Panthers at a critical stage early in the season

Panthers at a critical stage early in the season

Credit: Getty Images

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 20: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers drops back to pass against the New York Giants during play at Bank of America Stadium on September 20, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Giants won 36-7. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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by Associated Press

WCNC.com

Posted on September 24, 2012 at 5:45 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 24 at 5:47 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The struggling Panthers find themselves at a crossroads less than a month into the NFL season. 

Their five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver already blasted their young quarterback on the sideline, their coach says the team needs to find an identity, and their schedule isn't getting any easier following a 36-7 loss to the New York Giants last Thursday night. 

At 1-2, Carolina runs the risk of falling three games behind the NFC South leading Falcons (3-0) if it doesn't get things straightened away before Sunday's game against Matt Ryan and company in Atlanta. 

Despite an abundance of concerns, coach Ron Rivera says it's not time to panic. He says he's not planning any changes to the starting lineup and vows the Panthers will get back on track.
 

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