Tahir Whitehead – Carolina Panthers LB
Tahir Whitehead came up against his former team during his first outing with the Carolina Panthers. He was tasked with filling the enormous void left by perennial All-Pro Luke Kuechly at inside linebacker and he failed to meet early expectations.
Whitehead finished his first game in a Panthers’ uniform with six combined tackles and three solo tackles. If there was any motivation for the player to prove the Raiders’ coaching staff they were wrong not to keep him around, then it didn’t come across in his play.
One of the more concerning aspects of Whitehead’s play was his inability to find the right angles in pursuit of getting to the point of attack. The Raiders moved to an edge run game quickly after getting little joy between the tackles and this was something the second level was not ready for.
Nobody on Carolina’s defense would have known what Josh Jacobs was capable of more than Whitehead. The pair locked horns constantly at practice last season and he simply didn’t get to the star running back early enough to limit his production.
During the times where the two did meet, Jacobs would get the upper hand more often than not. He is notoriously difficult to bring down and missed tackles were something that became a constant frustration.
Much more will be needed from Whitehead going forward. He was voted for as a team captain by the Panthers thanks to the big impression the player made at training camp. But his performance in Week 1 will need to improve significantly going forward.