Yes, today I am going to be Mr. Negative Nancy. Actually, I probably won't be, but we'll see.
A few days ago, one of our fine readers (whose name evades me, as usual) linked an NFL.com article predicting what our record would be this season. Three of the four experts had us finishing 9-7, which would be a pretty big disappointment considering how much success we've had since 2008.
I'm pretty sure they also had divisional placements, and I know at least one of them had us finishing 3rd in the division, which isn't happening. No matter how big and bright your Panthers colored glasses are, there is nothing you could show me and/or tell me that would convince me or any other reasonable analyst that suggests the Panthers are going to be better. The only thing that people are buying into is the absurdly overblown hype about Cam Newton.
In any case, before this derails into a Panthers vs. Falcons discussion, I was thinking about that article and it occurred to me that yes, 9-7 is a very real possibility, but not for reasons you might expect. We did bring in two brand new coordinators this offseason and transitions aren't always the smoothest in year one. Do I expect that? Absolutely not. I think the sky is the limit for this season, even if we have new coordinators.
However, if things start to go south, let's just remember that new coordinators aren't always a step forward initially. I have no doubt that both Nolan and Koetter will be improvements to the coordinator positions (I think they are already, but I do know that not everyone is convinced) and the most noticeable improvement may not come this year. It may come next season when the players are all completely comfortable in the new systems. Naturally, I expect better from this group, but stranger things have happened.