How Panthers defense can get back on track in Week 2 at Giants

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /

Opening day was rough for the Carolina Panthers defense, but they have a good chance to bounce back at the New York Giants in Week 2.

The Carolina Panthers need to fix the run game in the coming days before their Week 2 matchup at the New York Giants. Saquon Barkley exploded with 18 carries for 164 rushing yards and one touchdown in their season opener against the Tennessee Titans, which could pose a major problem for Matt Rhule‘s squad if significant adjustments aren’t made.

Brian Daboll is an excellent offensive mind. He has a great scheme to get quarterback Daniel Jones comfortable and looks to have Barkley back to his best.

Jones finished with a passer rating of 115.9 and a very efficient 17-of-21 through the air in Tennessee. The Giants’ offense will be tough to stop as they only have one game of tape from the new regime under Daboll.

The former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator is sure to come up with a balanced offense capable of putting up points. If Carolina has another game as they did against the Cleveland Browns, it’s hard to predict Rhule’s men winning many contests.

The run defense has been a problem ever since Phil Snow arrived. Despite his claims in front of the media, it seems he just can’t figure out how to clean things up in that department.

Carolina’s pass defense has improved over the years with Snow as the defensive coordinator and now Steve Wilks as the defensive backs coach, which should be a great duo to teach this young secondary up to their potential throughout 2022.

Carolina Panthers must find a way to improve their pass-rush

The pass rush in Week 1 was abysmal, to say the least. Jacoby Brissett had all the time needed to go through his progressions without an ounce of pressure more often than not.

Brissett was hardly ever moved off his spot. That’s a problem as the Panthers will face far better signal-callers as the campaign goes on.

No matter how good your secondary is, they can only hold up so long in coverage. Carolina’s defensive front has to help this area of the field out, force some sacks, and make opposing quarterbacks uncomfortable in the pocket.

If the Panthers cannot accomplish this moving forward, it will be a long day for the defense no matter who’s under center.

A major part of the lack of pass rush is the departure of Hasson Reddick in free agency. The former Temple star had 11 sacks and 33 pressures in 2021, making it very difficult for quarterbacks to sit back and go through their reads without being hurried into a decision.

General manager Scott Fitterer did not fill the spot opposite Brian Burns effectively and you could see a major difference in Week 1. However, it’s just one game and there is still time for the Panthers to turn this situation around.

Should the pass rush remain to be a problem, the whole defense is going to be impacted. Pair this with a less-than-stellar run defense, and it’s not hard to why the Panthers could have their hands full at MetLife Stadium this weekend.

Derrick Brown has to step up, it’s just that simple.

This is his third year in the system as the No. 7 overall selection in 2020 and so far in three years, the defensive tackle hasn’t lived up to it. If his lackluster play continues for the rest of the season, look for the Panthers to look at alternatives and not pick up the Auburn product’s fifth-year option.

It’s only Week 2, but this already looks like a must-win game for Rhule. Something that should provide extra urgency across the board in pursuit of ending their eight-game losing run.

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