Last year the 15-1  Carolina Panthers, led by MVP Cam Newton, made it all the way to the Super Bowl. Now with a 4-8 start to the season, Ron Rivera may have placed himself in the hot seat. With the decision to let Josh Norman walk away from the organization, and a couple of retirements, the  fans expected to see the Panthers back in the playoffs this year. There is a drop off in play at every position compared to last year. Most would think that a super bowl defeat would motivate a team to work harder the next season.  One of the biggest factors is the play of former MVP, Cam Newton. Cam is off to a similar start to his 2014 season. In 2014, the Panthers went 7-8-1. Cam’s QB rating is down to 80.6 just one year after it peaking at 99.4. His touchdown numbers are a lot lower, and his interceptions are much higher. This could be an effect of the officials not advocating for the star quarterback. Cam Newton has been the target of many helmet-to-helmet hits this season. The league has not flagged these hits, so Cam’s confidence is likely down and feels that he has to change his style of play. It’s definitely not all Cam’s fault. Starting running back,  Johnathan Stewart’s play has declined alonmg with most of the team. He has rushed for only 500 yards so far through 12 games, and has lost 3 fumbles. He has only played in 9 of those games, but he is still not playing at a high level. The team’s defense is one of the worst in the league. They are not forcing turnovers as much as they did last year. They forced 24 interceptions last year, along with 24 fumbles. This year those numbers are cut in half. While they give up the 28th most points in the league, the offensive line is another problem. The offensive line has struggles in the past though. Ron Rivera benched their star QB for a dress code violation, then the backup QB Ryan Anderson threw an INT on the first play of the game. Ron Rivera has lost the locker room. There isn’t just one problem on the team, and it’s likely time for a coaching change.

-Jaden Rogers

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