Carolina Panthers 2020 Team Overview

Carolina Panthers 2020 Team Overview

Panthers 2020 Team Overview

Carolina Panthers 2020 Team Overview

Owner

: David Tepper.  Tepper used to be a Steelers minority owner before buying the Panthers in 2018. 

Tepper was born in Pittsburgh and also went to college in Pittsburgh.  Buying an NFC team that will barely play the Steelers looked to be a great fit for Tepper. 

Tepper got his money from being a hedge fund manager.  He is absolutely loaded and has a net worth of 12 billion dollars.

General Manager  

Marty Hurney.  Hurney was the longtime GM from 2002 to 2012. 

Hurney was fired in 2012 but then rehired in 2017 on an interim basis after Dave Gettleman was fired.  In 2018 he was permanently hired as the GM. 

Hurney was responsible for drafting Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly.  Before the Panthers, Hurney was an assistant GM to the Chargers for 7 years.

  Interesting thing to note is that Hurney hired Ron Rivera in 2011 to be the Panthers head coach.  In 2012 Hurney was fired and Rivera stayed. 

Now in 2019, Hurney fired Rivera and Hurney has stayed.  Looks like Hurney had some hard feelings for Rivera. 

Hurney has now hired Matt Rhule to be the head coach and Rhule has only worked 1 year in the NFL as a coach.  We will see how this works out.

Head Coach: 

Matt Rhule.  Rhule starts his NFL head coaching career in Carolina.  Rhule used to be the head coach at Baylor the past couple of years. 

Before that, he was the head coach at Temple.  Rhule reportedly wow’d Marty Hurney in his interview.  Rhule comes from either a Baptist or Pentecostol christian upbringing and his father, I believe, was a preacher. 

Rhule has been known to give passionate speeches to his teams.  He apparently has a way with delivering speeches and messages. 

This gives credence to one of the reasons why he was hired for the job in Carolina.  Rhule has coached both offense and defense in college. 

Rhule played linebacker in college but now focuses mainly as an offensive coach.  He has called plays in the past but is not likely to do that in Carolina. 

His offenses have met the needs of his team. 

At Temple he liked to run the ball a lot in 22 personnel but at Baylor he liked to air it out in a spread concept using 10 personnel. 

His run schemes are primarily zone with very little gap scheme runs.  However, we will see what he cooks up in Carolina.

Fantasy Outlook for the Panthers

QB: Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy only played 5 games last year but he was on pace to throw for 3,900 yards and 27 touchdowns. 

These are very respectable numbers.  Now he will get his chance to start since he left Minnesota in 2015.  I think Teddy will have a good year under Head coach Matt Rhule and OC Joe Brady. 

Brady has discussed getting the ball out quick to his receivers and letting them work in space. 

This will definitely be a true west coast spread em out kind of offense.  They have short and small wide receivers in DJ Moore, Curtis Samuel and Robby Anderson. 

All of them are either quick and fast.  So it makes sense that they will be throwing short and quick passes to them. 

I think that the Panthers will be one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2020.  This means they will be behind in a lot of games and throwing the ball. 

I think this inflates Teddy’s numbers. 

I think Teddy will be a serviceable back up and maybe even a starter some weeks against bad defenses. 

However, don’t bother drafting Teddy, there are better options out there.  Look for him on the waiver wires.  I project Teddy to have 4,100 yards passing and 28 touchdowns in 2020.

RB: Christian McCaffrey

Let’s not waste too much time looking into McCaffrey.  He has a really good run blocking offensive line and the offensive coordinator Joe Brady wants to throw quick passes and screens. 

This means McCaffrey will still be getting a lot of receptions.  Another top 3 fantasy year for McCafrey is destined.  He is probably the safest pick in fantasy.

WR: DJ Moore

DJ is the best WR on this roster.  Last year he finished as the 18th best WR in Half PPR fantasy leagues. 

DJ was able to do that with 3 different starting QB’s.  DJ plays really hard and doesn’t lack any confidence.

  This is exactly what you want from a wide receiver and especially one that you drafted in the first round in 2018. 

DJ is also both quick and fast.  Last year he had 1,100 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns.  If he had 8 touchdowns then he would have been the 6th best fantasy WR last year. 

In Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady’s quick game offense and excellent passing offense, I think DJ has a breakout 3rd year. 

I think he will have a 100 receptions, 1,300 yards receiving and 8 touchdowns.  The Panthers will be behind a lot this year and will be forced to throw the ball.  DJ is going to benefit a lot from this. 

