Under pressure Carolina Panthers veteran embracing raised competition

Everyone is working in unison.
Dave Canales
Dave Canales / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest improvements made to the Carolina Panthers this offseason centers on the increased competition for places. Too many became set in their ways and complacent under the two previous coaching regimes. Now, the added urgency is evident after another dramatic recruitment period.

Dave Canales and Dan Morgan are giving those already around a chance to prove themselves. At the same time, the power couple aren't attaching any sentiment to their decision-making process. Aside from a few obvious cornerstone pieces the Panthers are planning to build around long term, nobody is safe.

The running back dynamic is especially fascinating. Chuba Hubbard, Raheem Blackshear, and Miles Sanders are still around. That didn't stop those in power from trading up for Jonathon Brooks at No. 46 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft and signing veteran Rashaad Penny once the college selection process concluded.

Miles Sanders embracing increased competition across the Carolina Panthers

Instead of harboring resentment, each player relished the challenge of competing for places. This will ensure standards are high in practice. Hopefully, this can smoothly transition to competitive games when Week 1 at the New Orleans Saints gets here.

Sanders is under more pressure than most after an underwhelming first season with the Panthers. But rather than taking the selfish approach, everyone in the running back room is working in unison towards one common goal based on his comments via Fan Nation.

"I'm just blessed to still be here. It's year six and I'm ready to go. We’ve had chemistry since I got in here last year. Starting with Chuba, Raheem, and now we got Jonathon and we got Penny in there too. The guys are great. We all get a long very well. We compete our ‘a’ off. We all try to help each other learn the playbook and making sure we all know our stuff when we get out there."

Miles Sanders via Fan Nation

This is a tremendous attitude to have. Nobody is going to benefit from raised egos and individuals looking out for themselves. Many hands make light work, so helping each other along is the best way to keep standards exemplary.

There's a different atmosphere around the Panthers this offseason thanks to Canales' presence. He's preaching collaboration and getting the football element right above all else. Veterans like Sanders will set the tone, but the former second-round pick isn't guaranteed prominent playing time by any stretch of the imagination.

Sanders is currently dealing with another injury, which is frustrating without being too concerning at this juncture. Brooks is also edging closer to a return after rehabilitating a torn ACL. When the Texas product joins drills - which could be during Carolina's training camp according to Canales' latest update - this will be an intriguing position group to monitor.

Considering how ruthless Morgan's been with veterans who aren't performing according to their contracts, Sanders needs to impose himself. He must display leadership qualities, make every rep count, and prove he can make a difference within Canales' new schematic concepts that rely heavily on an effective rushing attack.

Anything less comes with potentially grave ramifications attached.