Fox tweaks defensive line alignment

Coach John Fox talked a little about how he will use his defensive line personnel.

"When we drafted Julius (Peppers), he had been a right end in college. We (already) had Mike Rucker, who was a young, aspiring player at that point. After we drafted Julius, we switched him over to the left," Fox said. "With Mike gone now, we'll take a look at Julius on the right and get him acclimated to that. We may even play him at both just to move him around so offenses can't get a beat on him. Then we've got two young players in Stanley McClover and Charles Johnson, who started toward the end of last year that we like. We went out and got a defensive end from Oakland, Tyler Brayton, who we think is going to be a good player and was actually a first-round pick coming out (of college). At the end position, we took Hilee Taylor from North Carolina (in the seventh round). He's a 4.5 guy that's an excellent pass-rush situation guy, and we were pretty deficient on third down (last year). We were in the bottom third of the League in third-down defense last year, which is an area we have to get better at, rushing the passer with a four-man rush, and we think he's going to help address that. Inside, kind of the same thing. We wanted to get a little bit smaller and a little bit more athletic and quick as far as rushing the passer. That's an area we dropped off. We think we're big enough with Maake (Kemoeatu) and we'll compliment him with Damione Lewis and then some younger and quicker guys inside as well."

So does all of that mean the Panthers will be more aggressive and blitz more this season?

"We ran into a situation last year where we were not as good as we had been. I think we've addressed some of that with our youth," Fox said. "But when you are playing a game and you're down 20, you're down 10, you're down 14, you don't get as many of those pin your ears back opportunities. I think, statistically, when you look at runs and passes, we were a little bit of a victim of that defensively. We were not able to score a lot of points. In six of our nine losses, we didn't score an offensive touchdown. When you're behind in games and they are running the football every play, it's really hard to stick out."

Panther Insider Top Stories