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Panthers' Brian Burns gets surprise start and holds his own in debut
Rookie tallies a pair of tackles in loss to Rams
 
Published Sunday, September 8, 2019 5:55 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | CURTIS WILSON
Carolina Panthers cornerback James Bradberry sacks Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff in the Rams' 30-27 win Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.

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It took Brian Burns a series and a half to feel at home in the NFL.


The result — a 30-27 home loss to the Los Angeles Rams — was not ideal for a rookie debut, but the defensive end did his job well. Carolina’s first-round draft pick finished with two tackles, including one for a loss of 4 yards, as well as two quarterback hurries.


“I was pretty comfortable, but you can definitely tell the difference between preseason and regular season once you get with the vets and the big dogs—the stars of the NFL,” Burns said.


Said cornerback James Bradberry (sack, interception and four tackles): “My debut, it was in Denver. That’s the loudest crowd I’ve ever been in front of, but everything was fast-paced for me. I was trying to slow it down, and I couldn’t, but for him, he played some good ball out there. He made a few plays. He’s going to have a good future.”


Burns started in place of veteran Bruce Irvin, who was out with a hamstring injury. He also found himself in the midst of a defensive experiment that has yet to be perfected, with coach Ron Rivera trying different packages.  


“He did some nice things,” Rivera said. “We’ve gotta work some things on our pass rush, and get some things squared up. [The Rams] do some good things on the offensive side. They don’t give you an opportunity to truly roll your guys in like you would like to. They got us a couple times on it too. It’s just something we’ve gotta get back to the drawing board, and we’ve gotta be ready to handle better, and that will start with me making sure that we get the right rotation.”


Said defensive tackle Gerald McCoy: “Burnsy was really anxious to get out there. He’s a guy that once he gets his juice flowing and he gets in his rhythm, he’s going to be hard to stop. I’m excited about the future for him.”


Burns saw significant minutes in preseason, claiming four sacks, but regular season is another matter.


“You can tell that there’s a difference,” he said. “Other than that, it took me I’d say a series, a series and a half to get accustomed to everything that was going on. I just gotta get out of my own head.”


Carolina hosts Tampa Bay, McCoy’s former team Thursday in primetime on national TV. Rivera said players had an hour after they finished speaking with the media to cope with today’s loss. Then it’s time to move on. Some do not need that long.


“You can’t change it,” McCoy said. “We had a good shot at it. We didn’t win, but we’ve got another game coming up. It’s my first game with my new team. I’m going to go enjoy my family and get back to work. That’s all you can do, man. It’s week one of 16 games. I’ve seen this team do some great things over the years from afar, but now I’m a part of it. I’m excited for the future.”


Said Burns: “Right now, I’m going to look at this film, make any adjustments toward my rush or my game — anything with technique, and start studying on Tampa.”

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