthers’ 2020 offense. Rhule’s Baylor and Temple resume and Brady’s LSU experiences strongly indicate that creative use of RPOs, especially on first down and third-and-medium, will be a key element of their strategy, along with the use of blocking concepts that create big opportunities for pass-catchers lined up in the slot and out wide.”"

Quality over quantity is key for the Carolina Panthers in 2020.

Frelund also provided an in-depth look into Brady and how his successful scheme at LSU could mean big things for the Panthers next season. An emphasis on quality over quantity was a prevalent feature that got the best out of Burrow at the college level. And efficiency under center is something that Bridgewater displayed prominently as a starter for the Saints in 2019, where he went 5-0 in the absence of Drew Brees.

"“During Brady’s time at LSU last season, there were two types of passes that netted a near-perfect passer rating for eventual No. 1 overall draft pick Joe Burrow: deeper passes that traveled across the field (the horizontal elements of the route tree) and strategic deep vertical passes. On horizontal attempts of 15-plus yards, Burrow went 27-for-36, averaged 21 yards per completed pass and earned five touchdowns. On vertical deep attempts, he connected for 11 touchdowns on only 25 such attempts (per Pro Football Focus). The bottom line is, strategic deeper passing projects to be a strength for the Panthers in 2020. Value quality over quantity here, and expect many different skill players to be involved.”"

It is hard not to be excited about Carolina’s offense next season. Much will depend on how their new-look offensive line holds out in the face of some stern defensive fronts on the schedule. But if they can live up to their end of the bargain, then it would be a big surprise if this group were not able to put some significant points on the board.

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This can only mean good things for the Panthers going forward. Their defense will need to keep them competitive, which will be easier said than done. But they should have something to chase thanks to an offense with limitless potential.