How can the Carolina Panthers contain Nick Bosa in Week 5?
By Dean Jones
How can the Carolina Panthers contain stud defensive end Nick Bosa during their Week 5 clash against the San Francisco 49ers?
The Carolina Panthers are about to see a different type of defense in Week 5 against the San Francisco 49ers. This is a must-win game for Matt Rhule’s men as they look to get out of the concerning slump that’s seen them triumph just once in 10 regular-season games, but the task awaiting the team at Bank of America Stadium is a significant one.
San Francisco is coming off an impressive victory over the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams. This was built on an exceptional defensive display led by stud edge rusher Nick Bosa, who has been taking the NFL by storm once again in 2022.
After gaining a career-high 15.5 sacks last season, Bosa looks well on track to better this during the upcoming campaign. The former No. 2 overall selection out of Ohio State has six quarterback takedowns to his name through just four games, which is enhanced by an extraordinary 22 pressures and 16 quarterback hits.
Considering how Carolina’s offense has failed to find a rhythm, this is the last thing they wanted to see. The Niners are ranked No. 1 statistically in many key categories and caused Matthew Stafford an endless amount of complications on Monday Night Football to get themselves to 2-2.
Carolina Panthers must make Nick Bosa their focal point
If Bosa gets some early momentum, it’s over. Fortunately for the Panthers, they have a much improved offensive line this season after a substantial revamp and boast a coach in James Campen who is one of the best around.
Focusing on Bosa too much would be foolish due to the outstanding playmakers at all three levels. However, this will be the focal point and especially if Baker Mayfield’s obvious hesitancy in the pocket cannot take a big leap forward in the coming days.
Bosa can fly around from all angles. But one suspects he will target rookie Ikem Ekwonu heavily despite the North Carolina State product making notable improvements since struggling against Myles Garrett in Week 1.
Ekwonu’s pass protection is coming along with every game. This is one of the biggest tests he’ll face during his first year in a professional environment, so the more help Carolina can allocate in the left tackle’s direction, the better their chances will be.
Ian Thomas and Tommy Tremble must arrive with ferocity during chips and when tasked with blocking assistance from the tight end position. Brady Christensen must also be aware of where Bosa is at all times despite the Niners having two formidable defensive tackles to account for.
The onus is also on Mayfield to get the football out quickly and efficiently. Something he’s been incapable of as yet with concerns growing about his ability to successfully lead the Panthers back to prominence.
Carolina’s offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo can do his part by calling a game that plays to the team’s strengths. But anything like the same predictability we’ve witnessed over the opening month of action is going to come with severe ramifications.
In truth, there isn’t much any team can do to prevent Bosa from wreaking havoc at some stage. It’s whether the Panthers can limit his influence that will be crucial to their hopes of pulling off a major upset.
If they can accomplish this, then they might just have a chance of proving their doubters wrong. But it’s a big if given how things are unfolding right now.