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Carolina's defense is the only concern heading into the 2012 season, because the offense made a surprisingly great impression in 2011.
Cam Newton put on a show virtually every week and tossed for over 4,000 yards as a rookie. Undoubtedly exceeding expectations, the Panthers offense has just as much, if not more potential this fall.
The slew of running backs, consisting of DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert, creates more dynamics for Newton's own ability and opens up the playbook even more.
Provided that Brandon LaFell continues his nice development as a No. 2 receiver, the Cats are set.
The defensive side is where we need to see Carolina improve.
Jon Beason's absence last season certainly hurt, so he's a player to watch for in 2012. Rookie Luke Kuechly is a great complement at linebacker for talent and depth purposes, while another big season from defensive end Charles Johnson is needed.
Having recorded 20.5 sacks and 102 tackles the past two seasons, Johnson is a force off the edge in Carolina. Now the secondary must feed off this better front seven than in 2011; otherwise, explosive offensive opponents like the Giants, Cowboys and divisional rivals will capitalize.
That said, Carolina's overall schedule is rather favorable, and after closing out last season 4-2, the confidence and momentum are present for opening kickoff in 2012.
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