Murphy’s Law – the idea that everything that CAN go wrong, WILL go wrong.
The Panthers know firsthand how this feels.
Twelve weeks into the regular NFL season, your local failing felines own a league-worst 1-10 record, and things are quickly becoming more grave.
After the Panthers’ only win of the season (against the disappointing 3-6 San Francisco 49ers), starting quarterback Matt Moore fell to a concussion and was placed on season-ending injured reserve; shortly afterward, backup Jimmy Clausen was on the sideline as well.
Add to that the devastating injuries to BOTH members of Carolina’s talented running back corps – DeAngelo Williams (recently added to the team’s season-ending Injured Reserve) and Jonathan Stewart – and you have an offensive collapse on an already horrible football team.
Consider that Carolina played a recent game against the playoff-favored Baltimore Ravens with third-string free agent QB Brian St. Pierre and fourth-string RB Mike Goodson starting, as well as two rookie wide receivers – a game that ended in St. Pierre tossing two consecutive interceptions returned for Raven touchdowns.
Only two years removed from a 12-4 record and being one of the top four teams in the NFL, this team has obviously undergone some kind of drastic crash-and-burn, and it seems the Carolina ownership has no ‘eject’ button.
In the offseason, the Panthers organization dropped or traded many of their players over the age of 30 – many having proved themselves as experienced veteran leaders. The only skill-position player that is over 30 and a valuable rally point is franchise WR Steve Smith, whose production has dipped due to quarterback troubles. Personally, I think that the Carolina Panthers organization’s release decisions were detrimental to a team attempting a ‘youth rebuilding year’.
Rally points alone have little significance on the football field when the prevailing sentiment is failure. For example, take Thanksgiving weekend’s close game in Cleveland: despite RB Peyton Hillis powering the Browns to three early TDs, the Panthers rallied to within a point – only to fall short on a field goal attempt that bounced off the left upright.
Now that the woeful Buffalo Bills (2-9) have proven their worth, there is no longer any doubt that the Panthers are alone at the bottom of the proverbial totem pole; Carolina is ranked last in the NFL in total yards per game as well as overall points per game.
Now, take all of this depressing knowledge and consider that the Panthers’ remaining schedule is the toughest in the NFL in terms of win-loss record. Carolina has the Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Seattle Seahawks left on the slate, with a combined record of (33-13).
Clearly, the first overall pick in the 2011 Draft is ours for the taking.