Why Brian Burns’ evolution to defensive leader is now complete

Dean Jones
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Brian Burns
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Brian Burns /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

Matt Rhule on Brian Burns

Brian Burns’ evolution to a team leader over the last 12 months has not gone unnoticed by those in power within the Carolina Panthers. Having all the talent in the world is one thing, but if a player cannot inspire others around him, it leaves them on an island that isn’t normally associated with success.

The 2019 first-round pick drew praise from head coach Matt Rhule for the way he’s approached things this offseason and over the second half of the previous campaign. He sees a lot of quality leadership skills in Burns, which is another huge feather in his cap and something that could make all the difference for a young and improving defense.

"“I think the thing he’s doing right now, he’s a little banged up, so he can’t do everything, but he’s really focused on trying to do everything he can to get better at what he can do. To me, it’s if you’re willing to be coached, if you’re willing to hold yourself accountable, if you’re willing to say ‘hey that’s on me,’ and if you’re willing to work really hard. Brian’s doing those things, so I’m sure he’s a guy a lot of guys will follow.”"

As stated previously, Burns is a hard player not to get behind.

He is energetic, charismatic, and backs up his vocal progression with outstanding consistency and performances on the field.

Burns was almost a one-man band when it came to generating pressure over the first part of 2020. More help came as the campaign progressed, but there appears to be much more talent around the player this time around as he goes in pursuit of his first Pro Bowl appearance.