The Carolina Panthers secondary will be tested by the loss of cornerback Charles Tillman in the playoffs.
The Carolina Panthers received a nasty shot to their Super Bowl hopes today when it was revealed that Panthers cornerback Charles Tillman has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season. The Panthers have already lost one cornerback in Bene Benwikere, and to lose Tillman as well is another shot to that position. According to reports by Rotowire, it may end his career.
The loss of Tillman has several effects. First it means the Panthers will be relying on cornerback signee Robert McClain to man the starting spot opposite Josh Norman. It also opens up a hole in the Panthers’ dime package which they might try to fill with Colin Jones again or potentially reach out to another unemployed corner looking for work. What is Darrell Green doing these days?
Second, it means that teams are definitely going to test the corner not named Josh Norman looking for a potential advantage on the field. Tampa tried to test McClain on Sunday, and more of the same will occur in the playoffs particularly if the Panthers end up with the Green Bay Packers somewhere down the road.
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Third it means losing a bit of on field leadership. Who was the guy separating Josh Norman and Tampa receiver Mike Evans at halftime? Charles Tillman. Tillman will most likely be around on the sideline, but the impact is not quite the same. It should be noted that it was Tillman who directed Cam Newton to seize the Packers sign back earlier in the season.
Last year the Panthers secondary got really young, but this year that youth was injected with playoff experience with the addition of Tillman and toughness from strong safety Kurt Coleman. Tillman came over because he wanted to keep playing for a potential contender. The Panthers will have to show how strong their team defense concept is without him.
The Panthers will play the Seahawks, Redskins, or Packers on Sunday, January 17 depending on the Wild Card results.