5 keys to a successful 2020 season for the Carolina Panthers

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Brian Burns /

Consistent pressure from the defensive front

It has been an offseason of considerable change for the Carolina Panthers. This is no more evident than on their defensive from after the losses of Bruce Irvin, Mario Addison, Gerald McCoy, and Dontari Poe in free agency.

One could argue that everyone besides Addison was not worthy of being brought back due to their lack of influence. They did get plenty of sacks in 2019. But this did not manage to mask the poor standard of play overall.

Big things are expected of the options available to the Panthers next time around. Second-year star Brian Burns is looking to build on a promising rookie campaign in a more prominent role and there is nothing to suggest he cannot get double-digit sacks if the former Florida State standout takes another step forward.

Free-agent signing Stephen Weatherly and second-round pick Yetur Gross-Matos will be tasked with providing pressure from the other side of the field. Both should have a significant role to play in the coming months. But which player starts from day one is still uncertain.

Their run-stopping ability should be much-improved thanks to the return of Pro Bowler Kawann Short to full health. The veteran will be aided by No. 7 overall pick Derrick Brown on the interior, which could be another massive boost for the Panthers.