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The Panthers have struggled to stop teams when it matters the most
Charles Johnson is probably the biggest playmaker currently playing. Beason and Davis are both incredible playmakers and the Panthers have missed them greatly. But if the team is going to overcome their losses due to injury, somebody has to step up and make plays. They are young and banged up and don't have the skills to just stifle teams. Therefore, they need to create turnovers, a lot of them.
The first half of the Detroit game this past Sunday was the perfect example of how the Panthers could win games. They created turnovers on the Lions' first three possessions and led the Lions 24-7 in the second quarter. After that, the panthers created zero turnovers and gave up an astounding six touchdowns on the Lions last eight possessions.
When healthy, this defensive unit will be in pretty good shape, but unfortunately, that won't be until 2012 at the earliest. The Panthers seem to have addressed their issues on offense. They finished with the worst offense in the NFL in 2010 in points scored and yards. They drafted Newton, signed tight ends Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey and brought in Offensive Coordinator Rob Chudzinski.
Through 10 games this year, the team has made a drastic improvement on offense, currently ranking fifth in the NFL in total offense. Now, Rivera and his staff need to spend the rest of 2011 evaluating their defensive players. Then, they need to use the draft and free agency to upgrade on the defensive line and in the secondary. If the team can draft well and make a few key acquisitions, the playoffs might not be that far away for this team.