The Carolina Panthers offense finished the 2014 NFL season ranked 19th in passing with 219.4 passing yards per game. Lack of passing yards came from poor blocking from the offensive line, Cam Newton's injuries, and the lack of offensive fire power. Were these issues addressed?
The Panthers staff kept shuffling the offensive line, and eventually found the right formula. The line started blocking for the running game, and started protecting Cam Newton. The Carolina Panthers had a strong finish to the season, and ended up 7th in rushing yards per game with 127.3 yards.
Cam Newton was injured for most of the 2014 season. He had offseason ankle surgery, a hairline fracture in his rib, and two transverse process fractures. Even with all of his injuries, he only missed two games. After Newton's accident, he came back a new man. He got his “Superman Swag” back, and looked like his old rookie self. I am not sure how healthy Cam actually is, but if he's healthy, and consistent, he will be very productive next season.
Two out of three reasons have been fixed, but what about the third? Who can the Carolina Panthers sign to improve their passing game?
One of the best offensive weapons that the Panthers could get in the offseason is Randall Cobb. Cobb is the 2nd string wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers, and is going to be an unrestricted free agent. Randall Cobb had a great 2014 season with 91 receptions for 1,287 yards, and 12 touchdowns.
I think that Randall Cobb would be a perfect fit for the Carolina Panthers, because there isn't a player like him on the team. Cobb is known for his speed, and versatility. Fellow Carolina Cat Chronicles writer, Grant Hughes, wrote an article titled “Fast Five: Adding Speed to Carolina Panthers Roster,” and mentioned Randall Cobb. Speed is an area on offense where the Panthers roster is lacking. Cobb can be a kick returner, receiver, and take snaps out of the backfield. According to the Charlotte Observer, the projected starting wide receivers for the Panthers next season are Kelvin Benjamin, Jerricho Cotchery, and Philly Brown. Benjamin is known for his size, and catching ability. Cotchery is a veteran who is reliable, and has good hands. Philly is like a “Mini Randall Cobb” with his versatility, but is still a work in progress.
The possible combination of Kelvin Benjamin and Randall Cobb remind me of former Panther greats, Muhsin Muhammad, and Steve Smith. Muhammad played for the Panthers for 11 seasons, and Smith played for 13 seasons. In the 2003-2004 NFL season they combined for a total of 1,947 receiving yards, and 10 touchdowns. Their efforts, along with several others got them to the Super Bowl. Muhammad used his size to catch the ball, like Benjamin, and Smith used his speed, like Cobb.
Could you imagine being Cam Newton behind center, and seeing Kelvin Benjamin, Randall Cobb, and Greg Olsen going out for a pass? I know that Newton would have a big smile on his face, because he would finally have some weapons on offense.
By, Justin Raymond
Follow Me On Twitter @JayRay19