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Andre Neblett (68)
The Carolina Panthers were abysmal against the run in 2011, allowing 130.8 rushing yards per game a season ago.
Their inability to stuff opposing running backs for most of the season—they allowed seven different 100-yard rushers in 2011—had as much to do with the poor play of the interior defensive line as it did the loss of their best two linebackers, Jon Beason and Thomas Davis.
Carolina's only true veteran on the interior line last season, Ron Edwards, tore his triceps and was lost for the season in his first training-camp practice with the team, so the Panthers turned to a pair of rookies, Sione Fua and Terrell McClain, to shore up the defensive front.
Barring another injury, the Panthers will have a healthy Edwards in 2012, and Fua and McClain will be joined by Andre Neblett and Frank Kearse in the defensive line rotation.
Carolina will get an early test of their ability to stop the run in their first and third preseason games against the Houston Texans and the New York Jets.
Jimmy Grappone is a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Carolina Panthers.
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