The 2020 NFL Season is finally here! Beyond all of the trying times of COVID-19 and the never ending battle against Social Injustice in America, the Carolina Panthers return to football has come back with perfect timing. We have a lot of different things to break down and cover so let’s jump right into it.
Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper held a virtual press conference today with the local Charlotte sports media. He spoke on a variety of different topics and answered several questions. Here is a recap of what he said:
- There has been significant improvement with diversity throughout the franchise on both the management level and the work force.
- Construction has begun at the site of the new team headquarters in Rock Hill SC which will be ready in the next three years.
- Has not ruled out returning back to Wofford College in Spartanburg SC as an interim training camp but did not commit either.
- Having a new open-air stadium has more appeal now than it did a year ago.
- There has not been any recent conversation with the owners of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry who are relocating which could be the new stadium site.
- Hopes that fans will be allowed at Bank of America Stadium later on during the season because he loves to interact with the crowds before each game.
- Is still bothered by the hard decision to furlough/layoff several stadium employees due to changes in the organization and the pandemic effects on the economy.
- Richardson statue was taken down for safety reasons and will not return to Bank of America Stadium.
- The decision to release QB Cam Newton was very difficult for him. His wife Nicole was crying alot about it as well.
- Has not had time to think about GM Marty Hurney contract expiring in June 2021 but will look into it later on.
This is the second part of my mock draft that includes scenarios where I was offered more picks by trading back. In the 1st round the Las Vegas Raiders offered me their #12 and #19 overall picks for my #7 overall. Later on in the 4th round the Raiders offered me their 4th round pick (118th overall) and their 5th round pick (159th overall). So this mock will show the nine players I chose based on who was left available.
Round 1(12th overall): Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
At 6-7 and 369 lbs Mekhi Becton is a massive yet highly athletic football player who possesses devastating power that simply overwhelms his opposing defender. His combination of very long arms, excellent body control, quick agile footwork and hand to eye coordination is vastly superior to any other OTs in this current draft class. Now he did have some issues controlling his weight early on in college if there is to have any concerns.
College Stats: 8 QB pressures 0 sacks during the 2019 season. Played in 36 games during three seasons from 2017 to 2019.
How would he help the team? Mekhi Beckton would be the first true franchise left tackle since Panthers Hall of Honor member Jordan Gross retired in 2013. He would allow the QB to feel comfortable on every pass and allow the RB to feel excited on every run.
Round 1(19th overall): CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
At 6-2 and 189 lbs CeeDee Lamb is one of the most natural receivers in terms of hands, ball skills and tracking. He has the elite ability to track the football in the air and adjust. I also like that he is very sudden in and out of breaks and is capable of creating separation with fluidity and burst. Plus he can showcase a variety of techniques to beat press coverage including angles, footwork and hand usage. My only concern is that he did not face many talented CBs in the Big 12 will have to adjust to the more physical style of the NFL.
College Stats: 173 catches 3292 receiving yards 32 TD catches 19.0 yards per catch 54 punt returns 475 return yards 8.8 yards per return in 40 games played during three seasons from 2017 to 2019.
How would he help the team? Lamb is a threat at all levels of the field with the elite body control, ball skills, hands and instincts. He has the upside to develop into one of the premiere offensive weapons in the NFL. He would also be a huge threat in the return game as well.
Round 2(38th overall): Neville Gallimore, DL, Oklahoma
At 6-2 and 304 lbs Neville Gallimore is a disruptive DT in a 40 front defense. His explosive get off and violent hands allows him to attack his blocker before they can properly react. He consistently shows initial quickness, power, hand counters and a high motor. Also will provide plenty of disruption up front when looking to collapse the pocket and get to opposing QBs. He is versatile enough to play both the 1 tech and the 3 tech DT positions. He does need to improve getting off blocks quicker against run plays.
College Stats: 147 tackles 17 tackles for loss 8.5 sacks 5 forced fumbles in 46 games played during four seasons from 2016 to 2019.
How would he help the team? Gallimore would provide an immediate threat as a pass rusher up the middle of both A gaps from Day 1.
Round 3(69th overall): Leki Fotu, DL, Utah
At 6-5 and 337 lbs Leki Fotu has excellent explosiveness for a player of his size along with very good agile footwork. Excellent first step allows for quick penetration and gap control. He is the ideal nose tackle as his power allows him to absorb double team blocks and still collapse the pocket. Does a consistent job of getting off blocks and run plays down despite his size. He does need to improve on having better leverage on a regular basis.
