Carolina Panthers pass rush unfairly graded by Pro Football Focus
Pro Football Focus doesn’t think the Carolina Panthers pass rush is anything special.
The Carolina Panthers are going to have a good pass rush. At the very least, it should be better than last year. It’s not like the bar is set incredibly high there. With some new additions on the defensive side of the football, most notably the addition of Gerald McCoy to the defensive line, the Carolina Panthers look to be in a much better position to make an impact via the pass rush.
The addition of McCoy is perhaps just a part of what should be a great season for the defensive line. Mario Addison continues to play well, and his stock continues to rise rapidly. Kawaan Short continues to be a productive player, and offer pass-rushing talents of his own. It will be interesting to see how the different play styles on the defensive line mesh together. McCoy and Addison are more pure pass rushers.
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Pro football Focus released their list of pass-rushing units in the National Football League. I was excited to hear that the list came out, because that means football season is even closer. With players set to report to training camp in just a couple of weeks, that statement is partly true. The Panthers had the 20th-best line according to this list. For a Carolina Panthers unit who totaled 35 sacks last year, they would certainly like to improve upon that number.
PFF does not rate the Carolina Panthers pass rush that highly, and doesn’t think that the moves they made this offseason are enough to put them in the elite category. I disagree, but first it is worth looking at their assessment.
"The Panthers added a lot to their defensive line this offseason, but it won’t put them over the hump unless Kawann Short recaptures his Pro-Bowl form we saw from him before last season. He racked up only 34 pressures in 2018 after averaging 56 per in the three seasons prior."
For starters, Short should be able to have more than 34 pressures this year. Last year, the defense was new, and that may have put players in certain spots that were unfamiliar to them. Brian Burns should be able to add spark to the defensive line, and I would at least pencil him in for five sacks. What he brings to the table is severely underestimated nationally
Players such as Addison and McCoy only boost the line. I do not think McCoy will have, for instance, 10 sacks next year, but I do think he will have a fair amount of pressures recorded. That is almost as good as a sack. It forces quarterbacks off their game. It may sound cliché, but especially for the older veterans on the defensive line, their impact will be felt and measured by things that you don’t see on the stat sheet.
The Panthers should have been put in the 10-15 range. I understand they didn’t produce last year. However, with just the pure talent they have, they do have the ability to tally sacks in a hurry. The Panthers were snubbed on this list, and obviously the only way to prove people wrong is to go out and have a great season. They are much better than what the list indicates, and the defensive improvements they made in the offseason should be able to put them over the top.