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Why the Panthers Didn't Start DT Derrick Brown vs Miami

The former first round pick filled in as a rotational guy on Sunday.

If you thought something looked different with the Panthers' defense on Sunday against Maimi, you probably noticed that 2020 1st round pick Derrick Brown was not in the starting lineup. Brown has been very inconsistent since coming into the league but has had his moments where you can see how the Panthers believe he could be one of the better interior defensive linemen of the future. 

Head coach Matt Rhule said earlier last week he sat down with Brown and had a detailed conversation about what they want/need him to do to be successful. During that meeting, he informed Brown that he would not start against the Dolphins, marking just the second game of his short two-year career where he did not start.

"Besides with his position coach, I met with him one on one last Wednesday morning at like 7 a.m., I met with him after the game. I think he was just as disappointed as we were but I think there was some growth from his perspective in terms of understanding if I do these things, I'll be successful. You go through this adversity, these ups and downs, and some guys stray from the process of being technique-driven and some guys go back to it. I think Derrick was starting to stray from it and it looks like this week, based on the tape, that he got back to it and did an excellent job in there."

Over the past two games, the Panthers have done a poor job of stopping the run and at times, the run game has given Carolina a ton of issues this season. Much of that has to do with guys not staying in their gaps up front, including Brown. According to Rhule, Brown bounced back in a nice way against Miami. 

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"Derrick didn't play very well the week before. I made the decision to not start him hoping that he would respond. Derrick responded it looks like on tape, he played a really good game. He's a young player that just needs consistency to his game. Sometimes when you're a young player and you're drafted high, you put a lot of pressure on yourself to get more sacks and have more production, then you get away from the fundamentals. When you realize that I'm going to have production if I stick to my fundamentals and get in a great stance and get my techniques...I think you saw a guy in Derrick that went out and did that. I'm very excited about Derrick Brown and his future but I put DaQuan [Jones] out there in the 3-technique this past game."

So far this season, Brown has recorded 31 tackles, four tackles for loss, five QB hits, four pass deflections, and two sacks. 

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