4 big improvements made by the Panthers in win vs. Lions

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

Linebacker production

The Carolina Panthers finally put Tahir Whitehead out of his misery by benching him in favor of Jermaine Carter. His level of production would probably indicate this should have been done sooner, but the main thing is that the coaching staff got there in the end and it brought an instant turnaround in their fortunes.

Carter was absolutely fantastic at the second level, which made a substantial difference. Whitehead was an undoubted weak link that opposing offenses took full advantage of and not having in the lineup for a prolonged period really solidified a unit that also saw Shaq Thompson and Jeremy Chinn continue their strong performances in recent weeks.

This area of the field is never going to be the same after Luke Kuechly’s shock retirement. But there was plenty to like about the energy all three linebackers brought against a Detroit offense that was without stud wide receiver Kenny Golladay and rookie running back D’Andre Swift.

They’ll face another stern test of their credentials against Dalvin Cook next weekend, who has been nothing short of phenomenal over the last few weeks for the Vikings. This is the linebacker group that Matt Rhule should go with for the remainder of the campaign and if they can build on this positive display, it might just give them a chance.