Steve Smith thinks the Carolina Panthers can be a scoring machine. At least he is optimistic about their chances. According to the Charlotte Observer's Joe Person, Smith talked about how he would like the team to double the numbers put up last year by the offense. Such talk is usually dismissed during this time of year, but just how good will the Carolina offense be in 2012?
The team was ranked fifth in total offense a year after being one of the worst units in the league. A lot of the team's success was due to the arrival of Cam Newton and new offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. Newton broke records and gave opponents nightmares by showing the ability to not only scramble effectively but to pass as well.
The offense was so good that Steve Smith saw his career revived and Newton combined with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart to rush for over 2300 yards. All three of them rushed for at least 700 during the season.
So, what can be expected this year? The Panthers signed Mike Tolbert who has shown a knack for playing full back, tight end and lining up in the slot. Rookie Joe Adams brings another element to the passing game and could see some action as a third option. Tight end Greg Olsen should be a factor, especially inside the red zone. Plus, Double Trouble is still on the roster (at least for one more season).
On paper, this offense seems better than a year ago. They really haven't lost any of their key players and the only question about the offense seems limited to whether or not they re-sign Stewart.
There is no reason to doubt this team will field one of the top offenses in the league. One thing is for certain: the Panthers are no longer a conservative run-first team. Many critics will point to the fact that other teams have had time to watch game film and prepare better for Carolina's style of attack.
That is easier said than done because with Chudzinski running the show, there is no telling what kind of play he will run next.