4 Carolina Panthers on the hot seat in Week 17 at Buccaneers

(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) C.J. Henderson
(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) C.J. Henderson /
2 of 4
Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Keith Taylor Jr. /

Keith Taylor Jr. – Carolina Panthers CB

With Jaycee Horn missing the contest thanks to a broken wrist suffered during an impressive win over the Detroit Lions, this piles more pressure on other defensive backs to improve their performance levels. Josh Norman’s veteran presence might help in some capacity, but the onus will be on those who’ve been around the set-up throughout 2022 to make a lasting impact on proceedings.

One such individual is Keith Taylor Jr. The former fifth-round pick floundered versus Diontae Johnson and George Pickens in Week 15, which is something that won’t go unnoticed by Tom Brady as he looks to exploit potential weaknesses in pursuit of another divisional title.

Taylor got a pep talk from Donte Jackson in the immediate aftermath of his worst performance in a Panthers uniform. The LSU product believes in his teammate, which stems throughout the locker room and will be needed in no uncertain terms with Horn unavailable.

"“It comes down to now that we need him; we need him to go out and make plays. So who would I have been to him to let him sit in that dark place? And now he’s getting called on again, and if he’s sitting in that same space, it wouldn’t have been healthy for him, healthy for the team, or anything. So I wanted to make sure we had his back; that was the most important thing.”"

Things won’t be easy for Taylor this weekend against Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. The Panthers have little choice other than to rely on the second-year-pro, so he must repay this faith with a polished performance with everything at stake.