Good teams, in any sport and on any level, have a clear identity. Whether it’s built around one player, one scheme, one offense or one defense, there’s usually something that stands out.
Super Bowl bound Panthers teams in the past have been built around stout and stingy defenses. That has been the identity and strength of the team even when the offense was questionable. But after 5 games and a 3-2 record, there are still questions about what the true identity of this Carolina squad is? Are they the defensive minded group that sacked Dak Prescott six times and held Elliott and Barkley to under 70 yards rushing, or are they the offensively gifted team that rushed for more than 200 yards and scored four touchdowns against a talented Bengals defense?
The jury is still out, but the one thing that me and defensive coordinator Eric Washington agree on is that things must be more consistent.
“Our issue is right now is consistency. I’ve seen stand out performances in all phases of what we want to be in terms of our identity. I’ve seen us rush the quarterback well first five games and I’ve seen us struggle to do that. I’ve seen us stop the run, do a nice job with that, and then we have inconsistency in those areas. So when we put together a complete performance, cover to cover, that’s where we have make ground. That’s where we have to grow and improve.”
The good news is, the Panthers have enough talent on both sides of the ball to be successful, but they’re going to have to decide which identity they’ll embrace, and focus on staying true and consistent to that because things on the schedule aren’t getting an easier.