Originally written December 11, 2012 on Football Nation:
At 4-9, the Carolina Panthers’ season looks far different now than most fans would have imagined in August.  Coming off a 2011 season that was full of improvement and optimism, the sky was the limit for the Panthers.  Cam Newton, a rookie quarterback, was the team’s most valuable player, and he proved to be the centerpiece of the organization moving forward.  The Panthers went from a 2-14 team in 2010 to a 6-10 team in 2011.  Many supporters believed the 2012 season could bring 9, 10, or even 11 wins.   Center Ryan Kalil went so far as to write a letter to fans in the Charlotte Observer guaranteeing that Carolina would be playing in the Super Bowl. The reality is, at 4-9, the Carolina Panthers are struggling.  An important fact to recognize is that this team would be far worse without Cam Newton at quarterback.  He has fulfilled his role of stabilizing the passing game for the Panthers.  He has excelled, and he has improved.The most critical gauge for a player’s continuing success i...
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