NFL

DE Kony Ealy knows he needs to be an every-down player for Carolina

Sep 21, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive end Kony Ealy (94) lines up during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Bank of America Stadium. The Steelers defeated the Panthers 37-19. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 21, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive end Kony Ealy (94) lines up during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Bank of America Stadium. The Steelers defeated the Panthers 37-19. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers got some brutal news when they found out that defensive end Frank Alexander would miss all of 2015 with a torn Achilles. While that's a brutal blow for Alexander, it also means that the pressure is on for second-year rusher Kony Ealy.

As Ealy told David Newton of ESPN, he knows that he needs to become an every-down player for the Panthers.

"They need me to be an all-down end, every position, that's what I'm looking towards,'' Ealy told ESPN. "Even before the injury, the opportunity was there. I hate injuries like that happening.

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"But the next man has got to step up.''

Ealy definitely has the right mindset, but the question is, can he produce for the Panthers in 2015? There's a good chance that he would have started even aside from the brutal injury to Alexander, but now it's time for Ealy to step up.

Carolina's defensive unit will need consistency opposite of Charles Johnson, and Ealy believes he's the man to for the job.

(h/t ESPN)