NFL Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers: 5 Players Not Named Cam Newton Who Must Become Leaders

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Carolina Panthers 5 Players

Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers have been teetering on the edge of a complete melt-down ever since their week three loss in prime-time to the New York Giants, 36-7.

Since then, Carolina’s offense has remained stagnant; mulling along with predictable play calls and overall lack of production from some key players.

Key players that now more than ever must begin executing efficiently on the field and at the same time becoming leaders to help guide their fellow teammates through these treacherous times.

Season ending injuries to leaders like Panthers center Ryan Kalil, cornerback Chris Gamble, and linebacker Jon Beason have left a major void in the leadership department for a Panthers squad that needs leadership now more than ever.

Long time Panthers general manager Marty Hurney was fired Monday morning as a result of a disappointing 1-5 record to start the season; a season that many fans expected to be a successful one.

Instead, the same old story has grabbed headlines. Injuries and poor offensive performances have plagued the Panthers yet again.

Going forward the Panthers and head coach Ron Rivera must find a way to stop the bleeding and build some positive momentum for next year.

It starts this Sunday when the Panthers hit the road to face the Chicago Bears. Not the best situation for a Panthers’ turnaround, but they did have plenty of success on offense against the Bears in 2011, despite a close loss.

However, the turnaround can’t all be left up to quarterback Cam Newton. No doubt his performance will be critical, but Carolina needs at least five other guys to raise their games both as leaders and players on the field.

Robert Kester, Carolina Panthers Columnist. Follow @robertkester1.

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Captain Munnerlyn

Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn must live up to his first name within Carolina’s young and now vulnerable secondary due to the loss of Gamble for the season. Munnerlyn transitions into this unit’s leader and has to find a way to get the guys playing around him to stay focused.

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Luke Kuechly

Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

Rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly currently leads Carolina’s defense with 51 tackles. His production is solid, but with Beason gone for the year, he must become a true vocal leader on the field at middle linebacker.

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Charles Johnson

Defensive end

Defensive end Charles Johnson is a rich man and he can thank former Panthers general manager Marty Hurney for that. With Hurney gone, Johnson has to prove he’s worth the big dollars by building on his 3.5 sacks going forward.

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Jonathan Stewart

Running back
Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

Star running back Jonathan Stewart got paid during the offseason and like Johnson, Stewart can thank Hurney for his new contract. Whether Stewart’s lack of production is due to a lingering ankle injury or poor play execution, he needs to show-up and play every Sunday and help alleviate some of the pressure off of his quarterback.

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DeAngelo Williams

Running back

Running back DeAngelo Williams is beyond struggling to find his game this season. The best thing Williams can do for his team is to stay positive and hopefully find a way to break out of this slump soon. Going to Williams on a few screen plays this Sunday might help turn the trend.