4 keys to victory for the Carolina Panthers at Falcons in Week 1

The long wait for Carolina Panthers football is nearly over.
Miles Sanders
Miles Sanders / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers must make sure Brian Burns is on the field

There is simply no other way to put it, really. The Carolina Panthers have to do everything they can to ensure they have the most talented player on the team for the season's entirety.

If the only way to do that is by means of an extension, they just flat-out need to get it done. Brian Burns is more than worth it.

Without Burns on the field this Sunday, the Panthers would see a fall-off in both their pass-rush and run defense. But the biggest component may not have to do with his actually ability at all.

The focus that a player like Burns attracts frees up room for other guys to make plays. When the offensive line of your opponent has two or even three individuals on one man, the rest of the defense is licking their chops.

While Carolina does have other talented rushers, nobody is going to give them that kind of impact besides Burns. That's the long and short of it.

In addition, while Desmond Ridder is no longer a rookie, you can count on one hand the amount of games he has played. Young quarterbacks are notorious for getting happy feet in the pocket, making erratic throws under pressure, and taking unnecessary sacks. If Burns plays, there is a high chance he would get to the passer on more than one occasion.

Simply put, the team does not need the distraction of his absence, and the organization does not need to risk losing their best player. The Panthers have a much better chance to beat the Falcons in Week 1 with Burns on the field and an even better one for prolonged success if they lock him up long-term.