4 reasons increased expectations could help the Panthers in 2021

(Alex Hicks Jr./Spartanburg Herald-Journal via IMAGN Content Services) Robby Anderson
(Alex Hicks Jr./Spartanburg Herald-Journal via IMAGN Content Services) Robby Anderson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey and Juston Burris /

Increased urgency for the Carolina Panthers

It doesn’t need much to figure out that the Carolina Panthers won’t be getting a pass in their second season under Matt Rhule. The former Baylor man got the benefit of the doubt in 2020 after arriving in extremely difficult circumstances, with COVID-19 proving to be a substantial stumbling block for the head coach to overcome during his opening offseason with the team.

That won’t be the case this time around. Vaccinations mean a more structured training camp and the welcome return of preseason games, so the Panthers need to put the necessary plans in place to hit the ground running when the real action begins.

Having expectations raise somewhat should bring around an increased sense of urgency within the locker room. Many players will know what’s at stake and the improvements needed, so taking this challenge head-on will be crucial to their overall aspirations.

The same applies to Rhule and his coaching staff.

Those in prominent positions were a little naive at times last season – which was expected with no previous play-calling experience at the next level. But adjustments are expected now each of them has a full campaign under their belts.

Urgency all around. Although the Panthers do appear to be a couple of pieces away from becoming a legitimate postseason contender.

But this might end up bringing out the best in them all.