CHARLOTTE – David Tepper's first season as Carolina's owner was "a whirlwind," a roller coaster ride that was "kind of like a child, in a sense."
And like all parents, Tepper saw his "child" go through some growing pains. A season that began with a 6-2 start petered out with a 1-7 finish.
So what happened?
Quarterback Cam Newton's sore shoulder, for one.
"There's no secrets there. Cam's shoulder was obviously an issue the second half of the season," Tepper told Bill Voth of Panthers.com in Tepper's first comments about the 2018 season.
"I think it was pretty well known that he wasn't throwing in practices. That was probably a problem. That threw off his rhythm. And at the end of the season, we couldn't throw the ball downfield – which was a big problem."
Football is a team game, though, and the defense had to work through its own troubles.
"There were some issues with the defense and how they were communicating on the field," Tepper said.
"Now there were some changes made. After those changes were made, I think you did see a difference in how the defense reacted and how the defense played. I think the New Orleans game (in Week 15) was one of the best defensive coaching performances of the year."
To hear more from Tepper about Newton's shoulder, head coach Ron Rivera and general manager Marty Hurney, and the upcoming free agency period, watch the video below: