Former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton provided the perfect assessment on the team's delusions of grandeur heading into the 2023 campaign.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that things haven't gone well for the Carolina Panthers through the first three games of 2023. They are one of four winless teams around the league, are dealing with countless injuries to key personnel, and the optimism that surrounded the franchise following an offseason of immense change has all but evaporated.
Such a torrid run of results and luck has led to the narrative being shifted dramatically. No longer are there claims about making the playoffs and winning the NFC South - the dreaded rebuilding tag has reared its ugly head once again.
If the Panthers had just said this from the outset, fans would have been more sympathetic about their recent poor form. Instead, general manager Scott Fitterer opted to declare this was a team that could drop a quarterback in and take off to heights not seen under the previous coaching regime.
Cam Newton exposes Carolina Panthers' delusional offseason hopes
Any fool can see that's not the case. The Panthers are going nowhere fast, have no first-round pick in 2024, and are bracing themselves for a tricky-looking game against the Minnesota Vikings' high-octane offense in Week 4 at Bank of America Stadium.
Things might get worse before they get better, in all honesty. But when Cam Newton was asked about whether or not those in power had done enough to surround rookie signal-caller Bryce Young with everything he needed to thrive right away on K.J. Wright's podcast, the team legend laid it out perfectly based on comments via Clutch Points.
"But from top to bottom, for him, it's not set up for him to be successful – especially not his rookie year, in my honest opinion. And, like I said, everything that Carolina is building – will they get to that point? Yes. In throwing him into the wolves and expecting instant success, that's not the quarterback position, unfortunately. What I will say – it's gonna take a season for him to kinda see the preparation, seein' the tempo of the game, seein' just in-game adjustments at its finest. We all know any time you're the first pick, that means you're goin' to a s–tty team. I went through it. Peyton Manning went through it. All the No. 1 picks went through it. And in this day and age, it's about who and what you can do right now. But I think when you're dealin' with a talent like Bryce Young, it's the long tenure rather than right-now success."- Cam Newton via Clutch Points
One of the biggest failings of Matt Rhule was his lack of accountability and feeding fans a whole host of excuses. While Fitterer didn't do that, he sold them fool's gold and piled more pressure on head coach Frank Reich than was necessary.
If the same trend continues heading into the bye week - which is entirely possible with the Vikings, Detroit Lions, and red-hot Miami Dolphins on the schedule - fingers will be pointing during Carolina's extended period of rest. And make no mistake, Fitterer will be bearing the brunt of fans' anger after his comments before a competitive down.
Carolina might have been rebuilding, albeit softly. If that was the case - which appears likely - then don't have the senior figure in the front office come out stating a completely different thought process to a fanbase that's been starved of success for so long.
Whether Fitterer will be around for long enough to see this project through is another matter. But there is no doubt bringing on additional stress - depicted perfectly by Newton - has seen his seat get warmer if nothing else.