5 Texans players the Carolina Panthers must keep quiet in Week 3

(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) Brandin Cooks
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) Brandin Cooks /
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Carolina Panthers
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Whitney Mercilus /

Whitney Mercilus – DE

The Houston Texans’ defensive front will in no way be one of the best that the Carolina Panthers face this season. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges for the offensive line to overcome.

The toughest matchup will likely be Whitney Mercilus facing left tackle Cam Erving. Something that could go a long way to determining the overall outcome.

While Mercilus has never been a Pro Bowler, he’s been one of the league’s most consistent defensive ends and he’s always a threat to sack the quarterback. This is down to his high motor and exceptional technique to gain leverage.

As shaky as the Panthers’ offensive line is, they have to make sure that Mercilus isn’t allowed to pressure Sam Darnold much, or else it could be a long night for the offense despite some encouraging signs over the first half of games.

Mercilus might not dominate but his sacks can be costly, and that’s why Carolina must keep him quiet. Erving did show some signs of life in Week 2, but this represents a significant challenge that the blindside protector has to emerge victorious from.

Whether the former first-round pick can do this or not is another matter entirely.