The Carolina Panthers won 11 games and reached the playoffs this past season. What can the club do to this offseason to build on last year’s success?
The Carolina Panthers first took the field in 1995. One year later, the franchise found itself in the NFC Championship Game. In ’03, the club made the first of its two Super Bowl appearances. This past season, the club finished 11-5 and reached the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. Safe to say it’s been an interesting two decades and change for the one-time expansion club.
But one things the organization has yet to do is post back-to-back winning campaigns. That seems odd for a club that won three straight NFC titles from 2014-15 and reached Super Bowl 50 not long ago. But the facts are the facts and while this has been a good club under head coach Ron Rivera, they have but the “E” in erratic. So what can the Panthers do over the next few months to be a better football team in 2018?
5. Address backup quarterback spot
It was back in 2005 that the Baltimore Ravens used a sixth-round draft choice on Oregon State quarterback Derek Anderson. Two years later, he made 15 starts for the Cleveland Browns and the team won 10 games with him in the lineup. Anderson threw 29 TD passes and 19 interceptions and helped lead the franchise to its last winning season to date.
For each of the past seven seasons, dating back to Cam Newton’s arrival in Carolina in 2011, the savvy veteran has been the club’s backup signal-caller. But will that be the case this summer and fall? Anderson turns 35 in mid-June but by then a decision will be made on his football future. Besides Newton, the only other quarterback on the roster under contract for 2018 is 26-year-old Garrett Gilbert, who played at both the University of Texas and SMU.
Could the Panthers finally move on from Anderson this year? It’s an intriguing and important issue that must be addressed.