A quick look at where the Carolina Panthers’ pressure on Carson Palmer could come from:
The defensive line
Biggest threats: Second-year defensive end Kony Ealy and speed rusher Mario Addison will get increased reps with Jared Allen out with a foot injury. DT Kawann Short has been an interior force all season.
How they’ll attack: Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott could stunt to try to get a favorable matchup vs. left guard Mike Iupati, who has struggled in protection. But McDermott usually lets the front four play straight up.
Watch for: Short made his presence known during the first two series vs. Seattle. If he gets early pressure, it will be a good sign the Panthers can get Carson Palmer off his spot.
Biggest threats: McDermott shows a lot of double-A gap blitzes with Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly before backing one or both of them out. Davis has been effective finishing blitzes up the middle and off the edge.
How they’ll attack: Given Kuechly’s effectiveness in coverage, look for him to drop more often than Davis. As for Davis, he could come from the outside or inside depending on what McDermott draws up.
Watch for: If Davis doesn’t disguise his blitzes well, Palmer could get RBs David Johnson or Andre Ellington the ball in the flat with room to run.
Biggest threats: The Panthers were burned on a blitz by CB Josh Norman last week vs. Seattle. Free safeties Kurt Coleman and Tre Boston have the speed to get to Palmer and the strength to take him down.
How they’ll attack: Boston sacked Russell Wilson last week by timing his blitz perfectly so Wilson never saw it coming.
Watch for: Panthers defenders praised Palmer’s quick release in the face of a blitz. If he can step into his throw before the blitzer arrives, it could spell trouble for nickel Cortland Finnegan or whoever is covering Larry Fitzgerald.