Dontari Poe has been quieter than usual

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CHARLOTTE – Dontari Poe's personality is often described as quiet.

His impact on the football field? Quiet isn't a word often associated with that.

But the two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle who was Carolina's prized free agent acquisition this offseason has had what can only be described as a quiet start to the 2018 season.

Poe has six tackles, one quarterback hit and no sacks through five games. None of his stops have come behind the line of scrimmage.

When he signed with the Panthers, he was billed as a space-eating defensive tackle who had the quickness to penetrate and make plays in the pocket and the backfield. But we haven't seen that disruption yet.

"It's tough, because as an athlete, as a playmaker, as a pro, you want to get out there and make plays right away," Poe said at his locker Thursday. "Sometimes you just have to stick with it and let things come as they need to.

"The plays will come. We'll be alright."

Head coach Ron Rivera said the 6-foot-3, 346-pound Poe has been creating opportunities for others with his presence.

"I know a lot of people fall into that trap of looking at the PFF (Pro Football Focus) stuff, but you know, (Kawann Short) is rated as one of the top guys, and a lot of it has to do with who you're playing with," Rivera said. "I think that's important."

For what it's worth, Short's PFF grade is 86.0, which is eighth best among interior defenders. Poe's PFF grade is 60.4 which ranks 87th among interior defenders behind teammates Kyle Love and Vernon Butler.

"Will his opportunities come? I believe so. I really do," Rivera said of Poe. "I just think the guy is too good a football player. But again, he's constantly being doubled because he's predominantly in the nose position."

It's not as if Poe puts up big sack totals year after year. He had 2.5 with the Falcons last year and 1.5 the year before that during his last season in Kansas City. But he's typically good for an explosive play here and there, whether it be an overpowering move to create disruption or a big hit on a ball carrier behind the line.

He's still waiting on that moment to come as a Panther.

He believes it's only a matter of time.

"I just have to stay patient, don't waver and stick with the process," Poe said. "You'll be coming at me a few weeks from now asking me how I'm making these plays."

View photos from Thursday's practice leading up to the Panthers' game against the Eagles.

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