4 most important Panthers players against the Buccaneers in Week 2

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Josh Jacobs
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Josh Jacobs /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Brian Burns /

Brian Burns – Carolina Panthers DE

Brian Burns failed to live up to his billing in Week 1. The defensive end struggled to make any sort of impact against Raiders’ left tackle Kolton Miller and looked a little lost when the Carolina Panthers opted to move him into the outside linebacker slot on occasions.

This was a little concerning when one considers how much pressure there is on Burns’ shoulders in his sophomore campaign. The Panthers parted ways with plenty of veteran pass-rushers this offseason to make the former first-round pick their No. 1 option. But substantial improvements need to be made on Sunday and beyond if the Florida State product wants to meet lofty expectations.

There might be more of a chance for Burns to have a bigger say at the Buccaneers if Donovan Smith’s performance against the Saints was any indication. The left tackle looked flustered in the face of concerted pressure and watching the film will give the Panthers’ pass-rusher some confidence he can get to Tom Brady in this one.

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With Yetur Gross-Matos in the concussion protocol, it could be down to the starting duo of Burns and Stephen Weatherly to provide the necessary pressure on the edge, This was virtually non-existent in Week 1. But it is far too early for this element to be anything more than a minor concern.