College Stats: 82 tackles 17 tackles for loss 4 sacks 3 forced fumbles in 30 games played during four seasons from 2016 to 2019.
How would he help the team? Fotu would be that 30 front NT that will occupy blockers to keep the LBs free to make plays while also disrupting blocking schemes on run plays.
Round 4(118th overall): Jordan Fuller, S, Ohio State
At 6-2 and 205 lbs Jordan Fuller is a terrific natural athlete who has dynamic range to cover the entire field. His ability to read the eyes of the opposing QB is above average. He effectively makes plays against the run and the pass. He can play the single high (Cover 1), man to man coverage in the slot and a very effective blitzer. He needs to improve his tackling techniques and tackling angles.
College Stats: 216 tackles 5 INTs 10 pass deflections 5 tackles for loss 3 recovered fumbles in 45 games played during four seasons from 2016 to 2019.
How would he help the team? Fuller would fit the ideal mold of a traditional free safety who roams the back end of the defense. He can also match up well against TEs and RBs in the slot as well.
Round 5(152nd overall): K’Von Wallace, S, Clemson
At 5-11 and 199 lbs K’Von Wallace is a very athletic and high IQ player that can both safety spots and nickel CB. His super acceleration allows him to have great pursuit of the ball. His is able to get his hands on alot of balls. He was used all over the secondary in different positions on any given play. He can also play all four units on special teams at a high level.
College Stats: 156 tackles 5 INTs 15 pass deflections 5.5 tackles for loss 2 sacks 2 forced fumbles in 45 games played during four seasons from 2016 to 2019.
How would he help the team? Wallace would be a versatile swiss army knife type of playmaker all over the secondary.
Round 5(159th overall): Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Miami (FL)
At 6-1 and 241 lbs Shaquille Quarterman is a super athletic player with a non stop motor and a high football IQ. He played the MLB position with intensity and production. The ability to quickly diagnose plays and attack is fun to watch. He also is a highly effective when asked to blitz. He can improve on not over running plays and getting of blocks quicker.
College Stats: 356 tackles 46.5 tackles for loss 12 sacks 13 pass deflections 2 forced fumbles 5 recovered fumbles 1 INT in 52 games played during four seasons from 2016 to 2019.
How would he help the team? Quarterman would be a prime candidate to play as the starting middle linebacker.
Round 6(184th overall): Harrison Hand, CB, Temple
At 6-0 and 192 lbs Harrison Hand shows the ability to be effective as both a man to man CB and as a zone CB. He has high football awareness and is rarely out of place to make a play on the ball. His long arms and his long strides allow him to cover deep yet recover quick as well. He has very flexible hips which allows him to convert speed to power and lay some big huge hits on the ball carrier. He can improve on refine his techniques when it comes to tighter coverage.
College Stats: 114 tackles 4 INTs 16 pass deflections 5.5 tackles for loss 1 forced fumble in 31 games played during three seasons from 2017 to 2019.
How would he help the team? Hand is a versatile aggressive CB that could also move over to safety in certain packages. He also played for Coach Rhule in 2017 and 2018 at Baylor University before transferring to Temple in 2019.
Round 7(221st overall): Adrian MaGee, OG, LSU
At 6-5 and 335 lbs Adrian MaGee is a very powerful run blocker with a nasty attitude. He blocks hard until the whistle blows. He has long arms that really allows him to lock up the defender in front of him. When pass blocking he does not give ground often. He has good vision to adjust his blocks to where his ball carrier is going. Is versatile enough to play every OL position except C. He does need to improve his foot speed and his flexibility.
College Stats: Was a Top 5 graded run blocker in the SEC each year that he played.
How would he help the team? MaGee would add power run blocking and attitude intensity at the LG spot.
I decided to do my mock draft a little different. Part 1 is without the any trades being done with the original seven draft picks. Here are the players I chose and the logic behind each one.
Round 1 (7th overall): Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
At 6-1 and 192 lbs Jerry Jeudy has all of the tools that it takes to become a #1 WR in the NFL. He is easily the best pure route runner in this draft class. He can also get amazing separation with consistency. He is a natural hands catcher with great hand/eye coordination who can run the NFL advanced tree route with ease. He has the ability to play both outside and in the slot to show off his high YAC(yards after catch).
