Carolina Panthers: Kawann Short injury huge blow to defense

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Kawann Short
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Kawann Short /

The Carolina Panthers received some bad news on Monday.

The news the Carolina Panthers received on Monday afternoon was not ideal. Stud defensive tackle Kawann Short was placed on season-ending injured reserve. The injured reserve designation stems from his torn rotator cuff. This significantly hampers the Carolina Panthers defense and puts them in a tough spot.

For one, the Panthers are losing a captain, as well as a two-time Pro Bowler. He recorded 7.5 sacks and 49 tackles in 16 games last year. He was as dependable as they come. He was also a tremendous source of pass-rushing ability. Carolina will undoubtedly miss him in that department. Secondly, he could clog up running lanes with ease. Measuring in at 6-4-3, 315 pounds, Short undoubtedly provided an intimidating presence. He could do a little bit of everything, from filling the lanes, to sacking the quarterback.

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Perhaps the most interesting part and of all of this is now Vernon Butler will have a chance to show what he is made of. Butler has had an up-and-down career as a member of the Carolina Panthers. He signed with the team on May 13, 2016 putting ink to paper on a four-year deal. So far, he has 45 tackles, a forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries. Those are not terrible numbers to be sure. Even more interesting when it comes to Butler is that the team declined his fifth-year option earlier this year. This means he will become a free agent in the 2020 season.

He will undoubtedly have big shoes to fill, and I think it would be safe to say that he is going to have a chance to show that he deserves a big-time contract. Combined with Dontari Poe, those two should be able to help fill the gap left by Short defensively. Even still, there is no denying that this is a massive loss.

This could potentially mean a couple of things for the defense. For one, they may have to rely on their secondary a bit more. The secondary is certainly capable of putting together strong games. However, they cannot do it alone. I’m thinking that the tackle numbers for the linebackers will spike a little bit as well. Luke Kuechly for example also has the ability to be an effective pass rusher. It is possible that he could take on a larger role in that regard.

Either way, the loss of Short is certainly a difficult one to overcome for the Carolina Panthers. They will have to patch things up in a hurry, as they take on a Jacksonville Jaguars offense on Sunday that features Leonard Fournette and Gardner Minshew. It will not be an easy loss to overcome, but I believe that Carolina has enough personnel to get it done.