What went right, what went wrong in 2011

Reviewing what went right and what went wrong during the 2011 NFL season for the Carolina Panthers

WHAT WENT RIGHT: The Panthers finally found a quarterback.

Carolina has never really had a true difference-maker at quarterback and now, after 17 years, it finally has one in Cam Newton.

Newton had a remarkable rookie season for the Panthers, eclipsing Peyton Manning's rookie record for passing yards in a season and also running for more touchdowns than any quarterback had in a single season in NFL history.

If there were any doubts about Newton as a player -- and there certainly were after the team drafted him first overall -- there aren't any more.

Newton has given the Panthers a different dynamic with a big, strong quarterback who can run and pass. He's a very difficult player to defend and is going to cause fits for opposing defensive coordinators for years to come.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Injuries may or may not have been the reason the Panthers went 6-10, but it's hard to argue that losing 17 players to injured reserve certainly had an impact on the team.

It's hard to replace guys like Jon Beason and Thomas Davis on defense and Jeff Otah and Geoff Schwartz on offense.

The positive is that many players who didn't have experience got a lot of playing time, and that should help moving forward.

Carolina's other problem was an inability to finish games. The Panthers led in 14 games this season, but they struggled to seal the deal.

The Panthers lost six games in which they either led or were tied in the fourth quarter. That's obviously a big difference between a playoff team and a team that sits at home.

The Panthers also have to find some answers in the secondary. The team could use an upgrade at the cornerback spot opposite Chris Gamble. Captain Munnerlyn is a good nickel back, but putting him in every-down situations is tough.

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