How much can the Carolina Panthers offense improve in 2022?

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield and Ben McAdoo
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield and Ben McAdoo /

How much can the Carolina Panthers’ offense improve in 2022 after some significant changes to coaching and personnel this offseason? 

After a 2021 season full of inept performance on offense, things could finally be looking up for the Carolina Panthers. This comes after an eventful spell of recruitment this offseason and a new play-caller that looks set to provide a considerable upgrade.

By adding former No. 1 overall selection and Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, the Panthers can go into almost every game knowing they have a chance. The quarterback has a fire and X-factor that’s been sorely lacking, with those in power making the right call in naming him their starter ahead of Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns.

Carolina already has an abundance of weapons in the passing game. Rashard Higgins and Laviska Shenault only add to this firepower, making the wide receiver room extremely deep heading into the campaign.

Baker Mayfield and Ben McAdoo can ignite the Carolina Panthers in 2022

Couple this with a revamped offensive line and a scheme that fits Mayfield’s strengths, and this offense could hit the ground running. The signal-caller can unload that huge chip on his shoulder right out of the gate versus the team that cast him aside for Deshaun Watson, which can be the catalyst to a successful campaign for the Panthers overall.

In his final preseason game against the Buffalo Bills, Mayfield looked composed and comfortable within Ben McAdoo‘s system, taking what the defense gave him. The Oklahoma product was also very decisive going through his progressions and made the right read consistently.

Even though it was the Bills’ second-string defense, Mayfield still showed command of the offense. A complex task he accomplished in impressive style this offseason.

The offensive line held up in pass protection very well, giving Mayfield a clean pocket to operate. He capitalized when given good field position, which the Panthers struggled with last year.

Even with such a small sample size and without a few starters on offense, Mayfield and the rest of those who took the field displayed good communication and were able to effectively move the ball after their first three and out on the opening drive.

McAdoo is tailoring his scheme around Mayfield – who he was critical of before the 2018 draft – with play action, quick releases, bootlegs, and five-step drops featuring prominently.

Fans also got to see Mayfield in the gun with empty and three-by-one sets which he is very comfortable in. If the protection lives up to their end of the bargain, the quarterback can demonstrate his deep ball prowess throughout the campaign with D.J. Moore and Robbie Anderson providing burst on the outside.

That’s without mentioning the return to full health of Christian McCaffrey, the league’s best dual-threat. Keeping the former first-round pick healthy will be crucial, but his partnership with Mayfield in the backfield could be the key that propels this offense to great things in 2022.

This offense will take a big set this year. More adaptable with more answers to any coverage, with McAdoo giving Mayfield the freedom to check pre-snaps as he sees fit.

After so much underachievement and little to shout about last season, there is now renewed optimism. Something that’s been a breath of fresh air throughout the summer.

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