4 burning questions Carolina Panthers fans are asking ahead of Week 2

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ben McAdoo
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ben McAdoo /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ben McAdoo /

Carolina Panthers’ gradual improvements on offense

Why did the Carolina Panthers start the game so poorly but finished so strong yesterday? – Brian Montgomery

Thank you for your question, Brian!

It was a very inconsistent day for the Carolina Panthers’ offense. When the rhythm of the passing game got going, it felt too late in a couple of instances, especially late in the contest.

What didn’t help the team’s efforts on the offensive side of the ball was a lackluster run game or an unwillingness to lean on it early and often throughout.

During the first half and throughout some parts of the third quarter, offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo was working on trying to get Baker Mayfield into a rhythm. The Cleveland Browns’ defense seemed to have anticipated this and played great against their former quarterback.

Mayfield had moments of being antsy in the pocket and missed a couple of throws. When the offense finally did get into a good flow, the following offensive series would feature a dose of the run game, but it wasn’t seen until halfway through the second quarter.

Last season, head coach Matt Rhule made it known he wanted to have a good run game and planned to lean on this heavily. In the first encounter of the season, the Panthers ran the ball on just 19 attempts.

Whether it was a great defensive game plan from the Browns or trying to get Mayfield going early on, there seems to be a disconnect here from my point of view.

I believe it’s very important for an offense to establish the run. Especially when you have talented runners in the backfield such as all-world running back Christian McCaffrey and bruiser D’Onta Foreman.

This will not only allow for a balanced attack from the passing game. But it would allow Mayfield to get comfortable without unnecessary pressure.

McAdoo must implement the run game frequently next week against the New York Giants. If that’s the case, McCaffrey and Foreman can become a 1-2 punch capable of taking the load off Mayfield in the passing game.

With how much the passing offense flashed in Week 1, this could lead to a more consistent day from McAdoo as a play-caller, giving the Panthers a better chance to win.