The Carolina Panthers have underperformed this season, much like other teams. They have the talent but injuries and gameplanning stifled what otherwise could have been a competitive team.
Their star running back, Jonathan Stewart, has been contending with injuries all season. He didn’t perform well until mid-season with his game with his game against the Cleveland Browns. He almost got 100 yards rushing in that game and performed well against the Seattle Seahawks with 92 yards rushing and a touchdown. For two games against the Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals, he gained 130+ yards in both games, but no touchdowns. Then he suffered an ankle injury again late in the season.
Their star wide receiver, Steve Smith, has been on the downhill slide all year, partially due to the ineffectiveness, consistency and injuries of their quarterbacks. Early in the season, he was a threat, scoring a touchdown in each game against the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers with 75 yards and 66 yards respectively. He gained the most yardage against the St. Louis Rams with 85 yards. However, he only had 2 touchdowns all year. He was entirely ineffective as a threat this season.
With the debate of their quarterbacks Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen early in the season, it ultimately fell upon Jimmy Clausen to carry the team. Although Matt Moore was more effective than Jimmy Clausen, Matt Moore suffered a hard shoulder injury against the New Orleans Saints. Matt Moore scored a touchdown in three of the games that he was able to fully complete. However, he ended the season with a disappointing 55.6 quarterback rating, and he will most likely enter free agency in 2011. With Jimmy Clausen, he scored 2 touchdowns all season compared Moore’s 5 touchdowns. Additionally, he has only a slightly better quarterback rating with 56.8 quarterback rating.
Their 3-13 record only sealed the deal with John Fox’s termination. The only upsides are the youth of the team as a whole, their passing defense currently ranked 11th and their running game. Although John Fox was released from the Panthers, he should have available positions open to him. He’s more like New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin who generally plays conservatively and controls the time of possession, rather than shotgunning it like the Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid.