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No quick fix for Panthers' defense

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Dan Parr
Associate editor

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Posted Oct. 22, 2011 @ 8:15 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

Head coach Ron Rivera has tried personnel changes in the front seven. He's mixing in more 3-4 looks along with the Panthers' standard 4-3 to try to confuse offenses, too, but Carolina's defense is ranked in the bottom third of the league against the run and in points allowed. The season-ending injuries suffered by starting LBs Jon Beason and Thomas Davis in the first two weeks of the season were significant setbacks, and they have forced Cam Newton and the offense to light up the scoreboard more often to keep Carolina in games. It's not exactly the situation that Rivera, who was a defensive coordinator for 5½ seasons, had in mind heading into his first year at the helm, but sources around the league say the problem with Carolina's defense is the personnel. The Panthers are starting two rookie third-round picks at defensive tackle, and backups are starting at two of the three LB positions. A lack of quality depth on "D" has been exposed.

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