Tall task for Arizona is stopping Short
charlotte, n.c.» Josh Noman has some advice for Carson Palmer if he sees Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kawann “KK” Short heading his way Sunday during the NFC championship game.
“Run,” the Panthers’ allpro cornerback said with a hearty laugh. “Run, run as fast as you can, I’m the Gingerbread Man.”
Norman has seen Short blossom into a dominant inside pass rusher in just his third season with the Panthers, producing 11 sacks — a franchise record for a defensive tackle — along with 32 quarterback pressures.
The 6-foot-3, 315-pound Short carried that momentum into the playoffs last weekend, pressuring Seattle’s Russell Wilson into throwing a first-quarter interception that was returned for a touchdown by Luke Kuechly, giving Carolina an early 14-0 lead and setting the tone for the game. He also had a sack on Wilson.
“That play was all KK,” Kuechly said of the picksix play. “When you look at the play, if you really break it down, it was him. He made a move on the guard and, just like that, he was on Russell. I was just kind of standing there and he tossed it right to me. I give KK all the credit because he deserved it all.”
When general manager Dave Gettleman arrived at Carolina in 2013, he spent his first two draft picks on “hog mollies” — selecting a pair of mammoth defensive tackles in space eater Star Lotulelei in the first round, followed by the pass-rushing specialist Short in the second.
They have become fixtures on a defense that has ranked in the top 10 in each of the past three seasons — and forced an NFL-high 39 turnovers in the 2015 regular season.