Will Cam be Cam, or will he be a bust in 2014?

Oh the possibilities!  After all, they are what keep us coming back, right?  Thirty one teams get their hearts broken every year, but come back with even more fervor the following season.  I was depressed for a week after losing the 49ers last year in the Playoffs but am chomping at the bit for the 2014 season.  I am, after all, one of the biggest Carolina Panther fans that you’ll ever meet.  In fact, if I were eligible, I would have entered the C3 Fan Spotlight Contest. I would have given the awesome finalists in that contest a run for their money.  Some lucky fan will win dinner for two at Firebirds and two tickets to the Panthers Home Opener.  Read their stories and vote for your favorite fan here:  http://www.carolinacatchronicles.com/p/fan.html.

Being a huge fan doesn’t mean you have to be a Homer.  I’m not drafting all Panthers in our Fantasy League, which Drafts Thursday night.  And though I know we can win any game and I pray that we will, I don’t pick us to go 16-0 every year.  Below are my honest and objective thoughts on what could go right and what could go wrong in the upcoming year. Opening-Day in the NFL is like Christmas morning for me.  The night before the first game, I cannot sleep as I will be thinking about the “what-ifs.”  My wife may even roll over to snuggle and I’ll be thinking about the Cam-to-Kelvin Connection.  So what do I think the 2014 season holds for in store for Panther Nation?

Here is what could go wrong:

Our Defense could be a bend-but-don’t-break type of Defense that we saw in the pre-season.  If that is the case, they will eventually wear down and that will spell trouble.  We must get off the field on third downs or it could be a long season.  Another thing that could go wrong is Cam not being Cam.  Let’s face it, Cam isn’t the most accurate passer (especially early in games) and he doesn’t get the ball out as quickly as a Drew Brees.  But where he is special is his ability to make any play become a big play.  His mobility sets him apart and is why I’d take him over 30 other QBs in the League. If his ankle isn’t right and if this cracked rib limits his willingness to run, then look for our 29th ranked Offense to drop in the rankings.  Another thing that could go wrong is our Offensive-line being offensive to Panther fans everywhere.  If we give up more sacks than we make, look for our season to be lost.  One last item that could go wrong is our Secondary may not gel and communicate well enough to be effective.  In the pre-season folks were left wide-open and Drew Brees and even Meg Ryan will pick that apart.  And of course, injuries are the big elephant in the room.  We have to stay healthy to go deep in the playoffs this year or to even make the playoffs.  Now I will set down my pessimistic glass and turn to the possibilities.

Here is what could go right:

Jonathan Stewart being healthy is an immediate upgrade to our backfield and will change the dynamics of our team.  We saw that in the pre-season as well.  He is just a step better than DeAngelo at this point in their careers.  Kelvin Benjamin is another thing that could go right.  I guarantee that if healthy, he will catch more yards and TDs than the 2013 Steve Smith did.  Another thing that could go right is our D-line could be even better than a year ago.  KK and “Stah” stand to make the same type of meteoric jump in year two that Kris Jenkins did for Carolina back in the day.  And probably the most important thing that could go right for Carolina is Cam simply being Cam.  Let’s face it, we will go as far as he takes us.  If he quickens his release time just a bit, gets the protection that he needs, and can be mobile enough to make a few plays with his feet on 3rd down, we will be just fine.  In fact, who can beat that?

So at the end of the day, I don’t know what is going to happen, but isn’t that what makes football the greatest game in the world?  The possibilities.  I’m going to go out and say we start slow and then pick up steam and finish 10-6.  What say you?  Tweet out your prediction for the upcoming season.  Am I a Homer or a Hater for predicting 10-6?