Controlling the Center:
It’s clear that Carolina’s strength originates from their defensive dominance. The key to this dominance is the Panthers’ center—the NFL’s best front seven.
This front seven is plain scary, punishing opposing offenses by stymieing the run game and persistently pressuring quarterbacks. Directed by the league’s best linebacker core (Luke Kuechly & +Thomas Davis) and anchored by newly added hog mollies (Star Lotulelei & Kwan Short), Carolina has opened attack lanes for one of the league’s best pass rushes (Charles Johnson & Greg Hardy).
Carolina’s pass rush is equally intimidating. Charles “Big $$” Johnson earns his paper each week, and Greg Hardy is playing like he wants Big $$’s nickname.
It seems as if these two explode off the edge on every play, while the big hog mollies attack the center. Both Star and Short have added to the Panthers defensive versatility tremendously .
Carolina’s strategy of controlling the center has bought time for the offensive to mature, allowing the team to develop a signature identity.
Panther Ranking (NFL Overall )
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Well we have learned a lot about Rivera’s Panthers since then. They were not what we thought they were—they are even better!
Newton’s development, however, can also be seen is his demeanor. Newton looks serious on the field, poised in the pocket, and mesmerizing on the run. Newton simply looks comfortable both on the field and off. Cam has given us some pretty painful post-game press conferences in the past. This year he has been charismatic, mature, accountable, and confident in post game press conferences. Newton’s teammates continue to attest to his leadership and character. Carolina invested in the face of a franchise, and it looks like the Panthers are receiving the dividends.