While never a good indicator of upcoming team success, the preseason holds more weight this year for the Panthers. They’re looking to find hidden gems to secure depth behind the big names, while also testing the starters. It serves as Bryce Young’s first taste of NFL football, and the first opportunity for this new coaching staff. All of these elements made it tougher to watch the Panthers get shut out in their first preseason game.
The Panthers showed no signs of life in this one, as they were dominated in almost every category. The Jets’ second-unit cruised to a 27-0 victory in Carolina. They had 11 more first downs than the Panthers, and had 149 more yards of total offense.
Zach Wilson looked poised as New York’s leader, completing 14 of 20 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. It was a showing that if replicated in the regular season, could completely deflate the Carolina fanbase.
What Went Wrong
The biggest glaring issue of the game was the offensive line. Both Bryce Young and Matt Corral were heavily pressured throughout the entire game. The Jets racked up a combined five sacks, and even forced a turnover by knocking the ball out of Corral’s hands.
The pressure was immediate on almost every single snap of the game. This is concerning as the makeup of the line wasn’t too different from what we can expect to see in the regular season. Young was sacked once in his two drives, but was forced to get the ball out immediately on almost all of his six pass attempts.
Corral’s numbers look serviceable, but he seemed rattled at times. This can also mostly be attributed to the struggles of the offensive line. The Jets’ defense is full of young stars, but most of them saw little-to-no action in this event. This only increases concerns regarding the poor performance.
As for the defense, most of the problems came from missed tackles and broken coverage. In his Panthers debut, Deion Jones had two missed tackles in only ten snaps. Jammie Robinson had a noticeable missed tackle followed by lack of hustle which resulted in a near-touchdown from Jets running back Israel Abanikanda. The Jets also had two touchdowns where a receiver found themselves completely open in the endzone. This is an issue that needs addressing prior to the start of the actual season.
What Went Well
It’s hard to gloss over the team’s poor showing as a whole, but there were some impressive moments from different Panthers. Neither Young nor Corral looked fantastic at quarterback, but they managed to remain accurate despite constant pressure. Young was four for six in two drives, while Corral went 15 for 22 after relieving him.
They only had one interception between them, which was on a garbage time Hail Mary attempt from Corral. Rookie wide receiver Derek Wright helped his case to make the roster, leading the team with three catches for 35 yards.
While lapses in the defense resulted in scores, the defensive backs played well in coverage. Cornerbacks Donte Jackson and CJ Henderson were the two highest graded players on the team, each scoring an impressive pass breakup early on. Sam Franklin also had a big moment, reading the eyes of Tim Boyle in order to snag a third-quarter interception.
Second-year linebacker Chandler Wooten performed well, leading the defense with seven tackles. Rookie linebacker Bumper Pool followed him with five, and had some solid plays. Amare Barno also got in on the action, recording the team’s only sack. Flashes of potential were on display, but a lack of consistency doomed Carolina.
The Panthers’ next preseason showdown will be against the Giants on Aug. 18. They’ll be looking to bounce back on the road, especially when it comes to pass protection. Panthers fans should keep an eye on DJ Chark, as certain signs have begun to point towards him being the team’s number one wide receiver. Bryce Young is expected to start again, as the team slowly acclimates him before his week one matchup against the Falcons.
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Featured image courtesy of the Carolina Panthers.
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