The old adage of it’s not how you start but how you finish perfectly sums up the Carolina Panthers 2021 season. After Week 3, this team was sitting at 3-0, boasted the league's number 1 scoring defense at the time and seemed well on their way to make the playoffs for the first time since 2017. Since then, the team has lost 9 out of its last 11 games, fired its offensive coordinator and has its head coach on the hot seat in just his second year. To make matters worse, Panthers faithful has little faith that this team is headed in the right direction.
Can you blame Panthers fans here? The team has not had a winning record since 2017 and might be getting rid of another coach leaving them to have 3 in a 5-year span. Their best player Christian McCaffrey has played a combined 10 games in the last 2 years, and the team’s Quarterback situation is a mess. The team traded for Sam Darnold in the offseason and then quickly exercised his fifth-year rights fully guaranteeing his over $18 million salary for the 2022 season. What has he giving them this season? Just 7 touchdowns to 10 interceptions in the 9 games he has played in. In his absence, the team tried to re-create the magic of the past by bringing back Cam Newton but his spark has already fizzled out to be a flicker in the wind. Newton is 0-4 as the starter since he has returned and has already been benched twice in those games because of his poor play. He has yet to throw for over 200 yards in a game and has only thrown 3 touchdowns in that span.
The team has also been decimated by injuries this season, losing 6 starters to injured reserve, ending their year. They also more than likely won’t finish the year on a high note as they play the Bucs twice and the Saints on the road and both of those teams are currently in the playoff hunt. Losing the remaining 3 games could no doubt bolster their draft positioning next season as they will look to rebound and rebuild from this season. What do you think? Is it panic mode in Carolina with the current regime or should upper management give head coach Matt Rhule another season to turn this thing around?
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