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what went wrong with the panthers run defense?


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#1 rayzor

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 09:58 AM

aside from injuries, anyway...

from an article from an inferior site using stats from footballoutsiders that P55 has mentioned before but i can't remember which threads.

The Carolina Panthers' defense had two Achilles heels in 2011, which led to such a lackluster unit; the first was the lack of ability and tackling from the defensive backs, while the second was the defensive line who were unable to generate a reliable pass rush, and unable to stop the run.
It will take a few more weeks for the advanced statisticians to get us detailed metrics on each player on the defensive line, but what we know already is where the glaring weakness is in stopping the run. As it stands we have run defense stats based on where our opponents got their gains, courtesy of Football Outsiders.

Left end (ROLB reponsibility): 3.93 YPC, 10th in the NFL
Left tackle (Charles Johnson responsibility): 3.96 YPC, 13th in the NFL
Mid/Guard (NT/DT responsibility): 4.53 YPC, 31st in the NFL
Right tackle (Greg Hardy responsibility): 5.62 YPC, 32nd in the NFL
Right end (James Anderson responsibility): 5.63 YPC, 32nd in the NFL

This paints a clear picture of where the weaknesses were for the Panthers in stopping the run in 2011, and what needs to be worked on.

The common belief was that it was up the gut where the Panthers were getting demolished this season, however the reality was it was the right edge where Carolina really failed. In the above list I only singled out players who started over 75% of games at their position, hence the changes at DT and ROLB. Also, while it is the outside linebacker's responsibility to make a play run to the outside, it's also incumbent upon the DE to help seal the edge, and the CB to help as needed.

What we see is that Greg Hardy really let down the right side on the line on running downs. This was coupled with Anderson who was a tackling machine when players got near him, however he did not close quickly enough on running downs which routinely allowed players to get to the second level.

In terms of the mid runs we have major room to make up, 31st in the NFL is abysmal, but we'll look at that further when we can see how Terrell McClain, Sione Fua, Andre Neblett, Jason Shirley and Frank Kearse all did individually, that will happen in time.

one thing i did see when i looked at the percentages of how often the ball was getting run in each direction

of the 391 RB carries against the panthers D
LEFT END - 11%
LEFT TACKLE - 14%
MID/GUARD- 50%
RIGHT TACKLE -12%
RIGHT END- 13%

i'm looking forward to seeing the individual stats on those guys in the middle.

as much as i hate it, hardy may need upgrading. i think he's good/decent as a pass rusher, but a bit of a liability in the run game.

not sure what anderson's problem was. maybe he'll perform better when beason is back in the middle.

Edited by rayzor, 31 January 2012 - 10:05 AM.


#2 csx

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 10:07 AM

Hardy definitely needs upgrading IMO. I was pretty excited to see him step up this season.

#3 rmoneyg35

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 10:12 AM

Thanks for the stats. I do feel that Ron Rivera will fix our defense I mean if you look at his history with his past teams he has improved the teams D after the first year as a defensive coordinator.

I like Hardy but its no secret that he sucks vs. the run. I say give him one more year and if he doesn't improve then we need to get a new DE. I also think that guys like aApplewhite and Kieser could fight for the starting DE spot. I think Rivera will fix whatever he feels is the problem on defense.

Also one weakness about hardy I read when we drafted him is that he has the Julius Peppers syndrome where he takes plays off and doesn't give all plays 100% effort.

I also don't understand is this a knock on how bad Anderson is or how bad Hardy is making Anderson look? I also like seeing that Johnson is doing well considering how beat up our LB corp was. I do think having Beason back next season will really help us out a lot. I would honestly love to see us get a vet LB should Davis not return.

Yes I do have some faith that Davis will try to make it next year.

Once again thanks for these stats and keep more coming.

#4 jtnc

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 10:14 AM

Still want a DE upgrade, bring Hardy in for passing situations.

#5 rmoneyg35

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 10:22 AM

Still want a DE upgrade, bring Hardy in for passing situations.


I could agree with that but do we need to upgrade or give Applewhite, Keiser and maybe Norwood a chance? I loved Applewhite and I can't honestly say whether or not either one is good against the run but I believe we have good enough ends to not have to worry about making it a priority to draft or sign a new player.

#6 carpanfan96

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 10:24 AM

Thanks for the stats. I do feel that Ron Rivera will fix our defense I mean if you look at his history with his past teams he has improved the teams D after the first year as a defensive coordinator.

