Let’s go down the list of problems the Panthers currently face.
1. League-worst 10.4 points per game.
2. League-worst 236 yards per game.
3. RB Jonathan Stewart surpassed 100 yards for the season today. I know that the Panthers have fallen behind very early in every game this season, but it simply should not take a running-back of Stewart’s ability and talent five games to get his 100th yard.
4. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have combined for two rushing touchdowns this season. That’s absurd for what many considered the best pair of tailbacks in the league before the start of the season.
5. Jeff Otah, the team’s best and biggest run blocker, is still rehabilitating his knee.
6. Richard Marshall is afraid to challenge ball-carriers. Numerous times he has thrown himself at a ballcarrier’s feet, in fear of contact, when he was in position to make a tackle. He appears to be as skittish as Antonio Cromartie without the talent, ability, or size.
8. Jimmy Clausen. He is not inherently bad. But he, like the rest of the team, is unwatchable. Why?
A) None of the receivers, including Steve Smith, ever get open.
B) The offensive line doesn’t even give him time to get the snap before the pass rush is on top of him.
C) He has disturbing ball security issues. Already this year he has botched a few snaps and let a simple hand-off slip out of his hands for a loss.
9. Steve Smith. He is clearly frustrated with the incompetency of the rest of the organization, but is powerless to change anything. And he is starting to decline. He’s 31, and is dealing with a severe ankle injury. You have to wonder how effective he will be when he comes back. Right now he looks like a lame duck.
The Panthers have announced no plans to trade him, and the organization is clearly playing for the post-lockout future. By the time the team’s young players figure it out and get good enough to have a few winning seasons, Smith could easily be retired, released, or playing for another team.
10. Center Ryan Kalil. He has struggled to make good protection calls all year. He is at least partly responsible for the offensive line’s issues in pass protection.
11. Too much inexperience. The majority of the Panthers’ starters have startlingly little experience. The offense obviously has no cohesiveness.
12. The secondary. The defensive backs are almost always over-matched by their match-ups or dropping interceptions. If they could catch the ball half of the time they get chances to pick the ball off, Carolina would lead the league in interceptions.
13. The defensive line. Powerless to stop the run, and opposing quarterbacks have all day to throw.
14. Jerry Richardson. He is a good businessman but a bad team owner. Make no mistake about it, he is running a business. Money is his top priority. The reason the Panthers are almost always good enough to win seven or eight games but rarely good enough to win more, is because of Richardson's spending habbits. He is willing to spend enough to make the team exciting, in order keep fans paying, but never enough to push the team over the top.
I am devoid of any emotional attachment to the Panthers. I don’t care if they lose. They are not my favorite team anymore. I guess I could say that my favorite team is the Washington Redskins, because I like their colors and they’re more exciting to watch than the Panthers.
I watch parts of Panthers games because it is habit for me to watch live NFL football on Sunday afternoon at 1:00. Because my TV market is Charlotte, the city in which the Panthers play, we always have their game. Half the time there is no early game on CBS. So most weeks I get stuck watching the Panthers play the worst football I have ever seen from an NFL team, simply because there is no other option.
You may say I’m a pretender fan who is bailing because his team isn't doing well. Go ahead - I don't care.
A fan has to feel something for his team. He not only has to feel disappointed when his team loses, but he has to feel joy when his team wins. Panther losses don't disappoint me. By the same token, Panther wins wouldn't make me happy either. I just don't care about the Panthers.
If that makes me a disloyal son of a bitch, so be it.
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