The Carolina Panthers have a bye this week and will return next week against the Dallas Cowboys at home in Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers need to take their time off and go back to the drawing on certain offensive schemes and the defensive side of the ball needs help also.
This will also be a good time for players and coaches to regroup and reassess their particular place on the team and what kind of job they are doing. Should some starters be benched for other players? At this point in the season maybe a little shake up is what the team could use.
Coach Ron Rivera needs to have a sit down with key players on the team and try to get them all on the same sheet of music. The season is a long one, especially when you have the ingredients to get to the playoffs, but yet in still you are losing. Can the coaching staff help the players turn things around so that the team can have a productive season?
I think that if QB Cam Newton would play within himself and not try and take the whole thing upon himself and get his offense together, so that everyone is in sync. He leads by example, but I think in this particular case he is trying to do too much on his own. To add to Newton’s woes, his Pro Bowl C Ryan Kalil is out for the season with an injury to his left foot.
Defensively the Panthers have some things to tighten up also. FS Haruki Nakamura needs to pick up his defense. They are giving up entirely too many points. The defensive line is giving up a lot of run yardage. LB Jon Beason has been dealing with injuries off and on all season long. LB Luke Kuechly has taken up a lot of the slack.
Overall the offense, defense and special teams all need work, but if they can come together this team has an outside shot of maybe making a wildcard spot in the playoffs. They really have to work hard to salvage their season.
Where this team goes next is entirely up to the Panthers. They have to get the work done somehow.
Mike Samuels, Carolina Panthers Columnist, Twitter @NFLPANTHER_ROAR and http://www.facebook.com/TheSportsDude