Bob Donnan/USA TODAY

Carolina Panthers Excel in Big-Play Pass Defense

Since 2009 the players, and even coaches, have changed for the Carolina Panthers. However, one thing that has not changed is the defense's ability to excel in three categories in pass defense: interceptions, sacks and limiting big pass plays.

The Carolina Panthers will have a number of new faces in their secondary but hope to have the same results that they have had since 2009 in their pass defense, leading the league in big-play pass defense. The chart, compiled by Packer Report's Bill Huber, shows interceptions (and ranking), sacks (and ranking), 20-yard pass plays allowed (and ranking), with the cumulative ranking in the final column, since 2009.

Big-Play Pass Defense Since 2009

TEAM INTRankSACKRank20 YDSRankTOTAL
1. Carolina 122 5 276 9 315 5 19
2. Cincinnati 120 6 262 14 306 3 23
3. Buffalo 130 3 257 18 306 3 24
4. Green Bay 148 1 288 4 367 22 27
5. Seattle 120 7 252 21 298 2 30
6. Denver 101 18 289 3 328 10 31
7. Pittsburgh 92 26 282 6 293 1 33
8. San Francisco 120 8 262 17 329 11 36
9. Arizona 127 4 273 10 375 25 39
9. Houston 100 19 263 12 325 8 39
11. New England 131 2 281 7 420 32 41
12. N.Y. Jets 96 22 262 14 319 6 42
12. St. Louis 91 27 293 2 335 13 42
14. Baltimore 102 16 270 11 344 17 44
15, Minnesota 82 31 298 1 337 14 46
16. Kansas City 105 14 257 18 342 16 48
16. Philadelphia 117 12 286 5 392 31 48
18. Detroit 99 20 262 14 341 15 49
18. N.Y. Giants 119 10 263 12 379 27 49
20. Chicago 119 9 248 23 353 19 51
21. Tampa Bay 116 13 213 30 329 11 54
22. Tennessee 103 15 253 20 357 20 55
23. Miami 97 21 278 8 381 28 57
24. Cleveland 101 17 239 29 344 17 63
24. Indianapolis 90 28 243 28 324 7 63
26. Atlanta 117 11 194 32 358 21 64
26. San Diego 90 29 245 26 326 9 64
28. New Orleans 92 25 245 26 358 21 72
29. Dallas 94 23 247 24 377 26 73
30. Washington 93 24 252 21 384 29 74
31. Jacksonville 83 30 203 31 374 24 85
32. Oakland 81 32 246 25 388 30 87

Big-Play Pass Defense: 2015

The chart shows interceptions (and ranking), sacks (and ranking), 20-yard pass plays allowed (and ranking), with the cumulative ranking in the final column, from 2015.

TEAM INTRankSACKRank20 YDSRankTOTAL
1. Kansas City 22 2 47 4 45 4 10
2. Cincinnati 21 3 42 9 39 1 13
3. Denver 14 13 52 1 40 2 16
4. Green Bay 16 9 43 7 46 5 21
5. Carolina 24 1 44 6 53 16 23
5. Pittsburgh 17 6 48 3 52 14 23
7. Houston 14 13 45 5 48 8 26
8. Minnesota 13 17 43 7 47 6 30
9. Tampa Bay 11 21 38 14 44 3 38
9. St. Louis 13 17 41 11 50 10 38
11. Tennessee 11 21 39 12 47 6 39
11. Seattle 14 13 37 17 49 9 39
13. N.Y. Jets 18 5 39 12 59 27 44
14. Arizona 19 4 36 20 56 22 46
14. New England 12 20 49 2 57 24 46
16. Oakland 14 13 38 14 56 22 49
16. Philadelphia 15 11 37 17 55 21 49
18. Atlanta 15 11 19 32 50 10 53
19. Miami 13 17 31 25 53 16 58
20. Indianapolis 17 6 35 22 64 31 59
21. Baltimore 6 32 37 17 51 12 61
21. Cleveland 11 21 29 28 51 12 61
21. San Diego 11 21 32 24 53 16 61
21, Washington 11 21 38 14 58 26 61
25. Detroit 9 26 42 9 59 27 62
25. Jacksonville 9 26 36 20 53 16 62
27. Buffalo 17 6 21 31 59 27 64
28. Chicago 8 30 35 22 52 14 66
29. Dallas 8 30 31 25 53 16 71
29. N.Y. Giants 15 11 23 30 63 30 71
31. San Francisco 9 26 28 29 57 24 79
32. New Orleans 9 26 31 25 64 31 82

The Panthers dropped a bit in 2015, finishing fifth in the league which was due in large part to finishing 16th overall in 20-yard passes allowed. The team though led the way again in interceptions with 24 due in large part to Kurt Coleman who led the way with seven. Luke KuechlyThomas Davis and Josh Norman each finished with four.

The fact that three of the four players who led the team in this category are returning certainly should give this defense hope that they can still play at a high level in this category. However, there will be more pressure on this front seven to make it difficult for opposing quarterbacks in the pocket.

The pass rush was carried last year by Kawann Short with 11 but a healthy Charles Johnson and an emerging Kony Ealy should really help this group. While the rankings might change in these three categories, this Panthers' defense should remain at the top in this statistic. 

Twitter @BrandonCroce

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