Carolina has no shortage of veteran play makers on both sides of the ball, but Coach Ron Rivera’s decision to sit the projected starters for Thursday night’s preseason game gave young defenders like 1st round pick Brian Burns an 2nd year defender Marquis Haynes an opportunity to shine.
“I thought Burns was explosive. He did exactly what we thought he would. I thought Marquis did some good things too. They both came through today. It was exciting to watch,” Rivera said after the game.
In limited playing time Burns finished with 2 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles for a loss and 2 quarterback hits. Haynes, who played most of the game, tallied 3 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss and 4 quarterback hits. It was a glimpse of what the two young edge rushers can bring to the Panthers new 3-4 defense – quickness.
“We bring a lot of speed,” Burns said after the game. “Marquis did a great job in the 2nd half keeping that fire on the quarterback. We both had two great days.”
Although the vets didn’t play, their impact was felt. Both Haynes and Burns said their sideline tutoring and encouragement were huge contributing factors to their impressive outings.
“I just took it play by play,” Haynes said. “I listened to Rio (Mario Addison) and Bruce correcting me with what I need to do better. As long as I’ve got those two correcting me, everything is going to be good.”
“Knowing that all my guys are happy for my success means a lot,” Burns added. Especially guys like Cam, Bruce and Marquis being happy for me feels good.”