College Stats: 159 catches 2742 receiving yards 26 TDs 17.2 yards per catch in 36 games played during three seasons from 2017 to 2019.
How would he help the team? The depth chart for the wide receivers is thin as can be after DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel. Adding Jeudy would make our passing game extremely explosive and versatile under first year offensive coordinator Joe Brady. Opposing secondaries would be under extreme pressure trying to cover consistently. Whether short, intermediate or deep pass plays he would be able to thrive and cause havoc.
Round 2 (38th overall): Ross Blacklock, DL, TCU
At 6-4 and 305 lbs Ross Blacklock is a tremendous high impact player that can line and cause havoc in both 30 fronts and 40 fronts along the line of scrimmage. He has above average power and athletic abilities to compliment his size and his non-stop motor. He plays with excellent leverage and violent hands which allows him to make a wide array of moves and counter moves to beat his blocker. When double teamed he does not give ground and is able to split a fair amount of them. Several NFL pro scouts says his game is alot like DT Gerald McCoy.
College stats: 67 tackles 15.5 tackles for loss 5.5 sacks in 24 games played during two seasons from 2017 to 2019. Missed the entire 2018 season with Achilles injury.
How would he help the team? With Kawann Short being the only returning DT under contract this position group needs a huge upgrade of talent. TCU played mostly 3-4 defensive philosophy but also used some 4-3 alignments as well. This fits right into the hybrid defensive schemes that defensive coordinator Phil Snow will be using. Blacklock can play a true nose tackle (0 tech) or defensive end (5 tech) in a 30 front. He can play both DT spots (1 tech, 3 tech) in a 40 front. This position flexibility would allow the ultimate game planning by the coaching staff to create turmoil and disruption to opposing blocking schemes.
Round 3 (69th overall): Solomon Kindley, OG, Georgia
At 6-4 and 336 lbs Solomon Kindley is your prime example of a massive run blocking machine. He plays with powerful violent hands that stalls defenders on the initial contact. His leverage is ideal and consistent which allows him to drive block both vertically and laterally. He can reach block with ease and does a very solid job getting to the second level to block LBs. He played primarily on the left side at LG.
College Stats: Only gave up five QB pressures and zero sacks in 2019.
How would he help the team? Current starting LG Greg Van Roten is a free agent and is expected to be offered very lucrative deals by other teams. This could likely lead to an opening on the starting offensive line. Just based on his talents and skills already Kindley would be an upgrade at the LG position. His resume shows consistency as a above average run blocker and pass blocker.
Round 4 (110th overall): Darnay Holmes, CB, UCLA
At 5-10 and 192 lbs Darney Holmes is a very athletic player with elite speed and high football IQ. Playing man to man coverage is his strongest ability but he is fairly effective playing zone as well. He has no wasted steps and can naturally identify routes and close in quick to make plays. His hand to eye coordination along with excellent acceleration allows him to get his hands on a lot of balls thrown his way. He can play both outside CB and nickel CB. Also he was very dynamic as a returner as well. Not the best of tacklers in run support but does give effort. Pro Scouts believes if he was three or four more inches taller he would be selected much earlier in the draft.
College Stats: 120 tackles 8 INTs 17 pass deflections 2 forced fumbles 2 recovered fumbles 2 TDs scored 38 KO returns 878 return yards 23.1 yards per return 1 TD in 35 games played during three seasons from 2017 to 2019.
How would he help the team? With the likely departure of CB James Bradberry and Ross Cockrell and Javien Elliott also being free agents there is need for talent at the CB position. Holmes fits exactly what Coach Rhule said he wanted which was very athletic players with high football IQ that needs to be coached up and developed. Having the ability to play outside and inside gives more flexibility to do different schemes and personnel packages. Plus having another player who can play all the special teams is great value as well.
Round 5 (152nd overall): Darrell Taylor, EDGE, Tennessee
At 6-4 and 259 lbs Darrell Taylor is an athletic playmaker who evolved during his college career. He got better every single year and the numbers support it. He takes pride in setting the edge at the line of scrimmage and denying any ball carrier to get outside of him. He is an established solid run defender who constantly makes plays at or behind the LOS. His pass rushing skills have came a long way but plenty of room for improvement. His hustle is never questioned and he brings it hard on every snap. Can make plays regardless if both hands are in the dirt, one in the dirt or standing up in a two point stance.
