4 things that must change for the Carolina Panthers in 2024

Many things must change for the Carolina Panthers in 2024.
Bryce Young
Bryce Young / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers run defense 

Of the many things that went wrong for the Carolina Panthers last season, the run defense was one of them. While it wasn’t the worst unit, it was ranked comfortably in the bottom half of the league, allowing over 122 yards per game, including over 143 in the season's final three games.

The biggest issue here is the amount of chunk yards allowed. Despite being around the NFL's average in rushing yards per carry conceded at 4.1, the Panthers still gave up too many big plays in critical moments. Opponents averaged 7.2 first downs per game on the ground. However, there might be some correlation due to the lack of offensive production putting the defense in tenuous spots.

The film confirms this. There seemed to have been a serious adjustment period that lasted all season. Derrick Brown, despite his historic 2023 campaign, was adjusting to maintaining two-gap integrity instead of one. Shy Tuttle and DeShawn Williams struggled to get off blocks and maintain gaps, leading to a sudden emergence of Nick Thurman creating chaos at the line of scrimmage late into the season.

Morgan made a concentrated effort to improve how the Panthers defend the run during his first offseason as general manager. They signed A’Shawn Robinson, who the team was high on during free agency, one of the best edge-setting defenders in Jadeveon Clowney, linebacker Josey Jewell, and known run-defending defensive backs in Jordan Fuller and Dane Jackson.

If Carolina is to stay competitive in games on the defensive side, this run defense must show improvements and keep the big plays down to a complete minimum. It won't be easy, but the new additions should help attain this target.

Defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero’s unit is better than a year ago if you value what is shown on paper. However, the team’s efforts seem legitimate and disciplined. Only time will tell about their improvements.