Phil Snow isn’t the problem, the Panthers defensive talent is

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Carolina Panthers defense
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Carolina Panthers defense /
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Carolina Panthers
(Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /

What Carolina Panthers’ weaknesses on defense?

There are plenty of holes that need to be filled on defense for the Carolina Panthers. The team is having real difficulty in all areas outside of a couple who are performing above expectations and this is something that is having a detrimental impact in close games.

Let’s start with the defensive front. Carolina is averaging just one sack per game through nine weeks, which isn’t going to win you a lot of football games. Their inability to generate consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks is hurting their secondary and their lack of conviction on running downs is another element of substantial concern.

This isn’t exactly helped by their linebacker corps. The likes of Shaq Thompson and Tahir Whitehead have been a major disappointment that has plunged their respective futures into serious doubt, which has only made Luke Kuechly’s retirement even more of a blow.

Carolina has gotten some nice production from their cornerback unit for the most part. But their soft zone coverage is just not working due to a lack of pressure in crucial situations. This has made it extremely difficult for them to get off the field and they’ve only secured two punts from opposing teams in the last three games.

At safety, Tre Boston hasn’t yet reached the heights of last year after signing a three-year, $18 million contract extension this offseason. Juston Burris came on somewhat before his rib injury and although Sam Franklin has made more of an impact than expected of an undrafted free agent, he’s got a lot of learning to do before the player becomes a reliable starting option.