CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Did you know the Carolina Panthers, winless in their last seven games, haven’t gone eight straight games without a win since 2002? Did you know Carolina’s six-game losing streak is the longest since 2010 when it lost seven straight?
Did you know the Panthers (3-8-1) are one of two teams -- Oakland is the other -- that hasn’t recorded a snap from an offensive lineman drafted in the first round?
Did you know Carolina has allowed opponents to score a touchdown 68.4 percent of the time (worst in the NFL) in the red zone, way up from a No. 3 ranking of 41.5 last season?
ESPN Stats & Information has these numbers and more as Carolina prepares for Sunday’s game at New Orleans.
For questions they can’t answer on the Panthers, I’ll try. Let’s get my Saturday mailbag:
@DNewtonESPN: Turning to Derek Anderson now would signal the Panthers have given up on Cam Newton as their long-term future, and they haven't. The Panthers still believe Newton gives them the best chance to win long-term, and the only way to get him out of this slump is to play through it. Anderson would be a sitting duck in the pocket with the way the offensive line has played since injuries began shuffling the lineup on a weekly basis. If the protection was there and Newton was throwing poorly, then yes, I'd like to see Anderson get a shot. It's not. Anderson also isn't the long-term answer, so to put him in there would accomplish little.
@DNewtonESPN: I imagine the same way he fixed it when he inherited a 7-9 team and helped the Panthers go 12-4 and make the playoffs last season. Did Carolina's general manager made some mistakes during the offseason? In hindsight, yes. The biggest, in my opinion, was not spending money on the offensive line. Overhauling the wide receiving corps got a lot of attention, but that group has performed well for the most part. It's the lack of production from Newton, which in large part is connected to the woes of the line, that has hurt this team the most. The defense, I believe, will rebound. There's no way Gettleman could have predicted defensive end Greg Hardy would face domestic violence charges and everything that has followed when he placed the franchise tag on him. Look, the entire NFC South has been a shambles. New Orleans was supposed to be a Super Bowl contender and is only 5-7. I'd write it off as one of those years.
@DNewtonESPN: There's no denying Byron Bell hasn't been a success at left tackle. That has to be fixed. I don't see Bell getting a big deal to remain in that position, but I could see the Panthers bringing him back as the right tackle for a lower amount. As often as the coaching staff and Bell talked about him being left-handed and better suited for the left side, he played better on the right side the past few years. Nate Chandler didn't play well on the right side before going on injured reserve, so that could open that spot again.
@DNewtonESPN: First, we don't know where the Panthers are drafting. If they get a top-10 pick they'll most certainly use that to get a top flight offensive tackle, defensive back or maybe even another defensive lineman. Quality will be more important than quantity.
@DNewtonESPN: So you're saying it's that easy to get the ball to Greg Olsen? If it was, they would have been padding his stats all season. He's Carolina's most consistent receiver, but because the line has struggled he's been used for protection more lately. If you're suggesting the Panthers might try to build up his numbers over the next week or so to get him into the Pro Bowl for the first time, again, if it were that easy they already would have done it. Still, Olsen deserves a trip to the Pro Bowl. He's one of the few bright spots on offense.