We continue our 2010 position review Panther fans looking now at the defensive tackle (DT) position. This position was in most fans views one of the weaker positions on the team in 2010. Though you could argue the offense kept them on the field way too much the Panther leaders at defensive tackle in 2010 were hardly considered elite in 2010, more like average to pedestrian at best. Yet when you consider their two starters at the beginning fo the season were a 5th round pick and a UDFA it's hardly surprising they failed to impress. We'll take a look at each of the DTs from 2010 that made a contribution worth discussing, starting with last years game one starters:
2010 Stats: 43 tackles (30 solo) 3.0 sacks, 1 FR, 1 PD in 16 starts
Landri's 43 total tackles in 2010 led the Panthers at the position and was good for a tie at 15th among DT/NGs in the NFL.The 30 solo registered tied for 16th best overall. Essentially middle of the pack statistics overall but honestly not bad for a 5th round pick in his 5th season. Landri played the RDT position with usually a one gap assignment. Often he succeeded at getting in the backfield only to miss the tackle for loss. The fact is the Panthers got all they could have hoped for from Landri in 2010 which unfortunately was not near enough.
2010 Stats: 22 Tackles (15 solo) 2 PDs, 1 INT in 6 starts and 12 games
The Panthers took a flyer on Johnson in 2010 in hopes he could regain his rookie form but instead they mostly got the same guy the Colts cut after 2009. At one point Johnson was inactive and in John Fox's doghouse for unspecified reasons for a game here and there. We can only assume it was for a lack of production. He did have one very good game against the Bengals (6 tackles) but otherwise was pedestrian in his 12 games. His biggest play of the season was picking off a pass against Jay Cutler (imagine that) that was the epitome of a blind squirrel finding a nut. As the LDT or under tackle (or even NG) as some call it in a 4-3, Johnson job was to engage blockers, preferably more than one and allow the Panther LBs the lanes to stuff the running game. To this end Johnson was effective for short periods of a game but he wore down as the season progressed. He sat the last two games, with an injury I believe but have no desire to actually look it up!
2010 Stats: 31 tackles (20 solo) 1 sack, 1 PD in 10 starts and 14 games
Once Ed Johnson lost his starting job Hayden got the call and essentially made the most of his limited athletic ability, at least when it comes to playing the LDT spot. Hayden is vastly under sized for what he was asked to do but I will say the kid played with the proverbial non-stop motor. Problem was too often on 3rd and short he simply could not hold the point of attack.
2010 Stats: 10 tackles (8 solo) in 7 games
The undrafted rookie from Temple beat the odds when he made the final roster cut down last season. In his short time on the field he flashed some ability to get up field and make plays as a one gap penetrator. Consequently given his status as probably the last guy to make the roster I give him the highest grade of the group for making us notice him towards the end of the season when we could barely what was unfolding before our eyes.
2010 Stats: 4 Tackles (3 solo) in 2 games
It's hard to grade a guy that has hardly seen the field in two seasons, the first lost to injury and the 2nd continuing to recover. It doesn't bode well that he could garner more playing time sitting behind such a weak group of players.
2010 Stats: 2 tackles (1 solo) in 2 games
In what seemed like a value pick-up prior to the 2009 season from Cleveland Leonard played in two games in 2010 before cutting cut after week 3.