Adam Schefter answers reader questions in his mailbag on Wednesdays during the NFL season. Got a query of your own? Submit it here.
Q: What do you think is the backbone of the Carolina Panthers' problems? People give Cam Newton more flak than I think he deserves, but what do you think? Also, what do you think they could do to prepare for next season?
-- Thomas (Georgia)
A: Good question, Thomas. For starters, the Panthers have lacked an offensive identity. They got a bit cute during the start of this season and never really established the type of offense or team they wanted to be. Then they lost their starting center, Ryan Kalil, who might be the best center in football. Once they lost Kalil, they kept losing games and confidence. It all has worked together against Carolina to make this a tough season for the Panthers and their fans. They do have some building blocks, but there is still plenty of work to be done. They need to improve their offensive line, draft some more offensive and defensive playmakers and make sure that they get Newton to perform like he did during his rookie season, not this season.
Q: The Miami Dolphins are a team I can't figure out. Do you think they have a chance at the playoffs? Or is the most important thing from this season that Ryan Tannehill looks like a franchise quarterback?
-- Sara (Ohio)
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