4 moves that caused the Carolina Panthers’ downfall in 2020

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Tahir Whitehead
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Tahir Whitehead /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images) Tahir Whitehead /

Not benching Tahir Whitehead sooner

Tahir Whitehead faced a daunting task when he joined the Carolina Panthers in free agency on a one-year, $2.5 million deal. He was chosen as the man to fill the enormous void left by perennial All-Pro Luke Kuechly, who decided to retire and preserve his health after eight sensational seasons with the organization.

The linebacker was an inspirational leader on and off the field. But such was the impression Whitehead made during training camp, he was appointed a team captain before the season opener against his former team, the Las Vegas Raiders.

However, it didn’t take long to figure out that Whitehead was not up to the required standard.

His sluggish play in coverage has been evident throughout Whitehead’s career. But it was the lack of impact on running downs and generating the right sort of angles to get himself to the point of attack that was even more concerning.

Simply put, Whitehead should have been benched sooner than he was and this cost the Panthers in no uncertain terms.

One only has to look at how the second level has performed since Jermaine Carter was slotted into the lineup to see what a difference having Whitehead on the sidelines has made. This will no doubt come with the player’s release when it’s time to assemble a competitive roster in 2021 and it remains to be seen whether the former Temple star will get another chance with a different organization.