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What Is The State Of The Panthers Defense Without Jon Beason?

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You've probably heard that the Carolina Panthers have lost one of their star defensive players, LB Jon Beason, for the season with a torn Achilles. Their defense didn't get off to a great start to the 2011 NFL season anyway, as QB Kevin Kolb put up some big numbers in his Cardinals debut. 

Here are the questions I asked Jaxon of Cat Scratch Reader about their defense, and their new head coach who's previously been a linebackers coach and defensive coordinator.

Q: I'm familiar with their great pass rushing DE Charles Johnson, but tell me about DE Greg Hardy. He doesn't have a lot of size, but he seems to be explosive off the edge.

A: We are very excited about DE Greg Hardy and I’m not sure I would call him undersized. He’s 6’4" and around 280lbs. As you pointed out he is also fast off the edge and as he was cooking Cardinals LT Levi Brown he reminded me of a former Panther DE we used to have… but his name escapes me ;) Oh, and we have a nickname for Hardy that honestly I don’t understand where it came from…the Kraken, as in "Release the Kraken!"   

Q: How will the defense play without Jon Beason? Did they lose a great player and a team leader too?

A: There is no replacing the leadership of a guy like Jon Beason. Just read his latest post in response to his season ending injury to get a flavor of what he brings to the locker room. On the field I think the Panthers will be okay. LB Dan Conner is a tackling machine on 1stand 2nd down and former Eagle Omar Gaither is more than capable in coverage. Well, at least I’m trying to remain positive.


Q: What's the verdict on new head coach Ron Rivera? He must seem like a relief to have around after things got so cold between the team and John Fox last season.

A: ‘Relief’ is an understatement. Rivera is a straight shooter who doesn’t mince words and has made it clear who is in charge. We actually have creativity on both sides of the ball and a roster full of guys that have quickly bought into his game plan. What I love the most about Rivera is that he expects to win and win now. Being a former NFL LB as well we call him BAMF.