Reasons to be Cautious:
Cam Newton – Confused? Here is my deal with Newton: despite my praise above, I still do not trust him. I don’t trust his accuracy (58.9%), I don’t trust his decision making (37 turnovers in 2 years) and I don’t trust his leadership ability (has been called into question multiple times). This is a quarterback league, and to succeed, you need a QB that is accurate, smart, trustworthy and team oriented. I have yet to see Newton display any of these characteristics. Newton seems to care more about the spotlight (Superman) than the winning. Despite his super hero like numbers, the only number that matters is his record…13-19.
Defense – I like Kuechly. I like the drafting of Lotulelei. And I like that they get Jon Beason back.
However, who knows what can be expected of Beason, and despite a 10th ranked defense (in terms of yards), the Panthers gave up the 18th most points (22.7/game) and had only 23 takeaways (better than only 13 teams).
Ron Rivera – Not impressed with him yet. Given the talent he has (Newton, Smith, Williams, Stewart), I am very unimpressed with a 13-19 record.
The Panthers (mainly on the Newton potential) are a hot pick in 2013, but I just don’t buy it. In a QB driven league, I default to the better QBs: Drew Brees and Matt Ryan are better QBs than Cam Newton. The Panthers are a 3rd place team (at best) in this division.