Shaq Thompson needs to back up his big talk in Week 11

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /

The added pressure on Thompson

While the Carolina Panthers might just benefit from Shaq Thompson’s verbal attack during a heated locker room exchange on Sunday, it has undoubtedly put some additional pressure on the linebacker to increase his level of performance moving forward.

This is something Thompson was probably aware of. But this team – and especially their defense – needs a leader now more than ever.

Carolina parted ways with plenty of locker room leaders during the offseason period on both sides of the ball. This was done with the best intentions but it left them with a young and relatively inexperienced roster that needed its few remaining veteran players to stand up and be counted.

Thompson might just be fighting for his future, along with countless others. His play this season couldn’t warrant his expected salary next year and he will need to continue the sort of form we saw against the Buccaneers during the remaining six games to stand a better chance of the Panthers keeping him around.

There are going to be more substantial changes in the coming months as Matt Rhule looks to progress his roster to becoming a postseason contender. Just how long this is going to take is more unclear than ever following a horrific second-half display in Week 10, but the Lions aren’t exactly pulling up any trees this season and Sunday’s game represents a tremendous chance to get themselves back to winning ways.

As for Thompson, backing up his big talk will be almost as important as the speech itself.