Marquis Haynes only played in four games in his rookie season, but if his Thursday night performance is of any indication, that number is about to change – even Brian Burns, who also had two sacks on Thursday night, knows just what the second-year pass rusher brings to the table.
“We both have a tremendous gift that God has blessed us with,” said Burns after practice on Sunday. “Speed.”
In case you somehow missed it, the former defensive end who looks like he’ll be playing more of the outside linebacker role in the 3-4 defense had a monster game in the first week of the 2019 preseason at Chicago. Haynes finished with two sacks, three tackles for loss, and four quarterback hits on the night.
With an edge rotation that includes players like Burns, Mario Addison, Christian Miller, and Bruce Irvin, Haynes may not see an overwhelming amount of playing time, but, at the very least, he may have secured a spot on the 53-man roster – especially after his performance on Thursday. Preseason game samples can only give us so much, but Ron Rivera and company should keep a close eye on Haynes as he offers potential quality depth at the edge position.
For more on that, let’s take a dive into some of Haynes’ clips against the Bears for a better understanding of why I think he deserves to be not just on the 53-man roster, but in the rotation for playing time.
Right off the bat (excuse me, snap…), we’re in business. On the very first play from scrimmage for the Panthers defense, Haynes makes his presence felt.
Bears RB Mike Davis went nowhere except backwards as Haynes tackled him for a loss of three.
Kudos to Haynes for understanding what was happening on this play and finishing in the backfield. And as you can imagine, he wasn’t done quite yet.
Late in the first half, Haynes works against right tackle Rashaad Coward, a foe he’d face for much of the night. He can’t get the sack, but manages to put the pressure on Chase Daniel with his first of four quarterback hits against Chicago.
Using a rip move, Haynes gets by Coward, helping collapse the pocket with his edge pressure. Haynes’ inside attack with his rip creates outside leverage on the pressure, one of a few on the day against Coward.
This is the second quarterback hit for Haynes. To be fair, there’s a clear miscommunication on the route Tyler Bray is throwing towards, and Haynes is left (intentionally) unchecked, as a few of the linemen were pulling for a fake dump off with zone blocking. Nevertheless, Haynes collects a pressure and puts a hit on his box score.
But you don’t want to just see quarterback hits, you want to see sacks! Thankfully, Haynes provided the goods and gave Panthers fans two of them.
Lined up in a three-point stance at the top left of the DL formation in a four-man front…
Haynes doesn’t do too much in an attempt to get past Coward, but he didn’t need to.
As a result, Haynes collects the first of two sacks in the third quarter.
If this sack looked a little too ordinary for your tastes, rest assured that Haynes’ second and final sack on the night is a more impressive play.
Lined up at the top left in a three-point stance, again in a four-man front…
…Haynes uses a nasty inside move against (guess who) Coward, putting the smackdown on Bray for the second time in the third quarter.
Now let’s see how this all looks in full motion.
Haynes uses an excellent three-step counter swipe move, devouring Bray with the open lane in the B-Gap. And with that, Haynes ended his night in spectacular fashion.
If this game is of any indication, Marquis Haynes is not the sensational athlete Brian Burns is, but he appears to have the basic fundamentals of pass rushing down and can use his speed to his advantage. He showcased a pretty good counter move, has solid tackling ability, and even though he won’t be a starter, he at the very least offers the potential for quality depth outside for the Panthers’ defensive front.
As the Panthers travel home in an exhibition match against the Bills, the coaching staff should continue to give Haynes more reps to test how good he can play for the rest of the 2019 preseason – more performances like Week 1 and they won’t be able to keep him off the field.