The Carolina Panthers are in perhaps one of the most controversial quarterback situations since drafting Cam Newton in 2011. Having said that, there have been many positives that they can focus on to this point in their season. Let’s take a look at three positives for the Carolina Panthers so far in 2019.
Three Positives for the Carolina Panthers So Far in 2019
Christian McCaffrey is exactly who we thought he was
He makes this team look good. Christian McCaffrey has set a new standard for running backs everywhere. Despite the preconceived notion that if you are white in the NFL you can’t be successful, he has dominated the position in a way we haven’t seen in a while. Peyton Hillis was the last known white running back to splash on the scene with impressive numbers–but it only lasted one season, his first with the Cleveland Browns in 2010.
McCaffrey has emerged as the face of the Panthers, during a time when the future of their quarterback hangs in the balance. He has almost as many yards, in three seasons, as Hillis had his entire career and does it with style. A pure runner, a dynamic receiver, and even blocks well. If the Panthers continue to allow McCaffrey to elevate himself, fans can expect to see the best white running back since John Riggins during the 1970s and ’80s.
He’s a frontrunner for MVP, according to NFL Network’s Maurice Jones-Drew who also happens to be in his first year of eligibility for the hall of fame and a great former running back.
Receivers are coming into their own
The Panthers struggled to find good wide receivers after losing Muhsin Muhammad and later on releasing Steve Smith Sr. in 2014. Then in 2018, they acquired 6’0 DJ Moore from Maryland and it was the first time Smith Sr. sought to compare a receiver to himself. Now, in his second season, Moore is beginning to emerge as the true number one receiver for his team. He still has trouble holding on to the ball sometimes but he has stepped up in big games–specifically against the Green Bay Packers. Let’s see how he finishes the season out, but the Panthers may have found their legitimate number one receiver.
Another good pickup for the Panthers was former Mr. Third Down for the Minnesota Vikings. Jarius Wright joined the Panthers in 2018 as a complement to Moore when the Panthers decided to get rid of their two taller receivers–Devin Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin–and go for speed instead. Wright has never been the most productive touchdown wise, but he’s not called Mr. Third Down for no reason. He catches crucial third downs as needed which helps to create necessary distractions.
Curtis Samuel was drafted from Ohio State with not the most impressive numbers. As a running back, he only had 15 touchdowns in his three seasons. But he consistently made plays that benefited his team and made him accessible at the fortieth pick overall. He’s scored one touchdown in three of the last four games. What appears to be a string of solid touchdowns from Samuel, is the beginning of a beautiful relationship between him and Kyle Allen. It’s still possible for Samuel to give the Panthers what they need from him. He’s been solid so far. Let’s see how it goes for the rest of the season.
The Panthers have a solid backup
Kyle Allen/Cam Newton story aside, the Panthers have a good backup. He is 5-2 as a starter and quite frankly does some things that Newton has not quite mastered just yet. It will definitely be interesting to see what they do with Newton moving forward but glad that there is at least Allen to get us through.
One thing Allen has to get better at is controlling the ball against teams defenses. It was a big problem in his game against the San Francisco 49ers and they made him pay. He also gave up one against the Packers in the second quarter that gave them another touchdown and put them up the rest of the game.
What is the takeaway from these three Positives in 2019?
The Panthers are one of those teams that will always have plenty of things to work on. The three positives highlighted in this article were things this team needed to address sooner rather than later. From the wide receivers improving to Allen stepping up and being the number two guy this team needs. Even the fact that the Panthers know going forward that they have a future hall-of-fame running back.
The Panthers probably won’t go far in the playoffs but the changes this team has made and will continue to make should give this team plenty to look forward to moving forward
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