What should we make of the Carolina Panthers' defense heading into their preseason finale against the Detroit Lions at Bank of America Stadium?
We’ve now enjoyed – well, gotten through - two Carolina Panthers preseason games. As expected, there are absolutely no overreactions stemming from the on-field product.
After laying a goose egg in the first exhibition, the offense mustered up a collective 19 points in the sequel - 13 of those coming from a fourth-quarter push. The outcome of both contests, though trivial in significance, landed securely in the loss column.
If you’ve been remotely paying attention to the games and discussions following them, you’re likely familiar with the term ‘vanilla' in regards to the gameplan and play-calling on both sides of the ball for the Panthers.
The coaching staff seems to be content with strictly getting reps under the players' belts. With less opponent-specific scheming and research being done leading up to the competitions, combined with keeping the offensive and defensive structures very generic, there’s been little to write home about from a fan perspective.
While much of the attention naturally leans toward the offense - thanks in large part to being led by rookie phenom Bryce Young - the defense may be even more difficult to gauge after these initial looks of live action.
The New York Jets moved the ball with ease, despite being guided by their enigmatic second-string quarterback Zach Wilson, against the Panthers ‘starting’ defense. The New York Giants and Charlotte native, Daniel Jones, followed suit.
So, the question: is this Panthers defense as bad as it looks? Or, maybe even more appropriate to ask – is this even the Carolina defense?