5 Things the Panthers Must Replicate From 2013 To Make 2014 Special

Touchdown Tony Dunn recently wrote a great piece about the 5 stats that have to improve for the Panthers next season.  It got me thinking as to what we have to replicate from 2013 in 2014.  Sometimes in football, as in life, a break here or there makes all the difference in the outcome.  A fumble on opening day, a breakdown in coverage on the final play in Buffalo, a dropped TD against Arizona all were single plays that could have made our season historic, or at least 15-1.  But on the other side of the coin, if Brady had connected on that last play on Monday night, or if Hixon had dropped that fateful pass against New Orleans or had we not picked up 4th and forever against Miami, we would not have made the playoffs.  So here is a look at 5 things we must try to replicate if 2014 is going to be special.

1- Team Chemistry-  Not only did Cam grow as a leader getting his first C on his chest, but the entire team seemed to have each others back.  Remember Smitty getting into a scuffle and Cam playfully doing jumping jacks and flashing his Million-Dollar smile while the crowd cheered Smitty on?  Remember Drayton Florence leading the famous 2-claps and a Nature Boy cheer after each win?  When the game is about more than money to these players, special things happen.  Will this replicate in 2014?  Will we see more scenes like this where even the fans are a part of the chemistry?  

2- Game winning drives-  We don’t have to do that every week, and quite honestly I’m not sure my heart could take that drama every week.  However, Cam has to continue to be clutch.  Towards the end of the year, he sure did look like he knew we were going to win.  He knew he was going to pick up that fourth down in Miami and he knew we would win on that last drive against New Orleans.  Even the national media noticed, check out this clip 

3- Plus 11 Turnover ratio- When the Panthers are forcing turnovers and not giving the ball away, we are tough to beat.  Luke lead the team with four INTs last year and I’d like to see a CB step up and lead that stat this year.  And Cam has to have time to make good decisions or throw the ball away.  If he is rushed into making bad plays, we will be in trouble.

4- Plus 17 sack ratio-  This is a C3 special stat to you won’t see tracked anywhere else.  But we had 60 sacks and gave up 43.  That is an amazing stat that we should focus on.  That means we are getting to Meg Ryan and Drew Drew more often than they get to us.  That means they make worse decisions and turn the ball over more.  Putting pressure while avoiding pressure is the difference in winning and losing.

5- Plus 635 rushing yards-  We had an unbelievable advantage with our running game that doesn’t seem real.  DeAngelo Williams led the team with 843 rushing yards while Cam added 585.  That is the difference right there:  Cam.  Not many if any QBs bring that running dimension the way #1 does.  And I see this advantage growing this year with a healthy and improved set of Guards.  Hopefully Jonathan Stewart can add to that as well.

So Panther Nation, TD Tony pointed out 5 things we must fix.  Above are 5 things we must replicate.  It is going to be a fun season.  Tell us what you think needs to happen for the Panthers to have another great season and hopefully take that next step.  As always, Keep Pounding! Follow Erin Ford aka "Mel Mayock" @PanthersDrafter

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