5 under-the-radar Panthers players that must step up at the Cowboys

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas /
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Carolina Panthers
(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Jermaine Carter /

Jermaine Carter – Carolina Panthers LB

It might be a surprise to see the team’s starting middle linebacker as under the radar. But that’s exactly what Jermaine Carter is through the opening three weeks of the 2021 season.

The former Maryland star’s been an energetic presence at the second level and is clearly looking to assume the role long-term in a contract year. However, the Carolina Panthers are generating some serious headlines for their defensive performance and others are obviously getting more attention as a result.

That needs to change at the Dallas Cowboys, who have a dominant running back tandem of Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard. If this duo gains some early momentum, they are extremely tough to stop.

Carolina has been much improved against the run this season, led by an outstanding defensive front and a coordinator in Phil Snow that’s putting everybody in the right position.

Carter needs to have his best game of the campaign in Week 4. He has to read what Dallas is doing at the line of scrimmage, communicate this to his teammates, and be around the football consistently for good measure.

As is the case with most challenges that get put in Carter’s way, it’s one he is going to relish. The bigger the game, the better he performs and the Panthers will be counting on him heavily in this one from start to finish.