Carolina Panthers Problems in 2020, Explained

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Carolina Panthers' Problems in 2020
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 13: Teddy Bridgewater #5 of the Carolina Panthers reacts after a delay of game penalty against the Denver Broncos during the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

The Carolina Panthers‘ problems in 2020 led to a disappointing year. The Panthers have now defeated the Washington Football Team. Though there is no chance for them to make the playoffs, they gave the Football Team all they could handle. There were other quality wins this season: a 31-21 win against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4 and a dominant defensive game in Week 11 in which they held the Detroit Lions scoreless en route to a 20-0 victory. Aside from that, there are a string of games that have left fans wondering how the Carolina Panthers’ problems in 2020 have continued.

Carolina Panthers’ Problems in 2020, Explained

Injuries

If we’re being honest here, it has been an up and mostly down season for the Panthers and, much like the year they went 7-8-1, there were many injuries to the detriment of the team. How have the Carolina Panthers’ problems in 2020 continued? Perhaps injuries are to blame.

Starting in Week 1 when Dennis Daley went out with a knee injury, the injuries mounted each week. In Week 2, the Panthers added Yetur Gross-Matos with a concussion and Kawaan Short with a foot injury. Seemingly the biggest injury came during the Week 2 game against the Tampa Bay Buccanneers when Christian McCaffrey injured his ankle.  He was slated to be out six weeks with the injury but that didn’t seem to stop the Panthers. They went on to win their next three games. He would come back after his injury healed, only to go back out with a bad shoulder.

Mike Davis seemed to fit right in flawlessly over his first three games. But the more film they had on him, the more other teams could prepare for. Even still, he managed at least three yards per carry the second half of the season. So, could injuries be the sole culprit for the Panthers’ problems in 2020? Let’s keep going.

Teddy Bridgewater

He’s been called many names over the course of his time in the NFL; Teddy “two gloves” Bridgewater being my personal favorite. But the one that seems to resonate the loudest throughout North and South Carolina is a bust. No one dared to call Derek Brown a bust even though there were honest questions about his ability. Sure, it is just his rookie season so he’s allowed to make mistakes.

So let’s look at his stats this season to see what qualifies him as a bust. Through nine games, Drew Brees threw for 2,196 yards. Bridgewater threw for 2,416 yards through nine games. Of course, Brees threw for fewer interceptions, but he’s also been on the same team for 15 seasons. Bridgewater? Nine games and half an offseason. After a three-game win streak, he went on to lose five straight; most by a small margin. Well, except for the game against the Tampa Bay Buccanneers where they were routed by 23.

He’s only won one of the Panthers’ last eight games. Not a great record considering all the weapons he’s had on offense, even though some of them have been hurt throughout the season.

Still, could it have been Bridgewater that caused the most problems for the Carolina Panthers?

Defense

Another theory among Panthers faithful about the Carolina Panthers’ problems in 2020 is the defense. Defense wins games, or so I’m told. And judging by some of the games they have lost, it’s apparent that the bulk of the blame should fall on them.

Aside from the game against the Minnesota Vikings, the defense has been stagnant. Jeremy Chinn has had some bright spots including scoring back-to-back fumble recoveries in ten seconds. 61 tackles, 41 assisted tackles, two tackles for loss, four passes deflected, and two fumble recoveries mount a case for defensive rookie of the year.

Brian Burns has also excelled in just his second season. His flashes from last year turned into a consistent second year, outside of his knee injury. Other than that, it seems as if the defense has been part of much of the team’s demise.

Eli Apple was released after being placed on injured reserve at the beginning of the season. He was injury-prone and a liability to the team.

The truth behind it all

The truth is, there have been many factors behind the Carolina Panthers’ problems in 2020. It hasn’t been just one thing but many that have caused the team to play a less-than-mediocre season.

Consider for one that they are in a rebuilding year. They fired their previous head coach after eight seasons with the team. When you put a new coach into place, especially one that came from a college background, you have to allow time for his practices to come into play. Not only this but a combination of injuries and a merry-go-round of players rotating in and out leaves the team just trying to make their way through the season the best way they can.

Year two will probably look different for Matt Rhule and his band of misfits but for now, they take this L of a season on the chin and look forward to a newer beginning with a new general manager to add to it.

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