3 keys to success for the Carolina Panthers vs. Browns in Week 1

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /
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Carolina Panthers
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

Carolina Panthers run defense

The Carolina Panthers had one of the top defenses last year. While Phil Snow’s unit was very good in 2021, they struggled to stop the run on occasions and this is something that has to change in the coming months.

They have added a couple of pieces in hopes to stop the run. Matt Ioannidis will play a big part and replaces Morgan Fox from last year’s team. Opposite of the former Temple star, the Panthers have Derrick Brown whose run defense is one of his best traits.

Brown and Ioannidis will be a key part of stopping the run at the defensive tackle position. And it all starts against a Cleveland Browns rushing attack that consists of prolific duo Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.

The starting defensive end positions will be occupied by Brian Burns and Yetur Gross-Matos. The Florida State product said this offseason he attempted to put on some muscle to improve his run defense, which is encouraging to hear as the Panthers need that help on the edge.

With Gross-Matos set to receive a substantial amount of snaps after Haason Reddick left in free agency, he’ll be expected to assist the team in all three phases consistently for the first time from a prominent role.

Recently acquired defensive lineman Henry Anderson will most likely see some action and contribute to stopping the run as he’s a big body on that defensive line.

At linebacker, the Panthers are slated to start with Shaq Thompson, who is the captain of the defense, Frankie Luvu, who made an impact last season with limited reps and in the middle with newcomer Damien Wilson. This trio will be important in stopping the run and preventing any rushers from getting past the second level.

The Browns have a really good rush attack with Chubb and Hunt. Stopping that duo will be significant in getting the defense off of the field.

The weather on Sunday is not looking good due to rain and it may end up being a game that relies on running the ball for both sides. If the Panthers’ defense can make Jacoby Brissett and the Browns pass the football, they will be set up for success.