Bravvion Roy & Zach Kerr Must Step Up with Short Ruled OUT
The Carolina Panthers really struggled to generate any form of a pass rush last Sunday against the Raiders and did not record a single sack on QB Derek Carr. Heading into week two, pressure is something the Panthers have focused on throughout the week in practice. Unfortunately, starting defensive tackle Kawann Short (foot) and backup defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos (concussion) will be ruled out for this week's game.
Short has the ability to disrupt the pocket from the interior of the line and although first round draft pick Derrick Brown will pick up the slack, rotational guys such as Zach Kerr and rookie Bravvion Roy are going to see an uptick in snaps.
"I thought Bravvion handled himself well in there. First pro football game, he was stout against the run," defensive coordinator Phil Snow stated. "The younger guys have a harder time rushing the passer with the veteran offensive linemen. The Raiders were good inside at center and guard so he'll get better every week rushing, but I thought he held his own. He'll get better every week."
Head coach Matt Rhule said that the decision to rule Short out for this week was precautionary as the medical staff thought it was in his best interest not to play this week. Although the Panthers will be without one of their most experienced defensive players, Rhule feels like the next guys up (Kerr and Roy) are ready for the challenge.
"I thought Bravvion played really well last week. He's energetic, he's got a lot of great characteristics, he's explosive, he can run. His role was already sort of extending. Zach Kerr will get the start and Bravvion will play a lot."
Kerr is another player that Rhule really likes and is someone that gives the Panthers flexibility as he can play both inside and out.
"Zach's a big powerful man. He can move, he plays hard and he's a tremendous energetic teammate, charismatic guy. I think he brings a lot both physically and personally to the game. I have full confidence in his ability to go out there and play well.
Kerr played 24 defensive snaps in week one, but did not record any stats.
Despite not being able to play in Sunday's game, Rhule said that Short will still travel with the team and explained why it is important for him to be with them.
"Because he's a captain. He can continue to get treatment, he can continue to work with our medical staff while he's down there. His impact on this team is more than just him going out there and playing, he's a voice that people listen to."
The Panthers will have their hands full this Sunday trying to slow down a potent Tampa Bay offense led by iconic quarterback Tom Brady. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. on FOX.