Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 11/30/12
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The Carolina Panthers are an underachieving team. They have regressed from a team that finished 6-10 last season , to a team that is currently 3-8 and does not look like they are going to equal last season's win total. The Panthers don't appear to  have made any improvement in any phases of the game. Quarterback Cam Newton  has not improved since coming off his Rookie Of The Year campaign of 2011. The Panthers have invested in their backfield by giving a little over $80 million dollars total in contract extensions to DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, and yet Cam Newton leads the team in rushing yards. Combined, Williams and Stewart have rushed for 628 yards which is only 182 yards more than the quarterback. There is something fundamentally wrong with that. The defense has not shown significant improvement either allowing 347.1 YPG and 24.1 PPG as compared to the 366.2 YPG and 26.8 PPG last year. All this falls on the head coach Ron Rivera.But there is a solution to this if Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is willing to cut bait with this coaching staff and break the bank to go in a new direction. The solution is sitting in the Monday Night Football booth. Carolina should fire Ron Rivera and hire Jon Gruden. This team is built for Gruden's system. When he was in Oakland he was able to maximize a backfield that had Napoleon Kaufman and Jon Ritchie. He made  quarterback Rich Gannon an MVP. Then he took that same scheme to Tampa Bay and won a Super Bowl with running backs Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott as backfield mates and a veteran QB in Brad Johnson.The offensive talent on the Carolina Panthers is better than on both those teams. Jon Gruden is the kind of coach that will get the respect instantly of the locker room. Cam Newton will feel rejuvenated and play disciplined for coach Gruden. The running game will be utilized correctly and as a result it will not look like a wasted investment was made in Williams and Stewart. Also, coach Gruden would bring with him a coaching staff that would maximize and motivate the defensive talent which will improve that side of the ball. This really is a no-brainer!!! Jon Gruden can get the job done with the personnel in Carolina right now. Jerry Richardson would just have to loosen up the purse strings to make this happen. If he did this, the Carolina Panthers' fan base would be re-energized and new excitement would be brought to the Charlotte area. Jerry Richardson needs to get this done.  He would not be sorry!
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