I like Hardy but its no secret that he sucks vs. the run. I say give him one more year and if he doesn't improve then we need to get a new DE. I also think that guys like aApplewhite and Kieser could fight for the starting DE spot. I think Rivera will fix whatever he feels is the problem on defense.

Also one weakness about hardy I read when we drafted him is that he has the Julius Peppers syndrome where he takes plays off and doesn't give all plays 100% effort.

I also don't understand is this a knock on how bad Anderson is or how bad Hardy is making Anderson look? I also like seeing that Johnson is doing well considering how beat up our LB corp was. I do think having Beason back next season will really help us out a lot. I would honestly love to see us get a vet LB should Davis not return.

Yes I do have some faith that Davis will try to make it next year.

Once again thanks for these stats and keep more coming.




Anderson's stat there is a mix of Hardy, Anderson trying to do to much and finally a lack of DB help. It's mainly that Hardy is that bad against the run and as always been that bad at sealing the edge. I've been saying for months that we need to upgrade DE and move Hardy to be a 3rd down pass rush specialist.

Hardy just isn't a starting quality DE in the NFL, because he doesn't get run defense and sealing the edge.

#7 Paintballr

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 10:25 AM

A stat that I want to see is how the runs up the middle improved or got worse once the two rookies went out on IR. That will tell a bigger story....

#8 panthers55

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 10:26 AM

This is exactly the reason I said we need a dominant DE more than we do a DT. The DE has to funnel things back inside and seals the edge. That allows Anderson to better contain the outside run as he doesn't have to worry about everything being taken out wide where teams could run all day especially on the right side.

I had high hopes that Hardy would improve this year in run defense but he didn't. Hopefully his third year will be magic since most rookie DEs (which we would get through the draft) don't make a big impact.

#9 carpanfan96

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 10:26 AM

A stat that I want to see is how the runs up the middle improved or got worse once the two rookies went out on IR. That will tell a bigger story....



Give me a minute and I'll pull some stats from the last few games.

#10 Paintballr

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 10:28 AM

Give me a minute and I'll pull some stats from the last few games.


Thanks pi and rep coming

#11 rmoneyg35

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 10:30 AM

Well one positive thing to think about is that it was only Hardy's 2nd year and I have noticed that a lot of times it can take about 3 years for a DE to fully develop. IF he doesn't improve next season then we might should try to get another DE that is also depending on how other DEs play next year as well. I also think that Beason and another LB (I'm hoping Davis) could make up for Hardy's lack of run support next season.

#12 Brandon

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 10:36 AM

I'd love to see the breakdown of when Keiser and Applewhite were in there. I may just have to go back and watch the games myself to see what was going on.

#13 rayzor

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 10:37 AM

This is exactly the reason I said we need a dominant DE more than we do a DT. The DE has to funnel things back inside and seals the edge. That allows Anderson to better contain the outside run as he doesn't have to worry about everything being taken out wide where teams could run all day especially on the right side.

I had high hopes that Hardy would improve this year in run defense but he didn't. Hopefully his third year will be magic since most rookie DEs (which we would get through the draft) don't make a big impact.

here's the deal w/ me, though.

while it's obvious that we were worst as far as ypa is concerned on the right side, we were still abysmal in the middle. we were 32nd in the league on the right side but in the middle we were still 31st. what makes that an even bigger concern is that 55% of all RB carries were up the gut.

both DE and DT are needed. we need a big run stuffer in the middle in addition to edwards (who is still an unknown commodity at this point) and we need someone who can help seal off the edge.

#14 rmoneyg35

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 10:39 AM

here's the deal w/ me, though.

while it's obvious that we were worst as far as ypa is concerned on the right side, we were still abysmal in the middle. we were 32nd in the league on the right side but in the middle we were still 31st. what makes that an even bigger concern is that 55% of all RB carries were up the gut.

both DE and DT are needed. we need a big run stuffer in the middle in addition to edwards (who is still an unknown commodity at this point) and we need someone who can help seal off the edge.


true but didn't our run game improve near the end of the season with Kearse and Shirley? Also wouldn't a good DT help out both the right and left sides as well as the linebackers?

#15 Kuech the Sneak

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 10:53 AM

true but didn't our run game improve near the end of the season with Kearse and Shirley? Also wouldn't a good DT help out both the right and left sides as well as the linebackers?


Kearse Shirley and Neblett all improved the run defense and actually produced a pass rush up the middle, them paired with Fua McClain and Edwards should be a good camp battle, but we could stand to upgrade them. As of right now I could see us going into next year with Edwards at NT and Neblett at the 3 tech


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