CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It has been far too long since the Carolina Panthers have started a meme.
So thank you, Cam Newton. We are taking your suggestion about a suggestion box, and, at the suggestion of our management, are aggregating said suggestions into a story. This, by the way, is one of the ways we TV news folks took the temperature of our citizenry before, you know, Facebook.
"I’m going to leave this room and I’m going to bring in a suggestion box," Newton told reporters after Sunday's 19-14 loss to Dallas. "I want your suggestions to be in that suggestion box because I sure don’t know."
Newton, the quarterback, did not leave the room and bring in a suggestion box. So we pulled one down from the wall in here at the station, took it uptown around lunchtime, slapped Newton's picture on the top and a Panthers logo on the side. We put out some note cards and pens.
We waited for the suggestions.
We got nineteen.
Some canceled each other out. One said Cam should throw less and run more. Another said he should make better throws.
One person said the Panthers should let "Cam be Cam, and get some real athletes." That came from Ray, who signed his name with a flourish.
A few asked for the defense to improve. One said Newton needed more protection from his offensive line. One guy said the Panthers need to stop running the read option. He underlined this point twice for emphasis.
"Get a winning attitude," wrote Steve Gromner. I asked him how you get one.
"By winning," he said. I asked how you get a winning attitude by winning when you're not winning.
"I think that's one of the things that the coaches have to do," he said.
One guy wanted cheap tickets.
Another guy suggested the Panthers let the cheerleaders play. He was so proud of his suggestion that he told me so and laughed as he walked away.
Somebody put a blank card in.
Three people suggested the Panthers should do a better job playing together as a team. Lea Register was one of them. I asked her how to do that. She paused.
"See, you're talking to an old granny who doesn't know squat about football," she said. "My son, he makes me watch that stuff."
We admire your honesty, Lea.
The Panthers, at 1-5, have problems. But asking for suggestions on how to fix those problems doesn't lead us any closer to a solution. Slips of paper in a box only make things muddier. Only one card offered any clarity. It was a one word, three letter suggestion.