4 major hurdles the Carolina Panthers must overcome in 2022

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Matt Rhule
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Matt Rhule /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown /

Carolina Panthers’ defense must improve against the run

The run defense has continued to be a problem for the Carolina Panthers over the past two years. Their inability to prevent big yardage has cost the team in a big way, which is something that has to change in 2022.

If an offense can run on you, it’s that much easier to attack the defense as the passing game will open up. The Panthers ranked 18th in the league last year in rushing yards allowed.

The pass defense was much better, especially at the beginning of the year. But eventually, this wore down, finishing tied 21st in the league according to Pro Football Focus.

The additions of Damien Wilson and Cory Littleton in free agency should be an upgrade over Jermaine Carter at the middle linebacker spot. Frankie Luvu in a starting role will help in the ability to fill more gaps in the run game and the Panthers also added Matt Ioannidis for more help on the defensive line interior.

Much more is also expected of Derrick Brown. The former first-round pick out of Auburn looks every bit the dominant player Carolina hoped for on occasions, but consistency is key entering a huge Year 3 for the defensive tackle.

The Panthers have to find a way to stop the run if they want to go from good to great on defense. They will have a stiff test against arguably the best backfield in the league in Week 1 versus the Cleveland Browns, which will be a solid measuring stick regarding just how many improvements defensive coordinator Phil Snow has made during the offseason.