Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 9/13/12

I was listening to the Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco show on ESPN Radio Tuesday as the two hosts were rehashing the first week of NFL action. At the time I tuned in, they were discussing which teams they view differently based on their performance in Week 1. 

Naturally, the Carolina Panthers came up.

After considering them a contender for an NFC playoff spot prior to the season, Ruocco changed his optimistic outlook on the Panthers’ season based on their dreadful offensive performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

And rightly so.

But this certainly begs the question: Was the Panthers abysmal offensive performance against the Bucs something fans should be worried about, or simply an aberration?

I find it hard to believe that the Panthers could suddenly revert back to the Jimmy Clausen days after being one of the league’s most explosive teams behind Cam Newton last season.

However, things won’t come as easy as they did last year, either. Opposing NFL teams have a year of film on Rob Chudzinksi’s offense, and will prepare accordingly. If the Panthers are going to hold the distinction as one the league's top offenses, the coaching staff will have to make adjustments – something they didn’t do against Tampa Bay.

That’s why last Sunday’s loss rests squarely on the shoulders of Ron Rivera and his staff. The talent difference between Carolina and Tampa Bay is negligible. If anything, the Panthers have the more talented roster.

When your team is not ready to play, fails to make in-game adjustments and gets completely dominated like the Panthers did, that’s on the coaches. No disrespect to the Bucs, but the Panthers are a much better team than the one we saw in Week 1.

I expect Rivera and Chudzinski to get the offense back on track against the Saints this Sunday. If Robert Griffin III and the Redskins can put up 40 points on the New Orleans defense, there’s no reason Cam Newton and the Carolina offense can’t either.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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