I stumbled upon this Q & A with Panthers DC Sean McDermott in the Shelby Star and thought I had to share immediately. McDermott is immediately asked to the obvious question and he gives the expected, canned answer:
Q. Ron Rivera said you were discussing some defensive personnel changes. Are you at liberty to say who that might be?
McDermott: I don’t think we’ve come to that conclusion yet on those changes or if we’re going to make changes at all. What we’re trying to find is the right combination of players, the right combination of calls and that starts with me. And then you’ll see those (lineup) changes, if any, on Wednesday."
Wednesday? So we should find out shortly if there are any changes forthcoming? Doesn't seem like I remember line up changes being announced so early unless it's the QB position, but hey, let's keep our ear to the ground. We've got some other choice material regarding the Panthers use of the 3-4 defense in the Q & A:
Q. Who would you anticipate the outside backers being in that 3-4?
McDermott: When we played it yesterday it was Charles (Johnson) and Antwan on the outside and James (Anderson) and Dan (Connor) inside.
Seems Applewhite got a lot of snaps against the Sunday's and I now see why. He has the coaches confidence he can move from a 4-3 DE to the 3-4 OLB as a pre-snap adjustment. So I assume Fields or Kearse was at NG and McClain and Hardy at DE?
If you think the Panthers might completely switch to a 3-4 base defense McDermott throws water on that notion:
Q. Would it be possible at this point in the season to have that be the base?
McDermott: At this point in the season I think it’s a little early for that. The better we get at it, the more time we spend on it and the more reps we have in practice on it the more that would be a possibility, yes.
When I look at a player like Antwan Applewhite I see a guy that represents to personnel void we have in 3-4 personnel. The Panthers have specifically added guys like Applewhite and Kearse to fit the 3-4 base defense so we know it's in their long term plans. Might we actually be able to build a line-up that can switch back and forth between the two defenses freely? That seems like a tall order for sure but I'm thinking we have the right coaches in place to make it happen.