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Under Pressure (Jon Beason)

Each year the NFL seems to become faster, more intense, and the demand for high performance post lockout is through the roof. There are a few players that stick out in my mind as having the brunt of the responsibility resting on their shoulders and that could potentially force imprudent decision making on part of the coaching staff. It is impossible to tell a player to relax when they are receiving flak from the media or to ask a gaggle of frantic fans wanting to know if their team is going to be worth that $50 ticket on Sundays to ease up. However, I don’t think it is beyond reason to expect that there are plenty of capable players on the Panthers team that need to take on more of the pressure and distribute the blame evenly if there are any shortcomings.


The three players that stick out in my mind as being the make or break parts to success this season are undoubtedly Jeff Otah, Jon Beason, and Cam Newton. Beason aka “The Beast” is known as the heart of the Panther D. His playing has inspired the rest the defense to follow suit in making big plays that disrupt offenses. He is currently recovering from an August 22nd surgery on his foot following some tendinitis in his Achilles heel. By popular demand and his own personal desire to continue his streak of first game starts, he has been preparing for the season opener in Arizona and for now is listed as questionable. Although, the defense suffering during the preseason leads many to believe that he is the key to success on defense. My fear is that this is also influencing the team’s decision to push him into game one when maybe he could do with another week and prepare for Green Bay.


The team should not be putting the heat on Beason to heal faster, but asking some other players to step up. One of those players is Chris Gamble. With a team already weak at this position, the most experienced back has to show that he can be relied on to make a play when it counts. Especially on third downs. Greg Hardy is another player that needs to relieve some of the stress and take pressure off of DE Charles Johnson. As one of the highest paid DE’s in the game, Johnson will be targeted for double teams in nearly every down and when he is, there has got to be another face to strike fear in the hearts of QB’s. With the addition of defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, we can expect that there will be more blitzing. However, other teams will realize this soon enough and make adjustments. With an extraordinary core of linebackers, when healthy, there is a potential to break into the backfield often. If teams know who to protect against, our blitzing will be useless. Ergo, some of the quiet guys need to make a little more noise if there is going to be any defensive success this year.



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