In what was a trying year at Bank of America Stadium for Matt Rhule’s squad after finishing with five wins for the second consecutive year despite a 3-0 start, there were multiple bright spots across the 2021 season for the Carolina Panthers.
Whether it was the inspired play of a much-improved pass rush, the return of one of the most beloved players in franchise history or a young pass catcher continuing to make history with his production on the field – and continuing to help his community off of it – the Carolina Panthers found ways to shine in 2021.
The second annual Roaring Riot Awards, which are voted on by the most loyal and rabid fans of the Carolina Panthers, honors the performances of those Panthers who have gone above and beyond both on and off the field. Wide receiver DJ Moore was named 2021’s Offensive Player of the Year, and the winner on the opposite side of the ball was obvious to anyone who watched the Panthers consistently during the season.
Edge rusher/outside linebacker Haason Reddick was voted Roaring Riot 2021 Defensive Player of the Year in his first season as a Carolina Panther.
Reddick led the team – and won a golf cart from fellow edge rusher Brian Burns in a preseason bet of who would get to the quarterback more often in 2021 in the process – with 11 sacks, his second consecutive season with double-digit sacks.
Reddick was part of a young defense that improved thanks to a multitude of new pieces on the defensive side of the ball – the Temple alum and Brian Burns combined for 20 sacks, 25 tackles for loss, 36 quarterback hurries & four forced fumbles this past season. His versatility helped the Panthers’ defense get better in the second season under Matt Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow.
“Haason’s physical; he’s tough. He plays every snap, plays hard, and obviously, he gets to the quarterback,” said Matt Rhule. “I think his versatility of playing linebacker and defensive end steals you a roster spot. You can go into games; we’re fortunate that we can go in with seven D-linemen because we’re going to get a lot of nickel snaps out of Haason or Frankie Luvu. That provides a roster spot on game day a lot of teams don’t have.
“He’s a very versatile player, and has played well for us.”
Reddick, who is entering free agency after only a year in Carolina, received over 60% of the Roaring Riot’s vote.