New faces on defense:
- Defensive Coordinator: Chuck Pagano replaced Vic Fangio
- Safety: Ha-Ha Clinton Dix replaced Adrian Amos
- The defense is returning 10 out of 11 starters still featured in their 3-4 philosophy.
New coach, same scheme. The Carolina Panthers have seen plenty looks of this defense in practice. Seeing it executed from different players will be a great challenge for the Norv Turner designed Panthers offense. The Bears featured the league’s number one defense in 2018, so we should have a series or two to get a proper gauge as to where the Panthers are offensively.
Key Players on defense: Although edge rusher Khalil Mack is the best player on defense, the emotional leader is veteran inside linebacker Danny Trevathan. He heads an impressive inside linebacker core with 2018 1st round draft pick Roquan Smith playing alongside him. Featured behind them are a plethora of playmaking studs: Two first team All Pros and 1 second team All Pro defensive backs, safety Eddie Jackson (1st team), corner Kyle Fuller (1st team), and safety Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix (2nd team).
Other key contributors are productive veterans in defensive tackle Akeem Hicks (1 Pro Bowl), defensive tackle Bilal Nichols, edge rusher Leonard Floyd and corner Prince Amukamara.
The Return of The Monsters of the Midway: This unit has established playmakers on all three levels and continuity with 10 starters returning. It’s very easy to see why this was the league’s top unit last season.
New coordinator Chuck Pagano put an emphasis on forcing turnovers and its been said that the unit has 10+ interceptions and an astronomical amount of fumbles forced in camp thus far. This will be the biggest test for the Panthers offense not just this pre-season, but possibly all year. For the Panthers to have success this season offensively, this is a great way to start the test.