Perhaps no player in the league closed as strong as Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, who had 7.0 of his 15.0 sacks in the final two games.
But that made his shutout in the Panthers’ loss to the 49ers that much more glaring, as he prepares to enter free agency.
“It’s just one of those days. I’ve got to adjust,” Hardy said, via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. “That’s something (scheme-wise) you get when you get a lot of sacks.
“When you talk as much as I talk, you’ve got to bring it, . . . I guarantee it’s not going to work again.”
The colorful Hardy brought a lot of attention to himself on and off the field this season, and is well-position to enter the free agent market (unless the Panthers use the franchise tag). His 26.0 sacks the last two seasons are fifth-most in the league over that span, trailing only J.J. Watt, Robert Quinn, Aldon Smith and Robert Mathis.
Those guys are all elite rushers, and all have to deal with extra attention from offenses.
“It was tough. They had a great gameplan. I told the O line, they kept their composure. They got a lot of us rattled,” Hardy said. “They got a lot of good schemes going early so that we weren’t effective. The quarterback could get in a rhythm.”
With Hardy quiet and Colin Kaepernick comfortable, the 49ers were able to advance. And now Hardy has an offseason to think of a plan for dealing with such attention.