3 keys to Carolina Panthers' competitiveness in Week 11 vs. Cowboys

Chuba Hubbard
Chuba Hubbard / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers must rely on younger defenders

Now to talk about that defense.

In Week 11, the Carolina Panthers are down anywhere from 10 to 12 players on defense, nine of those on injured/reserve, and half of them were starters. Aside from that, another two have missed significant time due to injury.

There isn't much to glean from the defensive performance this season other than this: the Panthers have shown true resiliency on the backend.

While the rushing defense has once again been one of the worst in the league, there has been real promise with the passing defense. Especially because at cornerback, the Panthers will be turning to third string or worse against one of the best passing attacks in the NFL on Sunday.

This team cannot rely on Jaycee Horn to be available at this point, which is a hard pill to swallow. So there needs to be a changing of the guard and the only way to do that is to evaluate just what this team has currently on the roster.

There is no reason to rush back injured players in a lost season. Evaluate what the others can do.

D'Shawn Jamison is speedy and has a real knack for making impact plays against the best of competition. Dicaprio Bootle shows real promise if given more of an opportunity.

Let the young guys get some reps in.

The point remains the same for the defensive front seven. Give players like Amare Barno the chance to prove that they need to be around next season. Call up practice squad guys. Experiment. Do something to bring even a little bit of a spark and a fire into a line that has struggled mightily against the run this season and has also offered no consistent pass-rushing threat.

There is nothing to lose at this point.