Carolina ended the year with just nine touchdown passes all season, the fewest by any team since the 2007 Titans (nine). The 2010 Panthers ranked last in both scoring offense and total offense, they scored the fewest points in franchise history (196) and did not score more than two touchdowns in a game even once all season.
Matt Moore was the starting quarterback out of the gates, and he did so amid great hopes: he was downright impressive when starting the final five games of the 2009 season. But 2010 did not go very well. In fact, it was a disaster.
He quickly gave way to rookie Jimmy Clausen, he was an even bigger disaster: three touchdown passes in 10 starts and 13 appearances.
They started three different QBs, star WR Steve Smith was a shell of his former self, and a team built to run the ball (two former 1st round RBs and both OTs are former 1st round picks) couldn't.
Rookie head coach Ron Rivera enters the 2011 season with a great rep as a defensive coordinator in both Chicago and San Diego. He inherits some talent on defense. DE Charles Johnson emerged, and was 8th in the NFL in sacks.
Led by Pro Bowl linebacker Jon Beason, and safety Charles Godfrey, they were 12th in Defensive Passer Rating (80.96) and even fairly stout against the run (3.94 YPA). Carolina’s pass defenders kept the team more competitive in many games than perhaps it should have been.
In each of the past eight seasons, and in nine of the 10 seasons of this decade, one of the NFL's last-place teams has gone from worst to first....
Usually a surprise team comes from the NFC South, which has had one of its teams go from worst to first in six of the past eight years, including, when New Orleans finished first at 13-3 and won the Super Bowl one year after finishing last at 8-8.
The question is, who do we least want Carolina to draft with the #1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft?
Translation, who SHOULD they draft, in order to catch up to TB, NO, and the Falcons?