5 big Carolina Panthers storylines to watch during 2021 season

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /
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Sam Darnold #14 of the Carolina Panthers (Photo by Chris Keane/Getty Images)
Sam Darnold #14 of the Carolina Panthers (Photo by Chris Keane/Getty Images) /

What are five of the most important Carolina Panthers storylines to keep an eye on this season?

The 2021 season will bring back some normalcy after a crazy 2020, and the Carolina Panthers are hoping they return to the playoffs after missing the postseason in four of the last five years.

Head coach Matt Rhule, entering his second year in Carolina, will now have a full offseason under his belt and should have a lot more of his system implemented.

The Panthers sort of got a pass last season in a year that was looked at as the first of rebuilding following the retirement of Luke Kuechly and release of Cam Newton, but the trade for quarterback Sam Darnold and big additions on offense and defense has gotten fans hungry for a winning season sooner than later.

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This season will bring plenty of intrigue for the Panthers. Owner David Tepper finally has his guys in place and while not being anywhere close to Super Bowl contenders, the young talent on the team will provide a clearer idea of how close Carolina actually is to be an annual playoff team.

There was some promise shown last season when the Panthers started off the season 3-2, but the wheels fell off, injuries happened and Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t the answer at quarterback.

The roster should definitely be improved this year but the jury is still out on them. If anything, Carolina is an underdog once again.

Here are five storylines to keep an eye on as the season takes place.