4 big differences to expect from the Panthers defense in 2021

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Jaycee Horn
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Jaycee Horn /
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Carolina Panthers
(Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown /

What are the big differences to expect from the Carolina Panthers’ defense during the 2021 season?

Hopes are high regarding what appears to be a strong defensive unit for the Carolina Panthers to utilize next season. They are building around a solid young core who all made notable contributions in 2020, so if the new recruits can hit the ground running in a similar fashion, it could propel Phil Snow’s unit to a level not seen from the organization since the mid-2010s.

This is a lofty ceiling to aim for. But the pieces are now all in place and if Snow can also make some adjustments, the sky is the limit.

Every leading contender needs a prolific defense capable of changing a game at the drop of a hat. Turnovers were something of a problem for the Panthers over the first half of 2020, but there was a lot to like about the way they progressed over the second half of the campaign.

Expectations are much higher for Carolina now that players and coaches have that extra bit of experience in the pros. Couple this with a more familiar offseason of camp and preseason games, there is nothing to suggest the Panthers cannot shock a lot of people if everything goes right.

Having more in the way of options should also assist Snow, who was a little restricted in what he could do from a scheme perspective in Year 1 calling plays at the next level. After a strong recruitment process in free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft, that won’t be the case this time around.

With this in mind, here are four big changes that we should expect from the Panthers’ defense when competitive action begins.