With the addition of Ron Meeks as the Panthers new defensive coordinator, this year's Panthers defense looks to be much improved in the areas of mental and physical toughness as well as executing plays.
The Panthers have trimmed their sails of Ken Lucas and will do so even more in the near future of Julius Peppers. In my mind's eye, the trading of Peppers does not have as significant of an impact overall as opposed to keeping someone who doesn't want to be there.
There is still plenty of talent on the Panthers defense, and they all work well together. What's more important however, is after the loss to the Cardinals, every member on defense has been left for an entire offseason with a horrible taste in their mouths, and are looking to rectify an atrocious ending to a bountiful '08 season.