Create more pressure
The lack of pressure from the Carolina Panthers’ defensive front against the Raiders was a huge disappointment. Las Vegas does have a line that is a force to be reckoned with. But given the expectations surrounding this unit going into the campaign, it was a prominent and lackluster takeaway from the defeat.
Much more will be needed against the Buccaneers, to put it mildly. Not having Kawann Short and Yetur Gross-Matos has only increased pressure on the likes of Brian Burns and Stephen Weatherly to get it done on the edge. With No. 7 overall pick Derrick Brown also shouldering more responsibility without his Pro Bowl partner on the interior.
The Bucs’ offensive line is nowhere near as dominant as that which Carolina faced last weekend. They went through their fair share of struggles against a tremendous Saints’ pass-rush that was able to get Tom Brady flustered in the pocket despite his desire to get the ball out quickly.
This is the blueprint for the Panthers to follow. Getting their pass-rushing playmakers in the best possible position to get after a 43-year-old quarterback who wants to avoid contact at all costs is a pivotal element of the game that could make a real difference in their pursuit of pulling off a major upset.
That might be easier said than done if last weekend’s effort was any indication. But the bar is low as they aim for substantial improvement this time around.