The 2015 NFL regular season was rough on the Carolina Panthers. The players, coaches, and fans all had such high expectations as the Panthers finished the season 19-1 and advanced to the Super Bowl to play the Denver Broncos. This big game was the first time the Panthers saw the Super Bowl since 2003. Continue reading to learn more about why the Panthers can return to the Superbowl.
After taking a beating, quarterback Cam Newton and company were depressed and dealing with a bad Super Bowl hangover. The fact that Cam Newton and the offense were criticized for several months after the Panthers Super Bowl defeat, didn’t help with the teams’ recovery.
The 2017 season rolls around and the Panthers organization has changed for the better. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott took a promotion to move up north and coach the Buffalo Bills. He ended up taking several players with him. Jerry Richardson fired general manager Dave Gettleman out of nowhere and brought back former general manager Marty Hurney. There were reports that Gettleman was not planning on renewing the contracts for both Thomas Davis and Greg Olsen, but there could still be more to the story that the average fan will never know.
After the Panthers Superbowl odds were against them in 2016, what can the Panthers do to redeem themselves in 2017? Here are three reasons as to why a Panthers Super Bowl return could happen this season:
1. Kelvin Benjamin, in-shape and more motivated
Kelvin Benjamin was clearly distracted and dealing with weight issues during the offseason. Some pictures of Benjamin looking overweight went viral on Twitter and he was bullied for months. His teammates started to question his motivation and his head coach confirmed he was overweight.
He was up to around 270 pounds at the start of training camp, now he is down to 243. Benjamin is faster and his strength is back. Benjamin finished preseason games with 108 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Benjamin’s weight was not the only thing bothering him during the offseason. We received some unfortunate news prior to training camp that Benjamin lost his mother. Benjamin was very close with his mother, in fact she was the reason he made it to the NFL. Benjamin was in a dark place but now he is ready to play hard every snap in honor of his mom.
2. The Christan McCaffrey Effect
The Panthers were lucky enough to land Stanford running back Christan McCaffrey with the eighth overall pick in goth 2017 draft. McCaffrey is unlike any other running back in the league. He is intelligent, smart, and strong. McCaffrey can line up anywhere on the line and make a play on the ball. All McCaffrey needs is a tiny opening in the d-line, and he is off to the races.
The Panthers are going to be using him a lot this year and he has the potential to be an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate.
3. The Panthers Ferocious Front Seven
Between Charles Johnson, Kawann Short, Julius Peppers, Mario Addison, Luke Kuechly, and Thomas Davis there is going to be a lot of sacks this season. The Panthers have arguably the best line backing core in the NFL. When you have three guys rotating on the defensive line that could all be starters, you know the defense is going to be great this year.
The Panthers Super Bowl odds are improving. The new additions to the lineup and playbook are why we may see a Panthers Super Bowl reunion in 2017.