How different is the Panthers’ offense with Bridgewater and Anderson?

The Carolina Panthers have brought on two new offensive weapons recently in Teddy Bridgewater and Robby Anderson. But how do these moves change the overall offense?

Things are starting to look a little different around Charlotte, North Carolina. So far this offseason, and ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers have brought on a new head coach with Matt Rhule, signed quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, and most recently added wide receiver Robby Anderson to the roster.

After some of Carolina’s struggles last year, many Panthers fans are hopeful that these changes will bring an offensive upgrade to the franchise. But just how different is the Panthers offense with Bridgewater and Anderson on board?

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What impact will Bridgewater and Anderson have in Carolina? 

The Panthers, for the first time since 2010, received a glimpse of what their offense without longtime starting quarterback Cam Newton would look like last season. After just two weeks into the 2019 regular season, Newton found himself on the injured reserved list with a season-ending foot injury. His position under center was filled by Kyle Allen for the remainder of the year. 

Allen came out of the gate strong for the Panthers in Week 3 with an OSM grade of 35.16 — his best gameday performance of the year. But that offensive spark quickly faded. He only had one other game all season with a 30.00+ OSM grade (a grade north of 30 is considered Very Good on the grading scale). His overall OSM grade for the season, which is used to calculate a player’s sole, individual on-field performance, just crept into the Good range with a 21.42 and ended the year as QB23 in the NFL.

Unfortunately, if you were hoping for an upgrade on paper with Bridgewater as the quarterback, his 2019 OSM numbers lag behind Allen. Similar to Allen last season, Bridgewater got his opportunity to take the reins of the offense early in the season with an injury to his starting quarterback, Drew Brees. Even though Bridgewater commandeered the Saints across a five-game span without a single loss before Brees’ return, more of the success can be attributed to the other moving parts of New Orleans’ well-oiled offensive machine.

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Bridgewater ended the regular season with an Average overall OSM grade of 18.92 as a starting quarterback at QB34 in the NFL. His best game of the year came in Week 5 with an OSM of 31.99 — his only game of 30+. This isn’t to say that Teddy is not an effective quarterback, but this is to show that he isn’t necessarily going to be the one to put the team on his back.

Where do Teddy Bridgewater and Robby Anderson excel?

Where Bridgewater excels, however, is being able to recognize his offensive talents and who he needs at exactly the right moment. Enter wide receiver Robby Anderson. Anderson, who was recently signed from the New York Jets, can help the Panthers fill that WR2 spot that has been distant in recent seasons.

Anderson is a solid Good wide receiver. His overall OSM grade for the 2019 regular season was 27.39. He recorded seven gameday OSM grades in that Very Good 30.00+ range that top NFL receivers will routinely finish in. Overall, he does a good job of making a play when the ball is in his hands and he can be considered a reliable receiver for his quarterback.

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The Panthers offense is headed in the right direction

For the Panthers receiving group as a whole, both Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore are still the more productive receivers individually. But remember, what Bridgewater did exceptionally well in New Orleans is recognizing the defense and utilizing his receivers lined up beside him. While Anderson won’t be the best receiver on the field for the Panthers, the pieces are falling in place for head coach Matt Rhule’s offensive scheme catered specifically to the skillset of his new starting quarterback.

Carolina’s front office still has some work to do but things are definitely headed in the right direction. The organization seems to have recognized the weak spots in the roster and are making the right moves that Panthers’ fans can get excited about after last season. Individually, neither Bridgewater nor Anderson standout on any stat sheets or OSM charts. However, what they both do well is adapt to their offense and can be reliable in a pinch.

We will get a more holistic picture of what Rhule wants his offense to look like in just a few short weeks post the 2020 NFL Draft. The Panthers would like to get the disappointing taste of last season out of their mouths and get back to the contender status in the NFC South — which is quickly gaining a reputation as the toughest division in the NFL. Hopefully, these recent roster moves are just the beginning for the future of the Carolina Panthers.

Thoughts on this feature? Something you would like to see during the offseason? Follow us on Twitter or join in on the conversation on Facebook. You can also check out my other articles from this season here.

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