The Return of Kawann Short

Jason Hewitt

Kawann Short is one of the premier interior defensive linemen in the NFL when he is healthy. In 2018, he recorded a total of 42 combined tackles (12 tackles for loss) and three sacks. After becoming a first-team All-Pro that season, one could assume that Short would've had another year of dominance in 2019. However, he was sidelined for most of 2019 after he partially tore his rotator cuff in a Week 2 loss against the Buccaneers. Prior to the injury, Short was undeniably one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL.

What does that mean for the 2020 season?

The Matt Rhule Era has emerged in Carolina, which means that Short will have to adapt to a brand new defense. Fortunately, defensive coordinator Phil Snow has received constant praise for his brilliant football mind. Short will also have the luxury of playing next to first round draft pick Derrick Brown. The tandem of Brown and Short is likely to create nightmares for interior offensive linemen all over the league. Brown has the ability to disrupt gaps to the point where double teams are required. When this occurs, expect big plays for Short to make. 

Derrick Brown is the new Star Lotulelei for Kawann Short.

When Lotulelei was a Panther, he had massive size and otherworldly strength that made it difficult for one on one blocks to be effective. This allowed Short to make explosive plays in the backfield, which led to his eventual All-Pro nod. Let the film speak for me below:

Kawann Short has more than enough ability and work ethic to return to his All-Pro form. 

Short was devastated after experiencing his injury. In an interview with the Panthers' media team, he expressed how he felt on the sidelines in 2019.

"I tried to be vocal with what I was seeing from a fan standpoint. If there was some negative stuff, I said it without holding my tongue," Short said. "It's tough. It was even tougher not being able to help. We had the right guys. We just couldn't put it together. We know it's a win now league. That's what needs to get done."

With a new coaching staff and supporting cast on defense, Short will have another opportunity to help the Panthers win games on the field once again. Anticipate a new and improved Short in a revamped defense in 2020.

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