Carolina Panthers red-zone problems solved?
What changes is the team looking to make to change our abysmal red zone offensive and defensive percentages from last season? – Rico
Thank you for sending in your question, Rico!
We have already seen those changes made this off-season. I believe that an improved offensive line and a better starting quarterback than what we saw last season should boost the Carolina Panthers’ offensive red-zone percentages in 2022. The addition of powerful running back D’Onta Foreman will help this issue as well.
The Panthers went out and made their offensive line a physical group. Ikem Ekwonu is as dominant of an offensive lineman as you will see coming into the NFL. Bradley Bozeman and Austin Corbett are also two physical starting linemen that can and should create plenty of push up front.
In the Week 3 preseason game against the Buffalo Bills, we saw a glimpse of what the red-zone offense could look like for Carolina. I expect Foreman get plenty of touches in goal-to-go situations and he has shown to be a tough back to bring down in this area of the field.
In the passing game, Baker Mayfield is aggressive in the red zone. I expect that players such as Terrace Marshall Jr., Rashard Higgins, and Tommy Tremble are targeted plenty in goal-line situations as they boast bigger bodies that can win at contested catch points.
Don’t count out D.J. Moore either. After getting a big extension, expect Moore’s touchdown production to go up with the expectation of Mayfield being more consistent moving the football downfield and in the red zone.
Defensively, I see no issues and nothing major that is needed in terms of upgrades. The Panthers signed free agent defensive lineman Henry Anderson to rotate with Yetur Gross-Matos on early downs, though this resulted in the release of talented defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon.
I think the biggest issue last season was the Panthers were always put in a tough spot in the red zone defensively due to turnovers by the offense consistently. That left very little margin for error.
As a result, the defense struggled in the red zone. With an improved offense, that should change.