Last week, Carolina Panthers center Ryan Kalil took out an ad in the Charlotte Observer promising a Super Bowl victory this season. It's safe to say this has hit national news. While some perceive it as a joke, it's not too far fetched. When you have the greatest rookie QB of all time getting a full offseason under his belt, the sky is the limit. Everything on paper seems to back this promise to a degree. There are five things that will need to happen for this dream to come true.
1. Stay Healthy- This a major problem last year on the defensive side. Ron Edwards, Pro Bowl defensive tackle signed from Kansas City, went down for the season on the first day of camp. At least he has made to the fourth day. The linebacking core was devestated by torn ACL's last year. Hoping to fully recover is Jon Beason and Thomas Davis, who so far in practice have looked very good. If the defense can stay healthy and be solid, this will help that dream come true.
2. Cam Avoids Sophmore Slump - There will be film now on Cam Newton. At the same time, he will have film for defenses as well. Cam Newton will have a full offseason to work on Quarterback necessities, unlike the strike-filled offseason of 2011. Cam actually showed up with rookies before camp started this year to gel with his receivers. Cam puts in the time to be successful and strives to win a championship. If Cam puts up anything close to what he had last year in terms of numbers, the offense will be just as potent.
3. The Best Rushing Attack in the NFL - The Panthers already had Jonathan Stewart and Deangelo Williams. Adding Cam last year for trickery and short yardage plays (and his 14 rushing touchdowns) made this almost an unstoppable force. Everybody averaged over five yards per carry. Now they've added another weapon in Mike Tolbert. Tolbert should account for some of those rushing TDs that Cam had to help protect Cam. Tolbert can also catch very well out of the backfield. With Chud at offensive coordinator, the possibilities for this offense is endless.
4. The NFC South Falls Off- The NFC South is undoubtedly the toughest division in the NFL. But there have been a few chinks in the armor that have popped up this offseason. Obviously the scandal with the Saints, it will mean more than people think to not have Sean Payton calling plays. The Falcons window of opportunity is closing, and they can't win a playoff game to save their life. The Bucs are not close to contending yet. There is definitely an opportunity for the Panthers to win this division.
5. Favorable Schedule- Besides playing in the NFC South, the rest of the schedule this year is favorable. Besides traveling to Chicago and hosting Seattle, they will play the NFC East and AFC West. The last time they played these two divisions, the Panthers went 12-4. Overall, not much has changed in the AFC West besides Peyton's arrival, and the NFC East isn't as tough even with the defending champions. But then again, you can never tell if a schedule is favorable or not.
So if you factor these five things, it could become a reality that this team wins the Super Bowl this year. But to back up Kalil, he stated he more or less did it for the fans because according to him, they have had very little to be excited about in recent years. This is also proof that the team is feeling it and are on the same page. When you have that happen, then the magic starts doing its work.
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