Wide Receivers also break out in their 3rd or 4th season.  This will be DJ’s 3rd season.  Don’t be afraid to draft DJ in the 3rd or 4th round.  He won’t disappoint.

WR: Robby Anderson

Robby was the free agent signing this off season to bring even more speed to this passing game. 

Robby has been known to stretch the field.  He has taken multiple passes for long touchdowns when he was with the Jets. 

I would not draft him high at all. 

I might not even draft him at all.  If anything I would consider him as one of my last 2 picks in a fantasy draft but I don’t think he will be there by then. 

He could be successful but I am not willing to risk that in the 10th round of my fantasy draft.  There are a lot safer and reliable options in the 10th round.

Panthers Offensive Preview 2020

Offensive: Joe Brady is the offensive coordinator and play caller for the 2020 Carolina Panthers.  Joe Brady was the passing game coordinator for the LSU Bengal Tigers in 2019. 

He helped Joe Burrow and the Tigers have one of the best offenses in college football history.

  However, Brady has never been a coordinator at any level.  He only called plays in the redzone for the Tigers last season. 

Brady has said at his introductory press conference that at LSU they looked at what the players did well and ran plays according to their skill level. 

He says that he and coach Rhule will collectively evaluate the roster and determine what system they want to deploy.  Whatever plays they want to role out in 2020, they better have a better offensive line. 

The O-line in 2019 gave up the most sacks in the NFL with 58.  Cam Newton is now officially out of Carolina and they have now signed Teddy “2 Gloves” Bridgewater. 

He has the nickname 2 gloves because he might be the only NFL QB to wear 2 gloves on gameday.  The Panthers also signed WR Robbie Anderson this offseason. 

The Panthers have a bunch of short, small and fast wide receivers.  Ian Thomas is their Tight End and he has a lot of potential. 

Christian McCaffrey is the superstar on the offense and commands attention.  My guess is with their offseason signings that this offense will look to throw the ball a lot.

Panthers Defensive Preview 2020

Phil Snow.  Snow has been with Matt Rhule for around the last 6 years.  Snow has over 30 years of coaching experience. 

He has had very successful defenses at Temple and Baylor coaching under Rhule.  At Baylor his team was great at turnovers and at Temple his defense was 1st in the AAC conference back to back years. 

He says he will run multiple fronts.  Meaning that he will run 4 man fronts and 3 man fronts.  He says that you have to do that in order to not be predictable to offenses. 

Snow characterizes a good defense as one that plays fast and physical and prides themselves on takeaways. He says in order to get players to respect you, then you have to show them that you can make them better. 

He feels like he is really good at doing that.  Whatever personnel he uses, he has a lot of options now that the Panthers used all of their draft picks on defense.

There is a lot of work to do on defense for Carolina and it starts with stopping the run.  They gave up the most yards per carry in the NFL and also gave up the 4th most rushing yards per game in 2019. 

Defensive Line

To help with this they have added D-lineman Derrick Brown in the draft.  Brown was the 5th pick overall and was a superstar at Auburn. 

Kawann Short is an aging defensive lineman vet at 31 years old but has been very productive for Carolina. 

Stephen Weatherly was signed in free agency and is looking to compete for a starting job.  He was a back up in minnesota but says a big reason in signing with Carolina is that he wants to show that he can be an NFL starter. 

Weatherly flashed with great play in Minnesota.  Now he will compete for a starting spot against rookie Yetur Gross-Matos who was drafted in the 2nd round out of Penn State. 

Matos was considered by some to be drafted in the 1st round of the 2020 NFL draft.  Matos fell to the Panthers and was touted as a pretty good pass rusher for the Nittany Lions. 

As for the other pass rusher on the team, his name is Brian Burns.  Burns was Carolina’s 1st round pick in 2019. 

Burns flashed greatness at times in his first year.  He had 7.5 sacks but now that there is an overall better defensive line, this should free up Burns to have double digit sacks in 2020. 

3rd year guy Marquis Haynes is another defensive end on the team that looks to have more playing time this year too. 

He has not played much but could end up starting if he has a good training camp.  This is a talented Defensive line but they are young. 

I think this line performs very well by season’s end. 

Linebackers

The linebackers will not have Luke Kuechly this year but will still have Shaq Thompson.  Thompson had his best season as a pro last year and should build off of that in 2020. 

Tahir Whitehead will be the other linebacker starting next to Thompson.  Whitehead has been in the NFL since 2012 and was signed in free agency. 

