The Carolina Panthers have had one of the most surprising 2013 NFL seasons of any team in the league. While many people expected them to be competitive, it’s hard to imagine that anyone saw them having control of the NFC South heading into week 17 of the season, coming off of a big victory over the New Orleans Saints in week 16.
However, that’s exactly where the Panthers stand right now and that is largely due to the play of their defense. Sure, quarterback Cam Newton has grown up a ton as a player and a leader this season and was a deserving selection to the Pro Bowl roster which was announced on Friday. The defense of Carolina has been the lifeblood of the Panthers’ success this season.
The Panthers’ defense was also rewarded in the Pro Bowl selections with second-year linebacker Luke Kuechly earning his first selection of his career and with defensive lineman Greg Hardy getting the Pro Bowl nod as well. However, you have to feel like those two selections weren’t enough for this Panthers defense that leads the NFL in terms of points allowed per game this season at just 14.7 per game.
Though you probably wouldn’t nominate anyone from Carolina’s secondary to be in the Pro Bowl, one candidate that was deserving of a selection to help further represent the Panthers’ defense is linebacker Thomas Davis. Sure, Kuechly has been the star of Carolina’s linebacker core, but that doesn’t change that Davis has been a force stopping the run, rushing the passer, and has also been solid in defending in coverage as well.
Davis being left off of the Pro Bowl roster isn’t an unforgivable offense by any measure, but there’s definitely a case to be made that he belonged on the roster as well. However, the best case to be made is that this Panthers defense deserved to be recognized beyond just two players being selected to the Pro Bowl.