Found August 24, 2013 on
Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott likes his unit's aggressive offensive-minded approach.
Now he just hopes it carries over to the regular season.
McDermott's vastly improved defense has produced 10 turnovers and scored four defensive touchdowns in three preseason games - three of those TD returns coming in a 34-27 win over the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night.
McDermott said the coaches have been placing added emphasis on creating turnovers this season - and apparently the players are listening.
''It's part of our philosophy that we lay out,'' McDermott said. ''We talked about it since the spring. The guys are doing a really good job with it and they take a lot of pride in it. I think that's the biggest part - they make it part of them and how they play. It's become a part of our DNA, so to speak.''
McDermott said he started to see that attitude develop within the defense late last season.
But he knows there is room for improvement.
Carolina forced only 23 turnovers in 2012 and scored only two defensive touchdowns while battling through an injury-plagued season. Now everyone is back and healthy, and McDermott said that's a huge help.
''Turnovers come in bunches. We just have to keep putting pressure on the opponent and keep attacking,'' McDermott said.
The Panthers look like a different defense since Luke Kuechly moved to middle linebacker five games into last season when Jon Beason went down with a season-ending injury.
Kuechly was all over the field against the Ravens, intercepting a pass and applying pressure on Joe Flacco that led to an interception that was returned for a touchdown. The NFL's leading tackler last season also raced through the line and forced a fumble that Thomas Davis picked up and ran 2 yards into the end zone for a touchdown.
''That's something that we practice, scooping and scoring,'' Davis said.
McDermott said Kuechly showed the mental toughness he wants when after having an interception waived off by a penalty on one play, came right back and got a pick on the next play.
''You are going to have your calls that don't go your way and you're going to be in tough situations where you have to play through it - and that's what we did,'' McDermott said.
Coach Ron Rivera said he couldn't be more impressed with Kuechly, who has become the defense's unquestioned leader.
''If he continues to grow, we'll most certainly be talking about him in the same way as those great linebackers,'' said Rivera, a former linebacker for the Chicago Bears who played with Mike Singletary.
Still Kuechly knows Carolina has areas they must improve upon.
Carolina's big defensive night overshadowed the fact the Ravens were able to take the opening kickoff and march down the field and score a touchdown against the Panthers.
''We need to start faster and at the beginning of the game and we have to get off the field on third down,'' Kuechly said.
With the defense scoring touchdowns in bunches, Rivera is hoping Cam Newton and the offense will follow suit and begin to get into the act. Carolina's first-team offense has managed just one touchdown this preseason and that came on a short field (16 yards) following a turnover.
Newton is confident that will come - and the Panthers won't have to rely solely on the defense for touchdowns.
''We know what we are capable of,'' Newton said about Carolina's offense. ''We're not showing everything we can at this point. I'm confident that everybody will play better, starting with me.''
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BEST OF MAXIM
BALTIMORE, MD – The Carolina Panthers made the most of mistakes by the defending Super Bowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens, to win at M&T Stadium, 34-27. This, however, does not mean things are good all around. For the third straight game, the first-team offense failed to produce and a pattern is emerging. (The same could be said for the Ravens as well…)
Ted Ginn, Jr. returned...
The Panthers have announced they've waived 11 players, including injured wide receiver Kealoha Pilares.
Pilares was the team's fifth-round draft pick in 2011 and but caught only two passes in two seasons with the Panthers. He did have a 101-yard kickoff return for the touchdown last year.
Like Pilares, offensive tackle Bruce Campbell and fullback Mike Zordich were also...
CHARLOTTE, NC – The Carolina Panthers, in a move to begin trimming their roster to 75 by Tuesday’s deadline, cut nine players today and placed three on the waived/ injured list.
The nine cut players were:
QB Colby Cameron, P Jordan Gay, CB Nick Hixson. K Morgan Lineberry, WR Dale Moss, DE Louis Nzegwu, LB Ryan Rau, S Ricardo Silva and G Justin Wells.
Kealoha Pilares was injured...
Mike Minter hasn't been able to stay away from football since he walked away from the NFL, and now he has his first college head coaching job.
Sure, he kept his business ventures humming along in his second hometown of Charlotte and lived off his status as one of the most popular Carolina Panthers ever. But something was missing.
''That oval brown ball,'' Minter...
During halftime of the Panthers-Ravens game Thursday night ESPN analyst Jon Gruden stepped out of the broadcast booth to take a break and like everyone watching at home to process what he’d just seen from Luke Kuechly.
In the span of three series in the second quarter the Panthers’ second-year linebacker helped create four turnovers – one that was overturned by the officials...
As a player who is on the roster bubble, Carolina Panthers running back Armond Smith was looking to make an impression during a preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night. Smith managed to capture the spotlight after his first carry, but not in a good way. After breaking off a 10-yard run and […]
Former Tuskegee Golden Tiger Drayton Florence returned an interception 71 yards in the Carolina Panthers' 34-27 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
Drayton Florence has made a lot of plays since coming into the NFL in 2003. The Tuskegee product made another one Thursday night, picking off a Joe Flacco pass and returning it 71 yards for a touchdown. That play was the first...
Panther running back Armond Smith ended up getting tossed from last night’s preseason game after stomping on the groin of Ravens linebacker Albert McClellan. After the game he did say his leg was sore. “Yeah, he kicked me, he got me,” McClellan said. “I think he thought I was holding him down. Our legs got tangled up. He hopped up and kicked me. I did my best to keep my...
Even after several NFL seasons, it was clear last night that Panthers wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. is still really fast after returning a punt for a touchdown against the Ravens.
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Carolina Panthers running back Armond Smith certainly earned the ejection he received in Thursday nights game against the Baltimore Ravens. In the 4th quarter of the game, Smith kicked Ravens backup linebacker Albert McClellan in the junk. Not sure this is the way you help yourself make an NFL team.
[The Big Lead]
Carolina Panthers running back Armond Smith kicked the Baltimore Ravens' Albert McClellan right in the crotch after he was taken to the ground.
The Panthers offense has one option, that's Cam Newton. The Packers offense has Rodgers, receivers and now Eddie Lacy to threaten a running game. While I like Cam Newton's running ability, he needs a lot more help before he starts to move past Rodgers in fantasy.
Drew Brees - Consistently at the top of the QB rankings. Look for an explosion with the return...
Good afternoon, folks! Welcome to this August 23rd, 2013 edition of Grits, Gravy, and Gumbo, your WCS source for NFC South News! All I have to say is TGIF. It’s time for some more real fun facts! The Carolina Panthers drafted a defensive tackle in the first round this year. That means they now have the best […]The post Grits, Gravy, and Gumbo: NFC South News for Friday, August...