With training camp approaching quickly, we’re taking a look at each of the Atlanta Falcons’ divisional rivals. We wrap things up with the Carolina Panthers.
While things are somewhat quiet these days for the Atlanta Falcons and the rest of the NFL’s 31 clubs, it’s as good as time as any to scout out each of the team’s NFC South rivals on an individual basis. From recent history between the clubs to a look ahead to this season, we got things started with the much-improved Tampa Bay Buccaneers and moved onto the New Orleans Saints. We put a wrap on this brief series with a glance at the Carolina Panthers.
Analysis: It was a less-than-graceful fall for the then-defending NFC champions. An erratic year by 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton and a disappointing showing by the Carolina defense added up to a 6-10 finish. That includes a 1-5 mark within the division as the Panthers were swept by both the Falcons and Buccaneers.
The franchise was busy in free agency with plenty of newcomers as well as lots of departures. Gone are familiar faces such as wide receivers Ted Ginn and Corey Brown, linebacker A.J. Klein, tackle Mike Remmers and fullback Mike Tolbert. Defensive end Kony Ealy was dealt to the New England Patriots. Carolina brought back former Panthers such as defensive end Julius Peppers and Captain Munnerlyn. They also signed veterans such as left tackle Matt Kalil and strong safety Mike Adams. And there’s real excitement surrounding the arrival of rookie running back Christian McCaffrey.
The Carolina Panthers have historically been a team on a rollercoaster. In 22 NFL seasons, they have never posted back-to-back winning campaigns. It will be interesting to see if they can rebound this fall.
Russell S. Baxter covers the Atlanta Falcons for Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter at @baxfootballguru. Looking for more Falcons news and features? Like our Falcons Facebook page HERE and also follow @spot_falcons on Twitter.