College Stats: 118 tackles 19.5 sacks 26.5 tackles for loss 7 pass deflections 6 forced fumbles 4 recovered fumbles in 38 games played during four seasons from 2016 to 2019.
How would he help the team? With proven seasoned veterans Mario Addison and Bruce Irvin being free agents over 30 Taylor would bring that hybrid versatility as both a 4-3 DE and a 3-4 OLB. His athletic abilities again fit exactly what the coaching staff is looking for in player development. Stout run defenders setting the edge is greatly needed on the Panthers defense.
Round 6 (184th overall): Robert Landers, DL, Ohio State
At 6-1 and 285 lbs Robert Landers is an anchor for the interior of the defensive line. Despite his lack of excessive girth he actually more than held his own taking on double teams and maintaining gap integrity. His quick explosive 1st step allows him to attack the opposing linemen and then use an array of moves to disengage to make the play. His pass rushing game yields way more QB pressures than sacks but is consistent with disrupting the pocket. Very solid against the run as well.
College Stats: 65 tackles 24.5 tackles for loss 2.5 sacks 2 recovered fumbles in 35 games played during four seasons from 2016 to 2019.
How would he help the team? With several defensive lineman being free agents not likely to be re-signed Landers would provide quality depth at the DT rotation while having his raw skills develop. His ability to anchor his gap responsibility by occupying blockers along with QB pressures and his knack for tackles for loss would be greatly needed in the middle of the defense.
Round 7 (221st overall): Cameron Brown, LB, Penn State
At 6-5 and 232 lbs Cameron Brown has the speed and athleticism to cover alot of ground quickly. He excelled at making plays in the flats and sidelines against opposing RBs and TEs. He has a quick burst to the ball once play has been identified. He is known for chasing plays down from the backside and also causing fumbles. He does need to slow down and not over pursue the play which has lead to him having poor tackling angles.
College Stats: 198 tackles 14.5 tackles for loss 4.5 sacks 11 pass deflections 4 forced fumbles 2 recovered fumbles
How would he help the team? In today’s NFL you can never have too many speedy athletes at LB. With Carolina using multiple personnel groups using two, three and four LBs you need players who have a nose for the ball.
One of the biggest question marks heading into the 2019 season for the Carolina Panthers was how well was the offensive line going to perform. On paper, the unit looked very promising and poised to dominate. The retirement of long time team captain and leader, center Ryan Kalil, left a void that was filled in free agency with the signing of former Denver Broncos center, Matt Paradis. Paradis was graded the number two center overall in the NFL in 2018, in spite of missing several games with a broken leg. Four time Pro Bowler, Trai Turner, was coming back at right guard. Third year player, Taylor Moton, maintained his spot at right tackle after having a very solid breakout season the year prior. Coming in on the left side of the ball was left guard, Greg Van Roten, who was the only player on offense to play every single offensive snap in 2018. After not landing a big free agent contract, the Panthers re-signed former 2017 2nd team All Pro, Daryl Williams, to a one year prove-it deal to play at left tackle. Williams missed all of the 2018 season after suffering two serious injuries to the same knee. As far as the depth goes, the Panthers traded up ten spots in the 2019 NFL Draft to get left tackle Greg Little, who was known as one of the top elite pass blockers of this draft class. Later in the draft, the Panthers spent their sixth round pick to draft offensive lineman, Dennis Daley. Finally, center/guard Tyler Larsen comes back for his fourth year with the team to play backup at center and both guard spots. However, after ten games played so far, this unit has been inconsistent and disappointing overall in both the run blocking and the pass blocking execution. Let’s take a deeper look at each player to find out why.
