At the link above, NT B.J. Raji tries his best to explain what's gone wrong. He mentions the defensive mentality and playing with his instincts. Maybe he's trying to say that the defense wasn't playing their game and they've let the offense dictate the approach.Yes the outside linebackers have struggled, but so have B.J. Raji and Mike Daniels. Raji breaks down the problems: https://t.co/S7uq5ggQMx— Michael Cohen (@Michael_Cohen13) November 12, 2015
It's not been a case of playing against superior opponents either. On the offensive line, the Panthers are pretty good on the interior of their offensive line, led by C Ryan Kalil. On the other hand, the Broncos don't have a very good line (LG Evan Mathis and RG Louis Vasquez are good in run blocking and pass protection, respectively, but neither one is great at both) and the Chargers' offensive line is a borderline disaster.
Maybe it's just a matter of pushing through their mid-season exhaustion and minor injuries. The defense was on the field a ton against the Chargers (Daniels recorded 73 snaps out of 94 played). They did have the bye week right after that game and before they played the Broncos, but it might not have been enough of a break. Having their last two games on the road hasn't helped either.
A lot things have gone wrong for the defense over their last three games but benching ILB Nate Palmer and reviving the inside pass rush might fix the problem. When you watch the Packers host the Lions, keep an eye on Daniels (and DE Datone Jones, when he rotates in on the defensive line) and see if they can get in the face of QB Matthew Stafford as he's trying to throw.