4 big factors behind a possible playoff place for the Panthers in 2021

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Matt Rhule
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Matt Rhule /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater /

The big change at quarterback

Now if the 2020 Carolina Panthers team were to have a scapegoat, then it would without a doubt be Teddy Bridgewater. To blame the entirety of the failed season on the current Denver Broncos signal-caller would be quite unfair and foolish.

However, to say the team was possibly held back at times due to a seemingly lack of judgment would be more adequate.

Bridgewater was signed by Matt Rhule and ex-general manager Marty Hurney after spelling Drew Brees during his injured 2019 campaign in which he played reasonably well.

Many fans questioned signing the former first-round pick to be Carolina’s new starting quarterback for a whopping $63 million dollars. Bridgewater had not been a starting-caliber player since his time with the Minnesota Vikings, but having the Panthers gamble on his potential had been questionable at best at the time.

Carolina started and played Bridgewater with moderate success at first.

Then a shift began in which the hope of the offense winning games shifted expectation to the defense keeping games close enough to give Bridgewater more chances to stay in a game.

And though the offensive line again was nothing to be too excited about -minus Taylor Moton-  would it be right to place all of or the majority of the team’s problems on Bridgewater?

Was he the only issue?

And would signing Sam Darnold from the New York Jets, a player who’s worked with significantly fewer weapons and a worse head coach than any who have worked for the Panthers organization, be enough to stabilize the quarterback position?

Only time will tell.