With all the talent the Carolina Panthers possess on the defensive line, they deserve recognition heading into the 2018 season….
Without getting hung up on determining an official moniker for the Carolina Panthers defensive line, DE Mario Addison has rightfully questioned how a recent ranking by NFL.com ignored both the addition of 6’3″, 346 pound tackle Dontari Poe (free agent, previosuly an Atlanta Falcon) and the fact that both Addison and the still highly productive Julius Peppers had 11 sacks in 2017.
Since newcomer Marquis Haynes is going to be using his scary fast speed as both a down lineman and in various JOKER schemes, snubbing the Panthers defense as somehow lacking new talent might provide their first bulletin board material.
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It doesn’t seem legitimate to diss the Panthers line as somehow lacking, and no doubt linebackers Kuechly and Davis would modestly submit that defensive lines are always part of keeping blockers off linebackers. Experts certainly give the linebacking corps credit for being almost unblockable All-Pros, and first year defensive coordinator Eric Washington has had the line in top ten in sacks 5 of 7 years with the team, including four times in top six.
How does a team like Tampa Bay jump into any top eight crew when it was LAST, with only 22 sacks last year? Jason Pierre-Paul will have to prove there’s still mucho gas in the tank for that to be any kind of reality.
Gregg Rosenthal put the Houston Texans 6th in those rankings, even with the caveat that JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney haven’t played together much in an ‘ideal defense’. How much more than thinking of ideals counted than Texans 32 sacks and minus-12 on takeaways (the Panthers were -1) is somewhat specious.
Addison vented his frustrations about the rankings to Panthers.com on Wednesday.
"“I don’t know what they’ve got against Carolina, but they never show us love, never,” Addison said. ‘It’s been like that since I got here (in 2012)… They never give us props. Me and Pep had 11 sacks apiece. If that doesn’t say something, what does? I don’t care where we rank.”"
Addison obviously does care, although he maintains that such rankings have a way of settling themselves. (Around the NFL editor) Rosenthal’s list was about “which group I would most want to roll with in 2018,” and in THEORY, those two together would be dynamic, since Clowney has now stayed healthy long enough to be an All-Pro. Still, past results by the Carolina crew is as legitimate a standard to consider as if these guys played together
One factor that bears watching is Panthers getting off the field on third down. Defensive backfield was a definite need area, because they gave up numerous extra opportunities by being outgained by 650 yards in the air. Its symbiotic–the equation of rush time vs. the coverage– so coverage speed, a healthy serving of Dontari Poe, and a really fast JOKER might be the line where RESPECT starts.
Addison, Peppers, and Kawann Short are already there.