Which nightmare scenarios are the Carolina Panthers hoping won't befall their chances during the upcoming 2023 campaign?
There is more optimism and hope that something special could be brewing for the Carolina Panthers than ever before. Matt Rhule's incompetence is gone, replaced by experience, professionalism, and structure that was sorely lacking under the previous regime.
This leaves many believing a playoff berth can be attained. Perhaps not immediately given the landmark changes across the board this spring, but certainly long-term as part of a sustainable plan more befitting of a legitimate NFL franchise.
Winning is not something normally associated with Panthers fans, especially in recent years. Although many could be forgiven for getting carried away, others are taking the glass-half-empty approach - almost addicted to misery and expecting the worst.
With this in mind, here are three nightmare scenarios that the Panthers are hoping don't come to fruition in 2023.
Carolina Panthers defense cannot generate pressure
Much has been made about the Carolina Panthers' pass-rushing options opposite Brian Burns. It's an area they've ignored as a pressing need, with only third-round selection D.J. Johnson coming in to strengthen the position group.
The Panthers are clearly hoping that someone already on the roster can step up and become more impactful within Ejiro Evero's scheme. Anything less would come with severe ramifications considering the question marks surrounding Carolina's cornerback room thanks to injury and poor performance levels.
Carolina does have the salary-cap space to bring in another capable body should the right opportunity present itself. But if genuine pressure doesn't arrive consistently in 2023, it'll be a real problem.