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Need a one-stop shop to catch up on the top sports stories big and small? Time Out For Sports airs Mondays on WFAE's "All Things Considered" and has what you need to know about everything from Charlotte-area high school football highlights to the latest updates on the Carolina Panthers.

Panthers should focus on offense instead of QB in NFL draft, Charlotte sportswriter says

Sunday brought yet another weekend of bad news for Panthers fans. Carolina lost to the Saints in New Orleans, 10-18, their sixth loss in a row. The Panthers are now 5-11 and their offense only had 178 yards in the game. And the loss came a week after Carolina was officially eliminated from playoff contention. 

Many fans are now looking toward the next season — and what Carolina might do when it’s draft time. 

“I think drafting a quarterback would be great, but I think fixing the offensive line is paramount, particularly for a team that’s only drafted two offensive linemen in the first round in about a decade,” The Charlotte Observer’s Langston Wertz Jr. told WFAE’s Gwendolyn Glenn on this week’s installment of Time Out for Sports. “Gwen, it shows. Our offensive line is really, really bad.”

We also took a trip down memory lane this week to talk about some of the year’s biggest sports stories. In Charlotte, there was perhaps no bigger moment than Cam Newton returning to the Carolina Panthers as quarterback once again, after an injury took new quarterback Sam Darnold out for most of the rest of the season.

Fans hoped Newton would help turn the struggling Panthers around. That didn’t happen. 

"I think Cam had a tough road coming in mid-season,” Wertz said. “He was kind of billed as a savior coming back, and I just never thought that was going to happen. The offensive line is just not good. But given the lack of quality quarterbacks in this draft and the Panthers’ needs of offensive line, they’ve gotta go offensive line. I’d like to see them bring Cam and Darnold back next year and maybe try to get a free agent in.  

“But I think with a full off-season —I’ve said it all year — I think Cam could be the answer the Panthers are looking for. At least in the short term.”

You can listen to the full Time Out for Sports conversation above. Here’s a quick look at some other things Glenn and Wertz covered this week. 

  • They take a look at more of the biggest sports stories of 2021, including COVID’s impact on games and the introduction of name, image and likeness deals to college and high school athletes. 
  • Clemson won the Cheez-It Bowl against Iowa State. 
  • N.C. State fans were left high and dry after the Holiday Bowl was canceled due to COVID concerns, denying the Wolfpack a chance to play. 
  • The Carolina Hurricanes got a 7-4 win Saturday over the Columbus Blue Jackets — just the second time in franchise history the team has come back from a four-goal deficit to win. 
  • North Carolina high school basketball teams are getting ready for playoffs. 

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