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
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

Carolina Panthers will bring the heat

Had it not been for a late surge, the Carolina Panthers would have had far less than the 1.8 sacks-per-game they managed to accomplish last season. Even this was ranked just 23rd throughout the league, so it has to get better if the team harbors any sort of ambition to make a surprise postseason push in 2021.

Again, this is an area of the field that received a significant boost this offseason.

Carolina managed to get Haason Reddick in free agency following his 12.5-sack campaign with the Arizona Cardinals, which could be the springboard for a prolific run from the former first-round pick ahead of his reunion with college coach Matt Rhule in Carolina.

Putting Reddick on the opposite side to Brian Burns has untold potential. The Florida State product is primed for a breakout season after gaining nine sacks in 2020 – developing into a well-rounded defensive end capable of doing it all.

Derrick Brown’s ability to generate pressure from the interior was notable. As was the promise shown by second-rounder Yetur Gross-Matos on occasions.

Free-agent linebacker Denzel Perryman has also proved more than capable of creating havoc in opposing backfields should the opportunity arise. So expect Phil Snow to bring more heat in the coming months with players who can now be counted upon.