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Beefing up: The state of the Panthers defense



CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CHARLOTTE SPORTS LIVE) – While the Panthers’ offense has been getting most of the attention this offseason, it’s easy to forget Carolina’s defense is in the midst of a major overhaul.

After finishing 11th worst overall in the league last year, they have a new coordinator in Ejiro Evero, new players, and a new scheme.

“You can’t fix it all in one year to get that all ideal pieces when you make that shift from a 4-3 to a 3-4, but we have pieces that can cover in there,” said general manager Scott Fitterer.

One guy Fitterer can count on is Shaq Thompson.

Despite leading the team in tackles last year, there were rumors he’d be a salary cap casualty this off-season. Instead, the veteran linebacker took one for the team by taking a pay cut.

“I mean, it’s such a team-first move that he did; ton of respect for Shaq,” Fitterer said. “He wanted to be here, and we made it work.”

Then there are the new players in town.

There are defensive tackles Shy Tuttle and DeShawn Williams and safety Vonn Bell. Fitterer loves their experience, but more importantly, he likes that they can all still go.

“Lot of times, guys become available because they’re selfish or they are divas,” he said. “That is not this group at all.”

But the Panthers aren’t done assembling their roster.

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In fact, after they draft their quarterback at No. 1, don’t be surprised if one of their remaining picks ends up being a defensive player.

“Everybody has needs,” Fitterer noted. “It’s just we’re always going to keep an eye out and keep searching for whoever it may be.”

NFL offenses take note.

Scoring on Carolina is going to be a lot tougher moving forward.

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