CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers coach Ron Rivera spent a good portion of Tuesday morning's practice standing alongside general manager Marty Hurney, watching intently as players went through pass rush drills.
It's an area Rivera has a keen interest in heading into his second season in Carolina.
The Panthers (No. 20 in AP Pro 32) managed just 31 sacks last season and Rivera says getting pressure on the quarterback is "something we have to get better at," especially playing in a highly competitive division that includes quarterbacks Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman.
Rivera is counting on increased production from, among others, starting defensive ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy. That duo combined for just 13 sacks last year, but Johnson says both are capable of putting up double-digit totals.
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