Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers' starting offense mustered just two field goals on five possessions in Thursday night's 14-9 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. That inefficiency is apparently not good enough for coach Ron Rivera, according to the Charlotte Observer.
With the Eagles' new, fast-paced offense clicking on Thursday, Rivera said that turning field goals into touchdowns was even more important.
"We kicked two field goals, but I want touchdowns," Rivera said. "When you play a fast-strike offense and you play a team that can get the ball into the end zone in a hurry, you have to score touchdowns. Field goals are not enough. And that's the disappointment."
Rivera insists that the offense's disappointing finishes to drives aren't squarely on Newton's shoulders. Because even though the first-team offense has only punched the ball into the end zone once in the Panthers' two preseason games, Newton hasn't done anything to make the team's confidence in him waver.
So what gives? The Panthers' offense has the talent, and Newton, entering his third season as a pro, should be ready to help this offense take off. But the eight series in question are a small sample size, and the play calling has been noticeably conservative. Are the Panthers hiding something, hoping to catch teams by surprise in the regular season? Or is the bland play calling a sign of things to come in the regular season?