NFL Update: The Carolina Panthers 2014 Schedule and Status Report Post-2014 NFL Draft
Are the Carolina Panthers Super Bowl Contenders?
2014 NFL Off-Season
Current Odds To Win the 2015 Super Bowl: 25-1 See the Latest Odds
2013 Recap: The Carolina Panthers had a successful 2013 season, winning the NFC South with 12 victories and reaching the divisional round of the playoffs. The Panthers had the second best defense in the league behind only the Seattle Seahawks, and Cam Newton had a breakout season with 24 touchdown passes and six rushing touchdowns. It was the best season the Panthers experienced since 2008 and with the young talent on the roster, fans are eager to see what’s next for this franchise.
Key Losses: The Panthers made the tough decision by releasing wide receiver Steve Smith, who was the heart and soul of the team. Spending his whole career with the Panthers, Smith racked up 12,197 receiving yards and 80 touchdowns. However, management thought Smith was on the downside of his career and wasn’t needed anymore. The Panthers also lost Ted Ginn and Brondon LeFall, leaving a gaping hole at wide receiver. Defensively, the Panthers lost Captain Munnerlyn and Mike Mitchell.
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Key Additions: The Panthers signed tight end Ed Dickson and wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery, players who have combined for 37 career touchdowns and more than 6,500 receiving yards. Defensively, the Panthers didn’t need to do much but did add defensive back Roman Harper, who has 17 sacks and 15 forced fumbles in his eight-year career with the New Orleans Saints.
Draft: The Panthers made a great first round pick by drafting Kelvin Benjamin, a receiver out of Florida State who can contribute from day one. They added to their defensive by selecting Kony Ealy out of Missouri, and got a steal in defensive back Tre Boston. Overall, the Panthers did a nice job of filling in their needs and making their team better.
2014 Outlook, So Far: As long as the Panthers defense can remain elite status, this is a team that can seriously make another run at a Super Bowl. It’s the offense that folks should be concerned with. The Panthers ranked 29th in the league last year in passing yards and now has even less talent on the outside with Smith gone. The lack of offensive weapons may be the reason the Panthers fall short once again this season.
Sept. 7 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4:25
Sept. 14 Detroit Lions, 1
Sept. 21 Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:30
Sept. 28 at Baltimore Ravens, 1
Oct. 5 Chicago Bears, 1
Oct. 12 at Cincinnati Bengals, 1
Oct. 19 at Green Bay Packers, 1
Oct. 26 Seattle Seahawks, 1
Oct. 30 New Orleans Saints (Thu), 8:25
Nov. 10 at Philadelphia Eagles (Mon), 8:30
Nov. 16 Atlanta Falcons, 1
Nov. 23 BYE
Nov. 30 at Minnesota Vikings, 1
Dec. 7 at New Orleans Saints, 1
Dec. 14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1
Dec. 21 Cleveland Browns, 1
Dec. 28 at Atlanta Falcons, 1