Panthers Severely Lacking In Playoff Experience As They Prepare For Niners

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CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 22: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

(Credit, Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

By Danny Cox

The Carolina Panthers are about to make their fifth career playoff appearance when they take on the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round. One has to remember that the Panthers only came into existence in 1996 and made it to the NFC Championship Game the very next year.

But with not many years in existence and even less in the playoffs, the Panthers don’t have a lot of playoff experience on their roster.

As a matter of fact, Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula realized on Monday that he has a mere 12 players on his offense that have been in a playoff game.

Yes, just 12.

Tight end Ben Hartsock has nine playoff games under his belt. Offensive tackle Jordan Gross and wide receiver come in second with eight playoff games a piece. From there, it just is a minimal amount across the board or none at all.

Defensively, the Panthers have two players that have appeared in double digit playoff games: linebacker Chase Blackburn (10) and safety Quintin Mikell (12). In reality, there are even less players on defense (9) that have playoff experience than on offense.

Putting things into perspective a bit more, 21 of the 53 players on the Panthers roster have playoff experience. Twenty of the 22 San Francisco starters were in the Super Bowl last year and 21 of them have playoff experience. Only rookie safety Eric Reid hadn’t been in a playoff game until this year, and that’s for obvious reasons.

Some people may say that playoff experience doesn’t matter, but honestly, it kind of does.

It’s just common sense for a player to get nervous on a big stage and feel the real pressure of a playoff game as it comes down on his shoulders.

The Panthers don’t have a lot of playoff experience, and that includes quarterback Cam Newton, who will be making his postseason debut. After last week’s game, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been a player in four playoff games, including one Super Bowl that he lost by a mere three points.

Panthers fans can look at Kaepernick and know that success is possible in the playoffs, even if you don’t have experience.

The Carolina players probably couldn’t care at all that they have hardly any playoff experience. If they do care, they won’t show it to the 49ers, or anyone for that matter. They’re going to walk out on that field like they are supposed to be there and they’re going to play like they know they can.

The only playoff experience they need is every single minute that they get while on the field against the 49ers. The past doesn’t matter and they can only concentrate on the present to get to the future.

For more news and updates about the NFL Playoffs, visit NFL Playoffs Central.

Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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