3 critical ways the Carolina Panthers failed WR D.J. Moore
Carolina Panthers never established an identity on offense
The Carolina Panthers have had an inordinate amount of turnover during D.J. Moore’s tenure. Specifically, the revolving door of offensive coordinators.
Before Moore was drafted, Norv Turner had been named the Panthers’ new offensive coordinator under Ron Rivera. However, due primarily to injuries to Christian McCaffery and Cam Newton, the offense would sputter and the head coach was fired midway through 2019.
Turner was replaced by his son Scott Turner. But neither became part of Matt Rhule’s plans.
Instead, Rhule passed the offensive play-calling reigns to Joe Brady, sort of. While the 2020 Panthers’ offense had its issues, Moore, Robbie Anderson, and Curtis Samuel each put up 1,000 all-purpose yards.
This felt promising, but the front office chose to overpay Anderson while allowing Samuel to walk in free agency. In the same offseason, they replaced Teddy Bridgewater with Sam Darnold and managed to patch together what would become arguably the worst offensive line in franchise history.
Needless to say, the Panthers did not move the ball as well in 2021. McCaffery was injured by Week 3, none of the quarterbacks could operate behind the offensive line, and they turned the ball over a lot.
Midway through 2021, Rhule attempted to commit to running the ball “30 times a game”. But they did not have the personnel to establish that identity.
Eventually, Brady was scapegoated and replaced by Jeff Nixon, who was then demoted in favor of Ben McAdoo. This means Moore effectively played under five different offensive coordinators during his run with the Panthers.
It is impossible for a team to maintain an offensive identity with this much turnover. You have to wonder how much more successful Moore could have been had he landed in a place like the Kansas City Chiefs or San Francisco 49ers, where the identities on offense are basically set in stone.
Instead, the Panthers never established an offensive identity during Moore’s run. And in this way, they failed him.