4 things that must change for the Panthers in 2020

Dean Jones
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Donte Jackson
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Donte Jackson /
2 of 5
Kawann Short, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Kawann Short /

1. Carolina Panthers run defense

Games in the NFL are normally won in the trenches. And this was an area of significant concern for the Carolina Panthers throughout last season.

Their run defense was lackluster at best and it is going to be another long campaign if things do not improve on this particular front. The Panthers allowed 143.5 rushing yards per game in 2019, which ranked No. 29 in the NFL.

This increased to 162.3 yards over their final three games as they threw in the towel with their holidays on the horizon. The Panthers’ run defense was slightly better at Bank of America Stadium on 138.5 yards per game. But their struggles on the road were typified by their 148.5 rush yards allowed.

Related Story. Carolina Panthers: How Kawann Short can help Derrick Brown. light

When one considers this number was just 112.5 in 2018, then it is clear that something went seriously wrong. One element could be the face defensive lineman Kawann Short ended the season in injured reserve in November with a torn rotator cuff. He is expected to make a full return to health next season alongside No. 7 overall pick Derrick Brown in what could potentially be a formidable partnership at the defensive tackle position.

Defensive coordinator Phil Snow is also expected to move back to a 4-3 base scheme, which should also assist them in running downs. Free-agent signing Stephen Weatherly proved to be a stout run defender during his time with the Minnesota Vikings. And his presence is another substantial boost for the front seven.

Given the players available now available to the Panthers in this particular area of the field, it would be a massive disappointment if they continued to leak big rushing numbers in 2020.