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Here are five agenda items – in addition to contract talks with quarterback Cam Newton and resolution with defensive end Greg Hardy – that face the Panthers in the offseason.

Carolina Panthers kicker Graham Gano had made 25 consecutive field goals at Bank of America Stadium before that fateful game against the Atlanta Falcons in November when he missed two in the final two minutes with the game on the line.

While the Panthers thawed out during the two-hour flight home following a 31-13 loss at Minnesota, hopefully they realized they can stop with all this playoff talk.

Considering how awful the Carolina Panthers have been after a week off under coach Ron Rivera, the fourth-year coach might want to lobby the league to do away with bye weeks altogether.

When they get back from their bye-week break, the Carolina Panthers will spend the next five weeks trying to straddle evaluating for the future and winning now in a division that has featured little of it.

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera vowed to play and coach with a sense of urgency, but with a chance to put the Falcons away late, he wavered.

Carolina Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson had one of his best games of the season Sunday, after missing practice to be with his ailing grandmother.

The Carolina Panthers are, because of the historically bad NFC South, still in the playoff chase. That’s a reason for hope. But there are also reasons for despair.

If Carolina wants to go to the postseason in back-to-back years for the first time in its 20-year history, here’s a five-point plan for the Panthers to follow.

Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman’s offseason gambles – at defensive back, wide receiver, offensive tackle and with Greg Hardy – are central to the team’s tenuous midseason situation.

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Joseph Person
Joseph Person covers the Carolina Panthers and the NFL for the Charlotte Observer. You can reach him by email.