CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It was an uncharacteristic performance by the Panthers defense in their 31-24 loss in Atlanta.
- Players said this week the performance is not indicative of who they are as a defense
- Panthers face the Bengals Sunday at 1 p.m.
Carolina allowed its first 100-yard rusher in 21 games as Tevin Coleman ran for 107 yards on 16 carries. In all, the team allowed 442 yards and four touchdowns. Players said this week the performance is not indicative of who they are as a defense.
“It’s very correctable (the mistakes made Sunday). It’s not like, ‘Oh we don’t need this person on this team, we got to cut them,’ or anything like that,” said defensive tackle Kawann Short. “We're all capable of doing our job. We came back and we fixed it and we looked good out there (in practice) today.”
While a return to form could be all that cures the defense, they face a Bengals offense that ranks fourth in points per game (34), and a quarterback-receiver duo in Andy Dalton and A.J. Green that is third and first in touchdown passes and receptions respectively.
“He checks all the boxes for a receiver,” said Panthers cornerback James Bradberry.
The Bengals have been moving Green around the field more than in previous seasons, many times lining up as a slot receiver, which means Bradberry may not always be covering him.
“Sometimes I may not be able to match-up with him just cause he’s in the slot, and sometimes on third down when we go man (coverage), I’ll be able to go inside. But, you know, we’ll see,” said Bradberry.
Head Coach Ron Rivera explained the type of problems moving a receiver like Green can create.
“I think they are moving him around is to try and create opportunities for him,” said Rivera. “You just have to have a package that can counter it. But the thing you got to be careful too is you can’t get stuck on one guy. We had a little bit of that on Sunday against Atlanta.”
Rivera was referring to Falcons wideout Julio Jones who the Panthers held to five catches for 64 yards and no touchdowns.
Added Short, “You know when teams like this are this comfortable, you just have to go out and show your true ability. Stop the run first and make them one dimensional and get after them in the pass game. Everybody’s got to play together, communicate and make tackles.”
The Panthers host Cincinnati this Sunday in Charlotte at 1 p.m.