CHARLOTTE, N.C.- Defensive preview in Sunday's game against the Lions.
Carolina will be looking to improve on last week's impressive showing against the Baltimore Ravens. Their defensive line proved they can stop the run, and will look to make believers out of everyone that last week was no fluke. Also, this group showed they can get pressure on the quarterback. Rucker and Brenston Buckner both were able to record sacks, along with Peppers getting a tipped pass that lead to the Morgan interception. Carolina will not make any major changes from the rotating system they used last week. Peppers and Rucker will line up on the outside, and Jenkins and Buckner will take care of things in the middle.
With starting defensive tackle Luther Elliss questionable due to injury, rookie Antwan Lake will be looked at to fill a big hole in the middle. Robert Porcher can expect to see many double teams, so for the Lions' defensive line to make an impact in this game they will have to have someone to step up. The two guys that will be looked at to do that will be defensive tackle Shaun Rodgers and defensive end James Hall.
Can you say speed? Good because that is what Carolina has at this position. After a good showing last week, they too will be out prove they are for real. With no changes in this group from last week, Morgan will control the defense from the middle linebacker spot. Navies and Fields will be on the outside. This group will swarm around the ball helping shut down the running game and keeping Mikhael Ricks in check.
On the other side, the Lions' linebackers and have to control the game for there defense to be productive. They will need to slow down Lamar Smith, help with coverage on Walls and Kris Magnum. If they give the same support in the running game as they against the Dolphins, they could be in trouble. They know they have to step it up so look for a better performance. Chris Claiborne will take his spot in the middle, with Brian Williams and Barrett Green having the job of containing the edges.
This will be the most important element the of Panthers' defense this Sunday. They showed that they might not be as weak as originally thought last week, but doubt still surrounds this group. The starters will remain the same, with Terry Cousin and Reggie Howard. It is up in the air as to whom will see more playing time, Howard or Fair. Fair will be looking to get a little revenge on the team that released him just 2 weeks ago. McDaniel will also see some action when Carolina goes with a six defensive back set. Rookie Dante Wesley is returning from a sports hernia. It will be a surprise if he is even active for this game. The coaching staff will be looking to bring him back slowly. This will be a disappointment for him, but could turn out to be the best thing for him, after missing the last month. The safety position will stay the same. Mike Minter will take his place at strong safety and be looking lay out one of those bone-jarring hits. Deon Grant will line up beside him and be trying to make a play as well.
Coming back to the Carolinas is a familiar face, Eric Davis. He will be a starting cornerback for Detroit. It will be interesting to see what kind of reception he will receive from the fans. I would have to say a good one, considering he is still very popular in this area. Fellow veteran cornerback Todd Lyght will join Davis. Both will probably be tested, as Carolina will think they will be able to get by the slow and aging duo. Corey Harris and Brian Walker will be staring at safety, and will try to stop the crossing patterns that drove them and the rest of the secondary crazy against Miami.