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January 10, 2012

Year in review: Panthers DE Charles Johnson

After the Panthers gave defensive end Charles Johnson the most lucrative contract in team history last summer – $76 million over five years – it's worth comparing Johnson's 2011 numbers to those from his breakout 2010, a contract year.

2010: 16 games, 73 tackles (57 solo); 11.5 sacks; 27 QB pressures; 1 forced fumble; 3 pass breakups

2011: 15 games, 39 tackles (25 solo); 9.5 sacks; 14 QB pressures; 1 forced fumble; 2 pass breakups

While Johnson's sacks were comparable, he had a significant drop-off in tackles and pressures.

You could argue that Johnson faced more double-teams than he did in 2010 when he was a first-year starter. And that certainly attributed to Johnson's reduced production.

But the biggest factor was Johnson's health.

Though he only missed one game (Week 17 at New Orleans), Johnson was used situationally in Week 16 against Tampa Bay and played with a lower back injury for most of the season.

Johnson's sack total does not put him among the league's pass-rushing elite. Jared Allen (with 22 sacks) and 19 other players had more sacks than Johnson, who was credited with only 9.0 by the NFL.

But Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Johnson was not re-signed strictly to serve as a pass-rusher. Johnson and Greg Hardy, the other DE starter, often were asked to line up at tackles in different situations.

He's an every-down player. You don't just take him out. He's always on the field for you. He gives you exactly you want and helps you because that's one position you don't have to worry about,” Rivera said.

A lot of guys don't play every down. They're pass rush specialists. That's not who he is. We didn't get him to be a pass rush specialist. We kept him to anchor the defensive line. When he was healthy, he did exactly that.”

The problem was Johnson was not healthy near enough last season.

--Joseph Person



Posted by Observer Sports on January 10, 2012 at 05:21 PM | Permalink


Charles Johnson Football Camp at Wingate University in Wingate, NC on June 15-18
Visit footballcamps.com or call 301-575-9400

Posted by: Samantha Berg | Jan 10, 2012 5:46:18 PM

What this article misses is that Johnson was very, very good against the run this year and had 10 tackles for loss. Mike Rucker and Julius Peppers never had a season with 10 TFL, and Kris Jenkins only managed to do it once.

Posted by: J. | Jan 10, 2012 5:56:36 PM

also doesn't help that we had 50 different starting lineups in 16 games (math is awesome) along the defensive line.

camp next year should allow the cream to rise to the top and see who is going to start and play on the d-line. having consistency to build some chemistry there will help johnson do him. especially if he's lined up next to a DT that keeps the guard from doubling over on johnson.

Posted by: charlottean | Jan 10, 2012 6:18:31 PM

I would argue that a major reason why Charles had a drop off in production is because our offense can actually get a few first downs this year and keep our defense off the field. If you put Charles on the field this year as much last year I'll bet you'd see comparable or even better numbers.

Posted by: Tim | Jan 10, 2012 9:22:23 PM

Charles Johnson is a good player who was paid like a great player.

Posted by: Jerad | Jan 10, 2012 11:22:40 PM

I agree with Tim. He wasn't on the field as often to make plays in comparison to last year because the offense wasn't constantly going 3 and out. That has to be factored in when comparing his numbers, as well as some other significant factors that were mentioned. If anybody suggests that CJ was playing for the money last year, I'd have to say I disagree. Besides the Panthers knew what they were getting when they re-signed him. Is he overpaid? Probably. Is he an invaluable member of our defense? Yes. So it's whatever.

Posted by: OBXsurfer4 | Jan 11, 2012 12:17:14 AM

Excellent comments and observations by everyone, except for Jerad. Unique name though Jerad....I like it.

Posted by: JoGunn | Jan 11, 2012 12:39:12 AM

Johnson's contract averages 15.2 million/yr over 5 yrs and Allen's contract averages 12.2 mil/yr over 6 yrs. Who do you think is getting the most bang for the buck?

Posted by: Holmes | Jan 11, 2012 12:54:16 PM

Julius Peppers? Who the hell is that???

Posted by: Wow | Jan 11, 2012 7:13:12 PM

Sacks are the most overrated statistic in all of sports...

Other overrated things in sports:

1)Andy Roddick
2)Closers in baseball
3)Dale Jr.
4)Any QB that's ever played for Andy Reid
5)Anyone from the Ryan family coaching tree

Posted by: Procton is a Little Girl | Jan 12, 2012 6:03:52 AM

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