4 changes that could instantly improve the Panthers’ defense

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Stephen Weatherly
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Stephen Weatherly /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

3. Fewer three-man rushes

Averaging one sack per game through nine weeks isn’t doing the Carolina Panthers any favors whatsoever. Their pressure on opposing quarterbacks might be improving to a certain extent, but big plays just aren’t being made consistently.

Brian Burns is a force to be reckoned with on the edge, but he cannot do it alone. The Panthers need to come up with a better way of generating push on the line of scrimmage and using three-man rushes just doesn’t seem to be working at this juncture.

This has been one of the more infuriating aspects of Carolina’s performances on defense this season. They’ve done a nice job in recent weeks of getting into third-and-long situations, but quarterbacks seem to have all day to pick them apart that has resulted in the defense forcing two punts from their last three games.

Not exactly the sort of stat that wins a lot of football games.

Yes, they’ve been without Yetur Gross-Matos and Kawann Short for long periods. But it almost looks like Phil Snow’s lack of belief in his linebacker group outside of Jeremy Chinn to contribute in any sort of meaningful way is impacting the way he’s calling games.

This is a problem that needs to be rectified at the earliest possible opportunity. Recruitment via free agency appears unlikely, so using fewer three-man rushes will be a good place to start for the remainder of the campaign.