Matt Paradis: (Pro Football Focus Grade is 48.3, was 79.0 in 2018)
He is ranked dead last as the worst starting center in the NFL. He only has one penalty but has given up three sacks and dozens of QB pressures and QB hits. Why has he fallen from being #2 down to #32? On Nov. 4, 2018, he broke his right leg against the Houston Texans. He was placed on injured reserve and immediately had surgery. When he signed his free agent deal of 3 yrs/ $27M back on March 12, it was thought that he would be able to fully practice with the team by the June mini camp. Yet, it was until the later half of training camp before he was able to fully practice in pads. That means from November 2018 until August 2019, Paradis was unable to do any of the normal offseason gym workouts and conditioning drills that is mandatory to build strength and increase agility. After watching several hours of the All 22 coaches film, it is painfully obvious that his lower body is unable to consistently do what his mind is telling and what his eyes are seeing. He does a good job of taking the right step and getting proper head placement on the defender most of the time. However, when he is met with a more powerful defensive linemen who has leverage on him, he is unable to maintain the desired position. Typically, it takes a few games to play yourself back into shape, but it is likely going to take a full complete offseason in 2020 for him to regain the strength he needs to place him back as one of the elite centers in the game. It is painful to watch now, but it is the belief that he will get a whole lot better after this season.
Trai Turner: (PFF Grade is 59.9, was 64.5 in 2018)
Why has he fallen from his Pro Bowl caliber of play? Since missing three games with a high ankle sprain after Week 3 win @ Arizona and returning Week 8 @ San Francisco, he has not been the consistent mauler that we have known him to be. He will show powerful flashes here and there, but last four games he has sputtered more than sparking. Several times he has been easily moved out of the way on run blocks. The assumption is that his high ankle sprain is still bothering him since his play was above average for the first three games this year. It also needs to be said that it is the assumption that Turner is one of the players that tight end, Greg Olsen, was referring to in his post game comments after the loss to the Falcons. He said “Guys in this locker room got to realize playing in the NFL is a lot more than just running around and looking cool. You’ve got to play.”
Taylor Moton: (PFF Grade is 70.7,was 76.2 in 2018)
Why has he fallen from his stellar level of play from 2018? Last season, while playing 1054 snaps, he had six penalties and two sacks in 16 games. As of Week 11, he has played 676 snaps and he already has six penalties and has given up four sacks in 10 games. This sophomore slump has more to do with lazy effort moreso than it being a talent issue. The All 22 shows him repeatedly lunging forward towards his defender, which leaves his footwork unbalanced while also giving up the leverage advantage. Frustration comes also because he will play like a top ten guy at his position on several plays. This inconsistent ability to properly execute now starts putting doubt that Moton is our long term answer at right tackle.
Greg Van Roten: (PFF Grade is 63.6, was 59.8 in 2018)
He has by far been the most consistent and most reliable offensive linemen out of the five starters. In 2018, he had only two penalties and gave up just two sacks. So far in 2019, he has only two penalties and one sack given up. The run blocking aspect of his game has become more nasty with execution and more solid with good technique. He has yielded a few pressures sometimes when faced with superior defensive linemen but he backs down from nobody and stays looking for extra work. His game is not flashy but it is solid and consistent.
Daryl Williams: (PFF Grade is 58.3, was 77.2 in 2017)
The biggest fall from grace in terms of football play that has happened in a long time. After suffering two back to back major knee injuries in July and September of 2018, it is depressingly clear that Williams is not anywhere remotely close to being the 2nd team All Pro he was in 2017. During his All Pro year, he had two penalties and had given up four sacks. So far in 2019, he has only one penalty but has given up TEN SACKS!!! As a total unit, the Panthers have given up 25 sacks in 10 games. Williams is responsible for 40% of them by himself. There is very little positive that can honestly be said about his performance. Bad footwork. Bad waist bend. Bad hand placement. Bad leverage. Bad effort. Bad play recognition. He also has given up multiple sacks at all three positions of left tackle, right tackle and right guard this year, as he’s played all three. Truly sad to see him go from 2nd team All Pro to 1st team All Hell No!!!
Dennis Daley: (PFF Grade is 67.0)
His play at left tackle has exceeded many expectations so far, as there were several question marks about him in the pre-draft process. Daley has two penalties and given up one sack. When the season started, head coach Ron Rivera stated that he felt comfortable with Daley playing at both guard spots, as well as both tackle spots. Once he got his chance Week 5 vs. Jacksonville, he has played very efficient and solid for the most part. He has had a few rookie moments where he was overwhelmed and took some poor steps, but seven out of ten plays he is doing his job and brings some aggression with his blocking as well.
