Panthers balance sheet: Strong offseason leaves defense in the black

Dean Jones
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Jaycee Horn
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Jaycee Horn /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /

The concerns

The Carolina Panthers have an exciting defense heading into the 2021 season. But it would be remiss if some obvious concerns weren’t examined before training camp.

One glaring element that shouldn’t be overlooked is just what’s going to transpire within the linebacker room. Denzel Perryman’s arrival should result in improved production if he can stay healthy, but much will also depend on whether Shaq Thompson can finally put together a complete campaign after restructuring his contract this offseason.

Thompson has all the skills needed to be a real force. However, last season proved that he needs a strong presence alongside him and Perryman represents a significant upgrade on anything Carolina had at their disposal last time out.

Another potential problem area will be at the safety spot.

This appears entirely dependent on whether Justin Burris can rise to the occasion with a more athletic playmaker in Jeremy Chinn alongside him. However, the Panthers would be wise to seek a little more in the way of depth before finalizing their roster in case things go wrong.

Pass and run defense should make encouraging strides. But it’s worth remembering this is all based on those brought into the organization in recent weeks transitioning well into the system and stamping their authority from their first snaps.