Dontari Poe has been disappointment for Panthers in 2018
Poe has not been the player the Panthers thought they were getting.
I never like to call out players. For one, I am sitting here on the couch judging their performances while they are making millions of dollars in the National Football League. However, I feel as though I have to say something about what was thought to be one of the Carolina Panthers top offseason signings. Defensive tackle Dontari Poe has just not gotten the job done.
In 13 games this season, all of which he has started, Poe has recorded just 16 tackles and one sack. He also has three quarterback hits. That is a far cry from his statistics just last year. With the Atlanta Falcons, Poe started in all 16 games, tallying 2.5 sacks, 39 tackles and 10 quarterback hits. He was not the type of player to make headlines, but he was a player that could fill in the gaps defensively and be a solid option in stopping the running game.
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I feel like this season has made people forget (myself included) that Poe was a Pro Bowl player just four seasons ago. It’s not as if age is a huge factor here either. Poe is 28 years old and in his seventh season in the National Football League. He just hasn’t been able to put together the season that many thought he would. His best game of the 2018 campaign to this point came against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 2. In that contest, he tallied a sack, three tackles, and a hit on the quarterback. Per statistics from Pro Football Focus, his 78.9 defensive rating and 80.5 run defense rating were his highest of the season.
If nothing else, it is interesting to take a look at his previous ratings from other seasons to see how much he has underperformed in 2018 in comparison to his best years. For instance, his best statistical year came in 2013 while he was with the Kansas City Chiefs. In that campaign, he recorded a 72.3 defensive rating, 75.1 run defense rating, a 77.7 tackling rating, and a 83 coverage rating.
However, he has performed better this year in some areas than he did last season. His 72.9 run defense rating to this point is slightly higher than his 71.1 run defense rating last year. His 56.8 tackle rating is higher than his 48.9 rating last year. Lastly, his 59.5 coverage rating is slightly higher than his 59.2 coverage rating last year.
The statistics above prove that Poe still has a lot left in the tank. Maybe schematically, the Carolina Panthers defense is not the right fit for him. In fairness to him, that seems to be the case for a lot of the Carolina Panthers defense this season. Even still, it is hard not to call this season a disappointment. He came into the season with high expectations and so far has not delivered. Hopefully, these last three games can be successful ones for him.
Sometimes, you have hits and misses with acquisitions. Poe was a miss this season, and he still has two more years left on his deal. Hopefully, next season can prove to be a better one for him.
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