Greg Little: (PFF Grade is 56.4)
He has spent the vast majority of his rookie season so far, on the NFL concussion protocol. But when he has played it has been mixed results. With only 170 snaps in 3 games, he had two penalties and given up two sacks. His debut came splitting reps at left tackle with Daryl Williams during Week 3 @ Arizona. He played fairly well and held his own against Suggs and Chandler. The following week @ Houston, he played extremely well pass blocking wise by not allowing a single QB pressure or QB hit. Still much work needs to be done in the run game to be more physical at the point of attack. Unfortunately, after the game he had a return of concussion symptoms that originally started in the preseason @ New England back in August. This past Sunday vs. Atlanta, he returned to the starting lineup after Daley was ruled out with an injury. It was a very ugly performance, as he gave up (by himself) two sacks and 14 quarterback pressures. The rust from being out for almost two months clearly was showing. It will be very interesting and crucial to see how Little performs from here on out.
Tyler Larsen: (PFF Grade is 63.8, was 52.6 in 2018)
He has only gotten 20 snaps at right guard this season when Trai Turner went out with his ankle injury. He has two penalties and has not given up any sacks. Larsen can play center and both guard spots. Some fans have wondered why he has not replaced Paradis yet. If you go back and watch from the preseason, Larsen was getting owned way too often by opposing defensive tackles. Crazy part is, he has been the top performer in the weight room the last two years during the offseason. But all those muscles are wasted if you come out to block with high pads and bad feet. He is serviceable at best and knows the playbook by heart. Thanks for taking the time to read Knowledge with Kevin.
Panthers defense vs. Cardinals offense:
The biggest threat to expose the defense will be the match-up of the personnel groupings and alignments that Panthers head coach Ron Rivera uses and calls against the high tempo/no huddle “Air Raid” passing attack using 10 and 00 personnel by Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury. The term Air Raid basically means an all out pass heavy attack from all angles. 10 personnel means 1 RB 0 TE 4 WR and 00 personnel means 0 RB 0 TE 5 WR. During the Rivera era our pass defense has largely been the nickel zone heavy sub-package 4-2-5 which is 4 DL 2 LB 5 DB. The 5 DBs are typically 2 outside CBs 1 nickel CB and 2 safeties which match-up perfectly against 11 personnel of 1 RB 1 TE 3 WR. The Cardinals offense leads the NFL in no huddle usage at 54% of their plays. The chess match will be how the Panthers game plan to defend the 4th and 5th WR of the Cardinals during a face pace.
- The Panthers defensive front must quickly disrupt the Cardinals offensive line blocking schemes with a combination of stunts and slants that allows quick penetration. Their starting five combined for a 59.7 overall grade this preseason. So whether the Panthers use a “30 front” or a “40 front” the interior defensive linemen must dominate early and often to disrupt the rhythm of rookie QB Kyler Murray.
- The Panthers secondary playing more press man-to-man coverage at the line of scrimmage on the Cardinals receivers is a high risk yet high reward approach. This “Air Raid” philosophy is largely timing routes where the ball is thrown before the receiver makes his cut to catch the ball. The WR group consists of future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald in his 16th season, former Panther Damiere Byrd, Christian Kirk, Keesean Johnson, Michael Crabtree and Andy Isabella. The ability to throw these players off their routes by just a couple of seconds can lead to multiple sacks and turnover opportunities. Also the defensive front getting their hands up on those quick 3 step drops to batter down passes will be a key part to slowing this offense down.
- The Panthers using more of their “Dime” sub-package of six DBs would allow us to have a CB on those 4th and 5th WRs on the field. As talented as the Panthers LB core is there should not be any situation where they are lining up in the slot to cover. This season we have seen more of the “30 front” dime package of 3 DL 2 LB and 6 DB. However it would not surprise me to see some “40 front” dime looks with 4 DL 1 LB and 6 DB. The current NFL pattern of various spread offenses is growing and it is important for Rivera to adapt defensively by using more DBs to counter with rather than relying on his LBs.
- Speaking of LBs it will be the jobs of Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thompson to contain and tackle effectively QB Murray and RB David Johnson in the running game. Both are capable of making huge gains on the ground when given the chance. The defensive front must maintain run gap discipline and run fit responsibilities at all times.
- A veteran loaded defense lead by Rivera must control the tempo and the line of scrimmage against a rookie head coach and a rookie QB playing in their 3rd NFL game. The film shows plenty of opportunity for multiple sacks and numerous turnovers. With a 10 day rest this Panthers defense should be licking their chops to get at this offense.