The Panthers are 1-4 after a sluggish performance against the Buccaneers on Monday night and there are plenty of places to point in an attempt to explain why things haven’t gone their way after a run to the NFC title last year.
There’s been poor pass protection, a slew of turnovers, injuries to starting players and subpar play in the secondary, to name a few of those areas that have fallen short. On Tuesday, coach Ron Rivera added another suggestion to the pile.
Rivera said that he thinks some of the team’s key players have been trying to do too much to push the team in a better direction. He said players are “tending toward trying to make things happen instead of just being disciplined” and that negative plays are happening as a result.
“Some of our guys that didn’t play well, they played hard, but in some cases too hard, trying to make plays and trying to do things that aren’t their job. Because of that, we made a few more errors,” Rivera said, via the team’s website. “We’re pressing. There’s a lot of pressure, a lot of expectations, and these are things that we have to make sure we understand. Take care of your job first.”
While Rivera didn’t name names, he did suggest the front seven on defense is a place where the pressing is happening by noting that they had “a couple of guys vacate their gaps” to open up holes for Jacquizz Rodgers to run through in the loss to the Bucs. The defensive front was a major strength for Carolina last season and is one of the areas falling short as the team allows over a touchdown more per game than they did last season.