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Eliminated From Playoff Contention: Carolina Panthers

(Image credit Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports)

Written by: Nicholas Mullick


The Carolina Panthers have officially been eliminated after their loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This again was a disappointing season for a team that had an expectation of playoffs. Especially with the moves that the Panthers made during the offseason and in midseason getting CJ Henderson and Stephon Gilmore via trade. Again there is a long list of reasons why the Carolina Panthers were eliminated from the playoffs. But I will give the three reasons why they missed the playoffs.

1. Over-Reliance on RB Christian McCaffrey

The moment the Carolina Panthers season truly ended is when Christian McCaffery suffered his season-ending injury. I said many times that the Carolina Panthers offense lives and dies through Christian McCaffery. When McCaffrey is on the field for the Panthers this offense runs completely smoothly. When he is not my goodness this offense is a dumpster fire. It was clear that the Panthers have too much of an overreliance on Christian McCaffrey. The Panthers do have talent in the receiving game with WR DJ Moore but with the inconsistency of the QB crew, Moore could not do too much. Robby Anderson was awful this season. I do like Chuba Hubbard and he has some potential but he is no Christian McCaffrey and they used him less and less. But with how bad this offense is without him It goes to show how talented RB Christian McCaffrey really is. Hopefully next season he is a lot healthier than he has been. But it is clear that the Panthers need to invest more on the offense during the offseason to build around whoever the QB will be.

2. No Franchise QB

The Panthers at the end of last season decided that they wanted to move on from QB Teddy Bridgewater due to his inability to not stay healthy and that they did not see him as a Franchise QB. So during the offseason, the Panthers decided to trade three draft picks to the New York Jets in exchange for Sam Darnold. Darnold was ruined by the Jets organization, especially by former head coach Adam Gase. It was worth a shot to do as Darnold was still on his rookie deal and he was 24 years old. As a fan of Darnold, I was happy that he was going to get a true opportunity as a starting QB with the Panthers and wanted to see him succeed. Unfortunately, he has struggled and once again can’t stay healthy and missed many games due to a shoulder injury. So then came Plan XFL 2.0 where the team decided to give a chance to PJ Walker. He was one of the bright spots in the brief days of the XFL 2.0 when he played with the Houston Roughnecks. After watching him play He was awful. So then came Plan C and look it's a bird, no it's a plane, no it's Super Cam. Yes, the return of Cam Newton as he was a surprising cut from the New England Patriots. Many thought Cam would not play this season until he surprisingly signed a deal with the Panthers. He shined during the Arizona Cardinals and even shouted that he was Back after scoring a rushing touchdown. After that game, It was all but downhill. Cam no longer has the arm strength that he had years ago. Now Matt Rhule is deciding to have a revolving door at QB pulling QB’s at any moment of the game. There is no Franchise QB on the Carolina Panthers right now and they are in contention to take a QB during the 2022 NFL Draft.

3. Terrible offensive line

Say what you want about the Rotation door at QB this season for the Panthers we have to admit, Carolina’s offensive line is brutal. Excluding OT Taylor Morton who has been excellent this season at tackle, the entire offensive line is abysmal. There are many times that Sam Darnold, Cam Newton, and PJ Walker get pressured due to the o-line not blocking at all. The free-agent signings have not worked out including Cameron Irving and Pat Elflein. As I say, the offensive line is extremely important to the offense. Look at how a team’s offense changes when they improve the o-line. Look at the Browns as they went from a struggling offense due to having two undrafted rookies at tackle to a playoff team that has two pro-bowl o-linemen in Jedrick Wills and Jack Conklin. Carolina needs to invest properly in the offensive line during both Free Agency and in the Draft.

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