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Ron Rivera: 'A roll of the dice' to go young in secondary

The Carolina Panthers' defense is a mess. The defensive front isn't getting pressure and the backend is a young group going through harrowing growing pains.

The secondary lapses are part of what happens when you rescind the franchise tag on your top corner (Josh Norman), head into the season with a hive of rookies, cut another starter (Bene' Benwikere), and have veterans get hurt.

Coach Ron Rivera was asked Monday if the team took too much of a risk going so young in the secondary.

"We had two veterans -- Robert McClain and Bene' Benwikere," he said, via "Again, it was a little bit of a roll of the dice, I guess. We felt good about (James) Bradberry and didn't expect him to get hurt. So it's one of the tough things right now. But Daryl Worley has been playing pretty well and I thought Zack (Sanchez) has been showing some things. You are going to take your lumps when you do that. The thing we have to do is getting a little more pass rush and find ways to create it."

The surprise this season is that the Panthers' defensive front is getting pushed around.

"Well, that's probably the biggest disappointment is we haven't had the production we would have liked out of the front. The front has done a nice job. We've done a good job stopping the run. But that's not what's killing us. ... We've also got to find other ways to create those opportunities for us to put pressure on the quarterback."

After breaking out in the Super Bowl, Kony Ealy was supposed to help boost the pass rush. The defensive end has zero sacks through five games.

"We thought some guys were making some strides for us. You see what Kony is capable of doing. You saw that in the Super Bowl," Rivera said. "Again, maybe we put a little bit too much on his shoulders. But again, we think he has that kind of ability.

This is the part where we point out that safety Tre Boston still leads Carolina with 2.0 sacks. The Panthers "rolled the dice" with a young secondary assuming the front would pick up the slack. Through six weeks both units have been burned.

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