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Panthers Scouting Report: Young Cats Learning To Cope With Changes

Panthers getting younger; building a foundation for 2011

TAMPA FL - NOVEMBER 14:  Head coach John Fox of the Carolina Panthers talks with an official during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 14 2010 in Tampa Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
TAMPA FL - NOVEMBER 14: Head coach John Fox of the Carolina Panthers talks with an official during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 14 2010 in Tampa Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
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This Carolina franchise is feeling the forceful, but often necessary effects of transformation; and their 2010-11 record is suffering because of it.

After an off season where they lost the league's premiere defensive end in Julius Peppers and their quarterback of seven seasons in the Browns' Jake Delhomme, the Panthers cleaned house with their roster and are starting anew. These incoming youngsters have not made a quick and easily transition to the NFL.

The team built their future around 2010 NFL draftees such as quarterback's Jimmy Claussen and Tony Pike, receivers David Gettis and Armanti Edwards, defensive end Greg Hardy, and linebacker Eric Norwood. They are one of the league's youngest teams and will likely be in rebuilding mode for the next season or two at least.

And it's quite obvious that this team needs a ton of work.

With the league's worst record at 1-9 coming into their Week 11 match up versus the Browns, opposing teams have been hot on the Panther's paw prints. Their rivals have smelt blood and ripped this fresh meat to shreds. The Panthers have been outscored 252-117 thus far, and are dead last in pass offense with just over 150 yards per game.

Other than leading tackler and pro-bowl linebacker Jon Beason and half backs DeAngelo Williams, who was placed on injured reserve due to a foot injury, and Jonathan Stewart, who has missed time with a concussion, they really don't have anybody worth speaking about. You'd think that wide out Steve Smith would be one of those guys, but he no longer steals the spot light. Not that he has lost a step, but with Carolina's quarterback carousel, that includes as many as four field generals this season, its difficult for one guy to establish a rhythm. This team hasn't had any rhythm since 2008, when they led the league in rushing and ended up 12-4.

In a non-surprising inconsistent NFC South division, Carolina has put collectively posted respectable records. Since 2005, they've mustered a 46-34 record in a constantly changing division where it seems that the team that finished last the previous year ends up in first the following year.

Talk about a pendulum swing.

But things for certain did not fall in the Panther's favor this season; loosing two franchise players, and not being able to replace them with incoming talent. Decimating injuries, and lack of authority at the quarterback position haven't helped their cause either. Adding to the annihilation are the three teams within the Panther's division. The Buccaneers, Falcons, and Saints, are all at 7-3 or better; New Orleans coming as no surprise, Atlanta coming in as the rising NFC beast, and Tampa Bay being the shocker.

Fresh meat for any other NFL team means fresh meat for the Browns dogs to feast on come Sunday. A season of lackluster offensive play, crippling injuries and one lonely victory took a much more peculiar twist when head coach John Fox picked the 30-year-old St. Pierre over rookie Tony Pike and Matt Moore to start at quarterback. But that has just been the Panther's season in a nut shell.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.