The Panthers are no strangers to offseason optimism.
Center Ryan Kalil took out a newspaper ad before the 2012 season proclaiming the Panthers as the Super Bowl XLVII champions in waiting, a boast that failed to come true as the Panthers finished 7-9 and the Lombardi Trophy went home with the Ravens. Linebacker Thomas Davis isn’t going the ink-stained route when it comes to his predictions for 2013 and he’s not making any promises about the Super Bowl, but he does see a bright future for the team’s defense.
“I think just given the pieces that we’ve added, getting guys back off of injury, we can definitely compete for that No. 1 spot in the league,” Davis said, via Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer.
Davis is particularly bullish about the team’s linebacking corps, which he thinks can be the best in Panthers history as well as the best in the NFL next season. A healthy return for Jon Beason to go with Davis and Luke Kuechly would certainly make for a strong unit, although linebackers alone won’t be enough to lift the Panthers from their middling rankings in 2012 to the top of the league.
They’ll need a one or two guys from their collection of third corners to step up into leading roles in the secondary, for starters, and the safety play also has to be better for the Panthers defense to make serious strides. If that doesn’t happen, teams will find too much success throwing the ball for the Panthers defense to wind up on the top of the heap.