He played last season in Oakland.  Whitehead is a sure tackler and good against the run but he is really really poor in pass defense. 

There is a reason why the Panthers used all of their draft picks on defense.  This is because this defense has a lot of holes and a lot of really bad players on it. 

Cornerbacks

This includes the secondary.  The cornerbacks are Eli Appel, who has struggled on the Giants and Saints.  The other cornerback is Donte Jackson. 

Jackson has a knack for interceptions but makes repeated mistakes in coverage.  It looks like Phil Snow will play a lot man coverage and I think that suits Appel and Jackson better but they are both liabilities. 

The 4th round rookie out of Notre Dame, Troy Pride Jr. will either play slot corner in dime packages or even start over Eli Appel. 

It is not a deep or very good cornerback situation in Carolina.  Especially a group that has to face Michael Thomas, Mike Evans and Julio.  Yea, good luck. 

Safeties

The safeties are Tre Boston and either rookie 2nd round draft pick Jeremy Chinn or 4 year journeyman, Juston Burris. 

Burris is a huge Panthers fan and went to highschool in Raleigh North Carolina and played his college ball at N.C. State. 

Chinn was a 2nd round pick in the 2020 NFL draft that GM Marty Hurney and Head Coach Matt Rhule traded up to get on draft night. 

So it looks like Chinn will start if they were so high on him to move up and get him.  Chinn has really good size and speed but came from D1 AA college ball known as the FCS. 

Okay, that was a lot of research and really a lot to digest if you are a Panthers fan.  I feel your pain after reading this and DC Phil Snow has a ton of work ahead of him. 

The D-line and linebackers drafted and signed in free agency should definitely help one of the worst run defenses in the NFL in 2019. 

I think this group will probably be middle of the pack against the run in 2020.  The huge concern is the pass defense and the pass rush. 

Not a problem you want to have in the NFL.  I would say the pass rush has more promise than the pass defense.

Bottom line is that this group is going to struggle at times this year and maybe even the entire year.  This is definitely a bottom half of the league defense.

Fun Facts About Coaches

Head Coach Matt Rhule used to be Phil Snow’s graduate assistant at UCLA.  Now Snow works for Rhule.

Joe Brady is only 30 years old and came from LSU where he won a National Championship coaching Joe Burrow.

Depth Chart:

Contract Year Players:

OL: Russell Okung

WR: Curtis Samuel

OL: John Miller

Panthers Offensive Line Preview

The Panthers offensive line gave up the most sacks in 2019 with 58.  So in order to protect Teddy Bridgewater in 2020, they signed free agent Guards John Miller and Michael Schofield.  Lastly, they traded for veteran tackle, Russell Okung. 

The offensive line coach is Pat Meyer.  Schofield, Okung and center Matt Paradis played for Meyer in Denver. 

This definitely helps in an offseason that has lacked OTA’s and Mini camps. 

The other Tackle opposite of Okung is Taylor Moton.  Both Okung and Moton are above average in pass protection and also very good against the run. 

The only concern out of the 2 tackles is that Okung wasn’t able to stay healthy last year. 

However, if both of them are healthy then they will be great edge pieces to this offensive line in 2020. 

The Guards will be either Dennis Daley, Michael Schofield and John Miller.  Daley was a 6th round draft pick in 2019 and earned playing time last season at Tackle and Guard. 

Daley was a big reason the Panthers gave up 58 sacks with him giving up 7 of them.  Most likely it will be Schofield and Miller starting at Guard. 

Schofield only gave up 1 sack last year in Los Angeles with the Chargers and Miller comes over from the Bengals. 

Miller is a physical blocker and has had an up and down career.  The center is Matt Paradis.  Paradis has been to the pro bowl in years past. 

Last season however, was not one of them.  Paradis has always been a great run blocker but last year made the case for worst pass blocking center in the NFL. 

Paradis allowed 13 more pressures than any other center in the league.  Overall, this line should be just fine under Joe Brady’s play calling. 

Brady plans to spread the field and get his players the ball quickly and in space.  This will mean that the offensive line will not have to block in pass protection for too long. 

This O-line should also be one of the better run blocking O-lines in the NFL.  Taking into account the overall picture, this is an average offensive line. 

Good Tackles but nothing overly impressive in the middle spots.  Should play well together in 2020.

Eric

Thank you for reading my post. Dominique and I hope you find our website helpful. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions or comments!

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