CHARLOTTE – Bruce Irvin describes himself as a “very blunt and straightforward person,” so let’s get straight to the point regarding his one-year contract with the Panthers.
Carolina needed to acquire pass rush help without breaking the bank. Irvin wanted to find a new home where he could instantly step in and produce.
“It’s a perfect fit,” Irvin said Tuesday. “You want to go somewhere where you can play and be productive right now. This is my eighth year in my league; I don’t have a year or two to spare to get a feel for the system.
“I tried to go to the best situation where I can make an immediate impact, and I feel like Carolina was that with the defense and me being versatile.”
The Panthers see Irvin, 6-3 and 250 pounds, as an experienced defender with proven pass-rush ability (43.5 sacks to his credit). He brings speed off the edge and the athleticism to drop into coverage, making him a perfect fit for Carolina’s plan to deploy a hybrid scheme with more multiple looks in 2019.
“The scheme they are installing, that’s what I am used to,” said Irvin. who has played as a stand-up linebacker and as a defensive end during his career. “I know the scheme like the back of my hand.”
Every team has its own unique wrinkles, but Irvin sees similarities with the defenses he was a part of in Seattle and Oakland. And his most recent stop – half a season with Atlanta in 2018 – was more of the same with Dan Quinn, Seahawks defensive coordinator from 2013-14, guiding the Falcons.
“Being able to drop in certain situations, being able to blitz from all over the field,” Irvin said of his style. “Just keeping teams honest; they don’t know if I’m coming or I’m dropping or I’m spying on the QB. That’s kind of the role that I’m envisioning. Can’t wait to be a part of it.”
The Panthers are happy to say he’ll be rushing the passer on their behalf in 2019.
Irvin was a recurring problem for Carolina, recording eight sacks in five career regular season games against Cam Newton's Panthers, twice as many as his next most frequent victim -- Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers.
“I don’t know, there is just something about the Panthers,” Irvin said with a laugh. “I just play well in Bank of America Stadium. I’ll get to play here eight times! I’m eager to get to work. And that success will translate for the Panthers now that I’m playing with them and not against them.”
View photos from Bruce Irvin's visit to Bank of America Stadium as he signs a one-year contract with the Panthers.