Posted by Darin Gantt on June 15, 2012, 7:18 AM EDT
The Panthers didn’t have much in the way of pass rush beyond Charles Johnson last summer.
They had even less when Greg Hardy wrecked his motorcycle before training camp. He didn’t break any bones, but had cuts over the left side of his body, which kept him from doing much in the preseason. But he said he’s sticking to four wheels from now on (buying a “a really, really, really big truck”), and is in better shape to contribute, up from 280 to 299 pounds.
Instead of just bigger, the Panthers need him to be more consistent than last year, when he had four sacks in 16 starts — no better than some of the scrap-heap pickups that populated their line in 2011. The knock on Hardy prior to the 2010 Draft was that he’d lose concentration and disappear in games, and that was often the case last season.
Being stronger — and in one piece — gives him a chance to contribute more this year. They need him to, because their only pass-rush addition was fourth-round pick Frank Alexander, hardly the investment most expected in a weak area.