The advantage of the dawning of every new season is that fans of usually competent teams enter the year along with hope. Hope that if the basketball bounces the right way in a couple of video games an otherwise 8-8 team will go 10-6, hope their team sneaks into the playoffs, then hope they will get hot at the right period. As Carolina Panthers fans we now have the fortune of rooting for any team that falls into the “generally competent” bucket almost every year such as the upcoming 2019 season.
However, the goal isn't to just sneak into the playoffs. The goal is to earn the Super Bowl. As followers, we sometimes view our groups with rose-colored glasses and see Extremely Bowl contenders where “mediocre” is most likely more realistic. But for those of us that are optimistic about the 2019 Carolina Panthers (myself included), we can count a minimum of one national writer among our rates. The Ringer's Robert Mays outlined the Panthers as one of four Extremely Bowl contenders hiding in simple sight. Here are some excerpts from Mays' piece:
If (Cam Newton) is definitely fully healthy this offense includes a chance to be fun… Christian McCaffrey looked like the perfect modern NFL celebrity last year as he caught 107 goes by for 867 yards and added nearly 1, 100 yards on a lawn. The team's young receivers, G. J. Moore and Curtis Samuel, looked electric at times last time of year…
Carolina also had a stellar offseason that included landing former Broncos center Matt Paradis on an acceptable three-year, $29 million deal (with only $10 million guaranteed), re-signing right tackle Daryl Williams to some one-year, $6 million contracts, plus drafting offensive lineman Greg Small in the second round. Every part associated with Newton's supporting cast could be much better this season than it was a year ago.
At the defensive side of the ball, Mays extols the virtues of putting your signature on free agents Bruce Irvin plus Gerald McCoy while drafting John Burns in the first round. At the downside, though, Mays does mention the Panthers secondary could be challenging and Greg Olsen is getting old. Even then, Mays still views Super Bowl potential when looking in the Panthers roster as a whole.
No, Carolina doesn't enter the season among the best tier of clear Super Dish favorites, but few teams perform. The Panthers will start the season having a chance though. Folks, we have a reason behind hope. Let the hype begin!