The winning Panther teams we have had, all featured a strong suffocating defense. That side of the ball had fallen off in recent years but is now on the rebound. One word that sums up my feelings about this years defenders is excited. What I will be writing on today is how the new additions brought on via the draft and free agency to the Defensive Line, Line Backers and Secondary will make us a dominating defense this season.
The defense run by Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott is a zone blitz 4-3 under scheme made famous by the late Jim Johnson. The defensive lines up as follows:
Nose Tackle (1 tech) – Strong Side A gap (this is the TE side of the offense between the center and guard); the NT’s responsibility is to absorb the double team from the center and guard so that the other linemen are only single blocked.
Under Tackle (3 tech) – Weakside B gap (this is the side of the ball with no tight end between the guard and tackle); the UT job is to penetrate to disrupt both the run and rush the passer.
Strongside Defensive End (7 tech) – Tight End side C gap between Tackle and Tight end; Their duty is to not only rush the passer but contain the run on the strongside
Weakside End (9 tech) – No tight end side of the ball C gap outside shoulder of Tackle; Their assignment is to rush the passer and contain runs on the weakside of the offensive formation.
We have the makings of a top notch rotation on the Defensive line. By drafting Star Lotulelei and Kaawan Short, the defensive tackle position is set for years. Dwan Edwards provides veteran leadership for the youngsters. These three will be also rotated with Colin Cole and Siona Fua.
At Defensive End, we have double digit sack guys Charles Johnson and the Kraken, Greg Hardy. They will be backed up by Frank Alexander and Thomas Keiser. The ends will be bringing the heat this year and with the hog mollies up front pushing the pocket up the middle, there will be nowhere for opposing quarterbacks to go.
The Linebacking positions are headlined by 2012 Defensive Rookie of the Year Luke Kuechly at Mike (Middle Linebacker), Thomas Davis at SAM (Strongside), at John Beason (Weakside). They will be backed up by new comers AJ Kline, Chase Blackburn, and returning special teams demon Jordan Senn. Kline has the ability to play all three positions but will be expected to start off on special teams and to provide depth given the devastating injuries we have had at this position the last couple of years.
The defense is being built up to try and cover for a somewhat suspect
secondary. We only hope that we can hide our deficiencies in the backfield by bringing pressure with the zone blitzes and the front four. We also have newcomers in the secondary beginning with veteran corner Drayton Florence, Mike Mitchell, and DJ Moore. Undrafted free agents Melvin White are Robert Lester are also looked at as possible contributors if they make the team. Returning in the secondary are Josh Norman, Captain Munnerlyn, Josh Thomas, Charles Godfrey, and DJ Moore. The improving front seven will bring enough pressure to cause errant throws that this opportunistic group of defenders will capitalize on.
The 2013 defense will have to gell quickly in order for us to get through this monster schedule. I have the confidence with the new players brought on and another year in the system with the returning players this will be a breakout season for Coach Ron Rivera and the Carolina Panthers.