If the Chicago Bears offense wants to have success against the Carolina Panthers, they will target this player
The Carolina Panthers defense has outplayed their expectations coming into the season. However, that is because expectations were very low. The defense still has holes that can be exploited by the Chicago Bears.
They are currently second in the NFL in targets allowed to running backs. A lot of that has to do with forcing the young and inexperienced defense to tackle.
However, a lot of the Panthers issues can come down to Tahir Whitehead. Whitehead was a veteran free agent, but it is starting to become apparent why he has moved from Detroit to Oakland to Carolina.
Against the run, Whitehead has missed two tackles. He also has a 6.1 run stop rate according to PFF. That is the number of successful run stops per attempt. For comparison, Roquan Smith is at 9.1 and Danny Trevathan at 8.5. Those two have had issues against the run, but Whitehead has not been making any plays.
Beyond that, Whitehead has been a liability in coverage. The biggest culprit has been yards after the catch. He ranks 9th in yards allowed after the catch per snap amongst linebacker. Whitehead also ranks 7th in yards after the catch per reception, and 6th in yards after the catch per target.
To be fair, Trevathan ranks 10th, 6th, and 5th in each category respectively. Still, an honest Chicago Bears fan can now put into perspective the hindrance Whitehead has been to the Panthers. He has been just as poor in coverage but has been even worse against the run than Trevathan.
To be fair, his nose tackle, and top ten pick Derrick Brown has found himself on the ground often early into his career, and he has left Whitehead In tough spots at times. Still, this only confirms how exploitable the middle of the defense can be.
This is not just a David Montgomery game. Cordarelle Patterson can get to the flats on their linebackers. Jimmy Graham should once again be a touchdown candidate. Could Cole Kmet get involved? Will Anthony Miller run some crossing routes to keep the linebackers honest? All of this needs to happen for a Bears win on Sunday?