Panthers pick up edge rusher Justin Houston
Last week, the Carolina sports community waited with anxiety for the moment the Carolina Panthers would announce a solution to their issue of finding an experienced pass rusher to line up opposite Brian Burns with Marquis Haynes Sr. sidelined by a back injury. In his Sunday afternoon press conference, Panthers' head coach Frank Reich mentioned that he had been in talks with General Manager Scott Fitterer about the matter. The latest signing, a one-year deal, allows the team to mount a high-energy pass rush - a staple in Defensive Coordinator Ejiro Evero's 3-4 scheme.
On Sunday, the team agreed to terms with 34 year old veteran pass rusher Justin Houston. Houston played in 29 games in the past two seasons. He recorded 9.5 sacks and 17 QB hits for the Baltimore Ravens last season.
Signing the four-time Pro Bowler gives the Panhters the depth they've been seeking in a group that includes Shaq Thompson, newly acquired linebacker Deion Jones and ball hawk Frankie Luvu who showed his ability to get into the backfield last season. Reich commented recently that Luvu was a steaal as he referenced Luvu's value to the team.
Ytor Gros-Matos addressesed what his plans were for the season. Those plans included showing the pundits that he is more than what he's been in the past. So far, the younger pass rushers have not shown any significant steps forward. Houston's veteran knowledge should definitely add another voice to help steer them into new levels of achievement.
The signing also gives the Panthers an opportunity to rank higher in the sack column. Last season, the Panthers were ranked 25th in sacks despite Brian Burns have a year that landed him a second-straight Pro Bowl appearance.
Fans should expect to see the former Georgia Bulldog for the first time when the team resumes training camp activities on Tuesday, Aug. 8 at Wofford College in Spartanburg.