Fans of the Carolina Panthers were excited about the Week 5 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. It was not the opponent that had people talking about Sunday’s contest. Instead, it was the fact that everyone wanted to see what the Panthers are capable of after they dismantled the New York Giants in Week 3. After a lousy performance, it is clear Carolina must be more consistent, and more importantly, find an identity on offense to have success this season.
The Panthers rank toward the bottom of the league in passing yards. As athletic as Cam Newton is, he is still struggling at playing the quarterback position at a high level. Sure, he has moments of greatness while lining up under center. In fact, he threw for a season-high 308 passing yards against the Cardinals. However, he also tossed three interceptions and no touchdowns.
One would think that the Carolina coaching staff would figure out that they have one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL. No one would ever know it but the Panthers rank in the top five in rushing yards per game. Several players have contributed to the success of the run, including Newton.
Unfortunately, the coaches still have it in their mind that throwing the ball is the way to go. Instead of trying to establish a run game against Arizona, Carolina decided to let Newton throw the ball 39 times. It did not take long for the Cardinals’ defense to figure out what the game plan was, which allowed them to sack Newton seven times.
It is clear that the only way the Panthers will have success this season is if they figure out their identity. That means sticking to one game plan, preferably one that has proven to work this season. More running and less passing is clearly the way to go. It is no secret that Carolina was able to destroy New York two weeks ago because they rushed for 194 yards.
Taking the ball out of Newton’s hands and allowing DeAngelo Williams to go to work is exactly what the Panthers need to do in Week 6.