Sitting at 1-4 and pretty much out of the season before it even began, the Carolina Panthers need to start making some big changes, and make them quickly, to even have any chance, no matter how slim it is.
One of the first changes that absolutely needs to be make is to the offense, and that all starts with offensive coordinator Mike Shula. Shula's very poor play calling so far in 2016 came to a head against the Tampa Bay Bucs on Monday Night Football. Around three minutes remaining, a great drive going that had they scored would have given the Panthers a 21-14 lead. It's 1st down and two from the two yard line. Panthers running back Cameron Artis-Payne had been unstoppable on the drive, yet from the two yard line, Shula decides on a pass instead of keeping the success on the ground going, FROM THE TWO YARD LINE. Absolutely terrible play call, and simply cost the Panthers the game, and absolutely summed up the 1-4 start to the season. So first order of business, fire OC Mike Shula.
Defensive line and secondary have also been a major issues for the Panthers defense this season. The secondary, minus now Redskin Josh Norman, wasn't that great last year, but the Panthers dominate from seven was able to get pressure on the quarterback and disrupt plays, which allowed the secondary to overachieve. Now yes, the Panthers secondary is very young, but they were young last year. The difference? A pass rush. So order of business, get some help on the defensive line, generate pressure, and you'll be amazing at what the secondary can do.
Stop filling hole with cheap, bottom of the barrel veterans. Yes it worked last season, but you cannot continuously win when you try to plug holes while shopping at the "Dollar Store". It's time for the Panthers to go after a top-tier cornerback and a top-tier defensive end. If Gettleman keeps letting all the great players leave or pass his by, the Panthers are in a very bad situation. Solution? Get a big name free agent or two via trade or free agency. But it must be at DE or CB.
Last but not least, the players, the captains needs to take things into their own hands right now. Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechly, Greg Olsen, Cam Newton, Ryan Kalil. Somebody needs to call a players on meeting just like Steve Smith did in 2013 after the Panthers started 1-3, but ended up 12-4. That players only meeting in 2013 came after the 1-3 start. So the Panthers leaders seriously need to step up and make it known that more of the same that has been the Panthers through five games this year is completely UNACCEPTABLE.
And YES, there are more problems with the Panthers, I just feel these listed above would help turn this team around much faster.