Carolina Panthers Week 2 awards from defeat at the Bucs

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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Brian Burns /

Most Improved Player: Brian Burns – DE

Brian Burns might have struggled to get pressure in the backfield once again. But there were other areas of his game that showed immense improvement.

One particular element that needed to get better during his sophomore campaign was the defensive end’s ability to stop the run. These concerns only grew following a disappointing display in Week 1 against a formidable Las Vegas Raiders offensive line.

It is clear that Burns made some significant adjustments over the past few days on his discipline. The former first-round pick set the edge superbly for the Carolina Panthers and was able to make some big plays as a result.

If Burns can continue this trend going forward. It is going to serve the Panthers well during times when the player is unable to generate pressure.

Defensive coordinator Phil Snow needs to stop being too cute with Burns early in games. Switching between a 3-4 and 4-3 base scheme might have worked at the college level. But the NFL is a completely different ball game.

This is not assisting Burns in terms of finding a rhythm on the edge. Not knowing whether you’re going to be putting your hand in the dirt or standing up as an outside linebacker is not the best way of maximizing the player’s immense skill set. And the fact he was in coverage a lot was another head-scratcher for Carolina as it used its best pass-rusher during the opening exchanges.