Miles Sanders mentality should be music to Carolina Panthers fans' ears
By Dean Jones
Running back Miles Sanders is wasting no time bringing a winning mentality to the Carolina Panthers, which should be music to the ears of every fan.
The Carolina Panthers haven't had much to cheer about lately. There was a brief stage during the 2022 season where postseason football looked possible after Matt Rhule was mercifully fired, but it's been pretty much doom and gloom over the last four years - something that has to change.
Thankfully, optimism is growing at long last. The Panthers completely revamped their coaching staff this offseason, added some decent signings in free agency, and also managed to get the No. 1 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft after a daring trade with the Chicago Bears.
Drafting a quarterback from atop the draft doesn't guarantee instant success. But what it gives the Panthers and general manager Scott Fitterer is the chance to develop and build a competitive roster around a rookie contract.
Miles Sanders doesn't want to hear Carolina Panthers rebuild talk
While it might take a period of adjustment, this is an exceptional environment for any rookie. And judging by what Miles Sanders had to say during his media availability on Wednesday, talk of rebuilding is absolutely out of the question.
The free-agent signing will become Carolina's new three-down running back after D'Onta Foreman was allowed to leave. Sanders represents an immediate upgrade and the player is keen to taste more success after reaching the Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2022, where they narrowly lost to the Kansas City Chiefs.
"I know what it takes. And the stuff we did last year, everything worked on all type (of) levels. … I know how a Super Bowl team feels at this point, just chemistry, working together, and literally invested into every single day. Taking no days off, and it's addicting. It's an addicting feeling. And hopefully, we can get to that point and create a championship team over here."- Miles Sanders via Panthers.com
This sort of attitude has been sorely lacking within the Panthers for some time. Sanders didn't come to Carolina for a payday - he wants to win and win now.
Of course, he isn't alone in that regard. Those in power have done a good job picking up proven veterans with top-level credentials this offseason, with the likes of Hayden Hurst, Vonn Bell, and Adam Thielen all attaining playoff success throughout their respective careers.
Having this experience is going to rub off positively on Carolina's young roster - most of whom have been starved of legitimate team achievements since entering the league. Couple this with a coaching staff littered with former or future head coaches, and it's not hard to see why the Panthers could win a wide-open NFC South in 2023.
Sanders also signaled out Duce Staley as a leading factor in why he chose the Panthers. The pair have a previous working relationship from their time on the Eagles, which could be the spark that ignites the one-time Penn State star to another career year.
"To reconnect with somebody that understood me and had faith in me from the jump, who drafted me and knows what I can really do, what I could bring to the table."- Miles Sanders via Panthers.com
When it's all said and done, Sanders might be the most important free-agent addition of all. Someone with age on his side who is on an upward curve and demands nothing but the highest standards of himself and others in the locker room.
What a refreshing change of pace that is.