What major storylines are worth following as the Carolina Panthers gear up for their testing trip to the Detroit Lions in Week 5?
At 0-4, the Carolina Panthers aren’t where the fans, or the team, envisioned themselves in the standings after the first four weeks of the season. With two difficult road games on the horizon before reaching the bye week, there is a very realistic chance that this team gets a vacation before they get a win.
The next opportunity to knock the donut off the record comes against the Detroit Lions (3-1). These aren’t your grandfathers Detroit Lions. This team has an identity, they have a combination of veteran and young players, and they play extremely balanced football. Most importantly, they’re winning games.
The identity of the Lions stems directly from their charismatic head coach, Dan Campbell. He is a former NFL tight end and is a hard-hat-wearing, kneecap-biting kind of dude. And the team exudes that energy on both sides of the ball.
I mention that because I believe that’s an aspect that this Panthers team is currently struggling with in a major way - their lack of identity. We’ve talked about the injuries that have decimated the offensive line and key positions on defense. We’ve talked about having a rookie quarterback and the struggles that come along with that development process.
To cope with factors such as those, the team falls back on their coaches and the identity they’ve instilled into the players. When the Panthers faced adversity, they haven’t responded well. In my opinion, that’s a reflection of the timid, mild-natured disposition they seem to walk with.
That’s more of a big-picture conversation, however. For this column, I want to focus on the major storylines following the team into Week 5. Let’s get into it.