This week, Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera used the term “lazy” to describe his team’s defense. I have covered the Rivera Era since the beginning, and I cannot recall a time where such harsh language was used to describe any aspect of the team. From “missed opportunities to hey these guys played lazy is a huge departure from the norm. This tells me some players currently find themselves on the hot seat. Here is my best guess as to who.
Matt Ryan was only pressured by a defensive end once on thirty three drop backs. Folks, that just does not cut it. That could indicate defensive ends like Mario Addison, We Horton, and yes even Julius Peppers are feeling a little heat. Both were noticeably absent against the Falcons. Rivera did mention that Peppers was still getting into game shape, so maybe Rivera can own a bit of the responsibility by not pushing Peppers to practice until recently.
If the Carolina Panthers continue to see little production from their starting defensive ends, you will see a younger rotation in the game early. Efe Obada made the roster based on his high motor. It may be time to turn on his ignition.
Another player that may be on the Carolina Panthers hot seat radar is Captain Munnerlyn. In two games, Munnerlyn has only posted two tackles while he has under performed. Munnerlyn has had a lukewarm relationship with the team since his return, most notably last season when he was unhappy with his playing time.
Behind Munnerlyn on the depth chart is Corn Elder who could add a spark to the defense. Elder is a young guy with a high upside who I feel just needs a chance to prove himself.
If we don’t see a major improvement this Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, these changes could take place more sooner than later. Stay tuned.