Top 5 Weaknesses of the Carolina Panthersby Prime Time Sports Talk February 8, 2019 0 comments
Going into the 2019 season, Marty Hurney and company will seriously need to address some glaring weaknesses of the Panthers. Here are the five biggest weaknesses of the Carolina Panthers.
LT Matt Kalil
The NFL has introduced a cap space increase for all 32 teams, which is great news for the Panthers. The projected increase is a total of $187 million to $191 million across the board. Based on the lower end of the spectrum, that would put the Panthers at a projected amount of just over $23 million in cap space. As of 2018, Carolina has 36 players under contract which includes left tackle Matt Kalil.
Kalil has been a sore subject for the Panthers the past couple of seasons with the issue of his inability to remain healthy. In 2017, he left Panther fans disappointed and then in 2018 underwent knee surgery and missed the entire season. Carolina has struggled to find stability in this role since the retirement of Micheal Oher, so the future with Kalil is concerning for all the team. If Carolina decides to move on from Kalil, they would have to absorb $12,150,000, the remainder of his contract. Regardless of whether he stays or not, they likely have to make a pick in the draft to bolster this position.
The Retirement of Julius Peppers
After 16 years in the NFL Peppers, 39, has made the decision to retire. Peppers is arguably one of the best players to ever grace Bank of America Stadium in a Panther uniform and is fourth place all-time with 159.5 sacks.
Finding a replacement will be a challenge and definitely can be viewed as a weakness going into the 2019 season. The best bet for the Panthers is to use one of their top draft picks on a defensive end, possibly even at No. 16 overall.
Backup quarterback position
2018 and the shoulder injury of Cam Newton gave the Panthers the opportunity to see just what this position has to offer. As a result, there seems to be a problem. During the final two games of 2018, second-string QB Taylor Heinicke suffered an elbow injury and was put on IR. Subsequently, third-string QB Kyle Allen was activated but struggled with his own injuries to the point where Carolina had Christian McCaffrey warming up on the sideline as a possible backup for him.
It is hard to say if the problem is with the backups or in protection, but one thing fans did realize during the entire debacle was Cam Newton’s ability to take a beating. That being said, there are two choices. Find backups that can take the same beating that Newton was able to endure or improve the offensive line so this isn’t an issue. Which leads to the next weakness.
The Offensive Line
Despite Newton’s sack rate being one of the lowest in the league at five percent in 2018, the offensive line needs work. Much of that low percentage can be attributed to Cam’s ability to escape the pocket and avoid a number of attempts to take him down. A serious concern to be addressed is the left tackle position. Chris Clark has not truly lived up to the expectations as a lineman in pass protection this year.
If and when Matt Kalil and Daryl Williams return in 2019, the Panthers should consider a change in this critical position. That is the most glaring weakness in the offensive line going into the upcoming season.
DC Eric Washington
Carolina’s defense had a rough 2018 season. So rough in fact, in the last two games of the season head coach Ron Rivera took over defensive play calling and two assistants lost their jobs. So the question remains. Should Washington be given another opportunity to prove himself or should the Panthers bring in a DC with more experience? The answer to that question may drastically affect the future of a Panthers defense losing key veterans and in transition.