Through their first two games of the season, the Carolina Panthers have allowed a total of 6 points to the opposition.
In case there wasn’t already a mutual understanding, that’s pretty damn good.
The team’s defensive line continues to be one of the deepest and most talented in the league with standouts including Charles Johnson and Kawann Short. Their linebacker core consists of Luke Kuechly, who might be the best in the league at his position, and the ever-reliable Thomas Davis.
But perhaps the team’s biggest improvement comes in their secondary. Last season, the Panthers gave up the 4th most passing yards to opponents in the entire league and much of that had to do with the young and inexperienced players they had starting at cornerback. Given a year to develop, those cornerbacks have developed into capable starters at their position.
James Bradberry and Daryl Worley and taken major leaps into becoming solid all-around players and while they’re sure to experience some more growing pains as the season goes on, they’re clearly headed in the right direction.
The offense, on the other hand, hasn’t looked as dominant. Cam Newton still appears to be bothered by a shoulder injury that won’t seem to go away and the offensive line’s struggles have only compounded that issue. Rookie Christian McCaffrey has yet to emerge as the offensive game-changer he was in college although that is likely to change.
Still, issues with Newton’s shoulder coupled with a lack of production on offense will end up holding this team back.
This combined with expected regression from their defense and eventual struggles in the secondary will likely hold this team back from making any significant playoff runs.