It’s popular to predict that the Panthers will have a leadership deficiency in 2014 given the retirement of tackle Jordan Gross and the release of receiver Steve Smith.
As explained by Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer, the Panthers hope the void will be filled by quarterback Cam Newton, tight end Greg Olsen, and center Ryan Kalil.
Olsen says he doesn’t plan to do anything differently this year.
“Then it’s fake,” Olsen (pictured) said, via Person. “I think you have to go about how you always prepared, practiced and played. The way you show everybody how you carry yourself, both here and away from the building. You should be the same guy, regardless of what people want to say. That’s just not how I operate.”
Newton has established himself as a leader in recent years, specifically by being present throughout offseason workouts even though he was injured.
“He’s done a great job. He’s been around. He’s active. He’s involved,” G.M. Dave Gettleman said of Newton. “He’s done everything that he’s been asked to do and more. We’re very pleased with him. . . . [Former Giants G.M.] Ernie Accorsi taught me, the guys that play can lead. You’ve got to be between the white lines. Those are the leaders.”
If the Panthers hope to try to match their unexpected achievements of 2013, they’ll need guys who can play and lead — especially without Gross and Smith around.