The Carolina Panthers have the earliest bye week in the NFL, along with the Green Bay Packers. Bye weeks are very crucial to a team, because it allows the players and coaches to not only rest, but evaluate the previous performances and prepare for the remainder of the season. However, having the bye week so early into the season could potentially be more harmful than helpful for the Panthers. The Panthers earned their first win over the New York Giants in Week 3, and had a lot of momentum leading up to Week 4. During the bye week, the Panthers have several items they need to address.
First is the injuries. The Panthers’ defense has sustained several key injuries that has hurt the team’s overall depth. With veteran safety Charles Godfrey out for the season, the Panthers had to make a quick adjustment, signing rookie Robert Lester from the practice squad. Other key injuries on the defense is veteran linebacker Jon Beason questionable with a bad knee, safety Quintin Mikell out with ankle issues, and cornerback Josh Thomas out with concussion like symptons. These players need to nurse their injuries, get lots of rest, and try to prepare themselves to play in week five.
Another thing to focus on during the bye week is trying to mimic the teams intensity they showed in week three. The Panthers not only blew out the Giants, but shut them out completely. The Panthers came out firing on offense, and quarterback Cam Newton took control of the game. The defense was more than intimidating, and really took Eli Manning out of the game quickly. They put a lot of pressure on the ball and forced a total of seven sacks. If the Panthers can come out firing quickly on offense and play with the same intensity in Week 5, expect them to have another great win and an easy victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
Lastly, the team and coaches need to take advantage of their resting time, watching video on the opponents and taking notes on how they function as a team. They need to study the Cardinals’ habits and recognize their play packages. By doing so, they can better predict the play calling by the Cardinals’ coaching staff and also make appropriate audibles on the field. The Panthers have a one week advantage over the Cardinals in preparing for their Week 5 matchup. The Panthers have an advantage that should increase their chances for a victory.
Patrick Newton is a Carolina Panthers writer for Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @SirNewton17, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.