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By the Numbers: Defensive Ends

Posted Feb 13, 2010

Starting defensive ends Tyler Brayton and Julius Peppers engulfed New Orleans running back Mike Bell in the season finale. (PHOTO: MATTHEW BRINKLEY / PANTHERS.COM)

CHARLOTTE -- One starts with the most frequently logged statistic on defense: tackles.

It took seven years and a slew of position changes in Oakland for Tyler Brayton to find his true niche in the NFL -- which in 2009 meant he was the Panthers' tackling leader among their defensive ends.

Brayton became the first Panther not named Mike Rucker or Julius Peppers to lead the team's ends in tackles since 1999; he posted 62 stops while playing in 15 of 16 games.

Julius Peppers 2006 75 61 14
Julius Peppers 2005 70 46 24
Julius Peppers 2008 63 41 22
Tyler Brayton 2009 62 39 23
Mike Rucker 2005 62 40 22

CRANKING UP THE PRESSURE: For rookie Everette Brown, the sacks weren't there as he hoped; his tally ranked fourth among Carolina's defensive ends behind Pro Bowler Julius Peppers (10.5), Brayton (5.0) and Charles Johnson (4.0).

But Brown's 16 quarterback pressures ranked second behind Peppers among Carolina's defensive ends and third on the team, trailing only Peppers and Damione Lewis.

Of further significance is how and when Brown racked up the pressures -- in far greater numbers as the season progressed. The rookie had just two pressures in the Panthers' first six games -- of which he played five, missing one to injury. In the last 10 games of the year he had 14 pressures, raising his average from 0.4 per game in September and October to 1.4 in November, December and January.

BALLHAWKS: No area of the defense did a better job jarring loose the football in 2009, as half of the Panthers' 22 forced fumbles on defense came from the team's ends.

Peppers (five forced fumbles) and Johnson (three) ranked first and third on the entire team, respectively. Brown was tied for fourth with safety Chris Harris and cornerback Richard Marshall, two teammates who played far more snaps than the rookie.

Johnson not only was among the team's leaders in forced fumbles but in passes defensed. He swatted away six passes, trailing only cornerback Chris Gamble (nine) even though he only started twice and missed three games to injury.

The three-year veteran Johnson had almost as many passes defensed as the rest of Carolina's defensive ends combined (seven).