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Defensive Line

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There were a lot of positives that can be taken from the loss. The team overall played a great game and almost won. But one thing was very clear weather the Panthers won or lost last night, the defensive line has issues and a lot of it is coming from the middle.

To be honest, I was actually pleased with the performance of the DEs. Brayton is a much better DE than I think anyone here thought and Johnson is coming along nicely. The problem last night was with the interior of the line.

The obvious thought is that Kemo was out and that was the difference maker. I agree. But the problem is that Kemo is a 350 pound DT and is hard to replace. If stopping the run is dependant on Kemo shouldn't it be a priority to also have at least a comparable backup?

I also question Lewis in this scheme. He has played okay in the starting role but just seems to be more of a backup. Actually, having him as Kemo's backup seemed to have been the perfect situation. But without Jenkins, Lewis isn't there to replace Kemo on 3rd downs or when Kemo is injuried.

Last night exposed a big weakness in the Panthers defense. Most fans probably saw this weeks ago but when Kemo went down and Lewis as well left the game the opposing team was able to exploit this weakness.

Every team is going to have soft spots. There is no way to get around it. But when your entire defensive scheme is based on the ability stop the run and apply pressure, having that weak spot in the middle of your defensive line just isn't smart.

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The Giants blocking scheme was heavily geared to stopping Peppers. Most nights we'd have had the personnel to raise ruckus in the face of that. Last night? Just didn't happen.

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I said in another thread, but everyone knew DT was our worst position in depth, and luckily we were OK till the late weeks. We'll get a DT in the 2nd round draft, I'm sure. I think Lewis is fine with Kemo but without Kemo, Lewis is iffy and also Lewis was hurt too.

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