4 most important Panthers players at the Falcons in Week 5

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) Kawann Short
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) Kawann Short /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Kawann Short /

Kawann Short – Carolina Panthers DT

Kawann Short appears ready to go for his second consecutive start for the Carolina Panthers this season, something he hasn’t been able to do since early in the 2019 campaign. The defensive tackle isn’t the most reliable when it comes to staying healthy these days. But there is little disputing what the player brings to the table when he is actually on the field.

Short and defensive tackle partner Derrick Brown will have the job of limiting running lanes for Todd Gurley, who has looked like the player of old over the last two games. It seems like a long time since the All-Pro was considered the best in the business. But a change of scenery is probably all he needed to get back on track.

The Panthers’ ability to stop the run is showing signs of life thanks to the presence of Short and Brown on the interior. They rank No. 22 in yards-per-game allowed with 125.2 on average, which might not be the best around, but it is a big improvement on anything we saw last year.

The former second-round pick might not have the athleticism to get after the quarterback given his advancing years. However, that should not detract from what a commanding presence Short remains on the block. The Pro Bowler is a big body that is incredibly difficult to move and if he can provide this at the Falcons, then it should force Gurley onto the edge and out of his comfort zone.