It has taken some time and a few personnel changes for the Carolina Panthers’ defensive line to be up to speed to where it once was. The fact that no one around the league appears to fear the front four gives the defensive linemen that much more reason to go out each and every week and make a name for themselves.
“Nobody really gave us a chance. Nobody knew who we were,” defensive lineman Greg Hardy said, according to the Charlotte Observer. “We took the approach where we’re not underdogs as far as the D-line. We’re the tempo-setters. I feel like coming out of last year and into this year, that’s our same approach and it’s helping us get a little name.
“Coaches are respecting us more; offensive lines are scheming for us. But we’re not going to let that get in our way. We’re not going to be distracted by it. We’re going to come out and prepare like we’re those same guys that nobody respects.”
The Panthers were able to get after quarterback Russell Wilson and sack him twice in their Week 1 loss. Star defensive lineman Charles Johnson was the only member of the front four to record a sack. Carolina is hoping that it will be a different storyline in Week 2 against the Buffalo Bills.
There is no question the Panthers must get after rookie quarterback EJ Manuel if they want to record their first win of the season. It will certainly be a difficult task as the Bills were able to protect their young signal caller against the New England Patriots, who employ a decent pass rush.
Carolina will ride the arm of Cam Newton and the offense against Buffalo. With that being said, it will be up to the defense to make stops and get him the ball.