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Marquis Haynes continues to prove his value

Marquis Haynes

INDIANAPOLIS — The Panthers rested their starters Sunday.

And yet, Marquis Haynes Sr. was still out there.

Even though he was playing in the preseason opener with the rest of the reserves, the fourth-year defensive end has proven he's a valuable part of what the Panthers are doing, and he showed it Sunday.

Haynes had a strip-sack early in the Panthers' loss to the Colts. It was a takeaway that set up a field goal, and underscored the work he has done this offseason.

He was part of a group, including Frankie Luvu and Yetur Gross-Matos, which kept the pressure on Colts quarterback Jacob Eason throughout the first half.

"Yeah, I thought for that being our second defensive line, and then to get that much pressure on the quarterback was obviously good," Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said. "We look at Marquis Haynes; if we put our starting pass-rush group out there, he's on it.

"We know what Marquis can do."

He started getting noticed last year when he posted 4.0 sacks, which was third on the team. He's continued earning the acclaim of his teammates, and starter Brian Burns singled out Haynes' work in last week's joint practices with the Colts, when asked who stood out.

"I'm just going to keep on doing what I do every day, which is go out there and be a hard-working person," Haynes said. "I don't care because I don't get mentioned, I'm just going to keep doing what I do best, and that's work, grind, show up every day."

At the end of the first quarter Sunday, he used his quickness to get to the edge and swatted the ball out of Eason's hand. He also recovered the fumble.

"We've just talked about making sure we improve on last year and focus on sacks," Haynes said. "This year, the focus is on throwing our fastball, making sure we give it everything we've got to try to get to the quarterback. I feel like a lot of that was done today. . .

"It's a lot of emphasis on punching it out. We're trying to get more turnovers this year. If we get a turnover and give the ball back to the offense and they go down and score, I mean if we start doing that more and more, it's going to be a fun season."

The Panthers led the league with 15 fumble recoveries last year, but were 23rd with 29 sacks.

With Haason Reddick coming in this offseason to start opposite Burns, that number should go up. But as Haynes develops and gets more time, he could make his own contribution to that total.

Either way, he's excited about the part he can play.

"I think I bring the energy," he said. "Everybody's looking for energy, I'm always cheering everybody else on; if the starters are out there, I'm cheering them on, and if the subs are out there, I do the same. If they get the sack, it's going to fuel the whole defense. Even if I'm not out there, I'm cheering someone on."

And making a play in the first game of the year sets him up to be on the receiving end of some cheers of his own.

"I'm always confident," Haynes said. "I just go out there and work hard and do what the coaches say. I give everything I've got, and I let that work for itself."

Sunday, it worked.

View photos from Indianapolis as the Panthers take on the Colts in the first preseason game.

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