4 positives from the Panthers’ Week 1 loss to the Raiders

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Carolina Panthers

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Russell Okung

Offensive line performance

You wouldn’t be alone in thinking that the Carolina Panthers were going to struggle to protect their new quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Three of the five players who started on Sunday were new to the organization this offseason and they faced a stern test of their credentials against the Raiders’ defensive front.

Getting the line together will no significant time on the field beforehand only heightened a potential problem. But credit to the group for adjusting quickly to ensure they became a real bright spot during the Week 1 encounter.

Taylor Moton and Russell Okung thwarted any pass-rushes on the edge with aplomb to keep Bridgewater’s pocket clean for the majority of the game. Both were rarely troubled and this played a substantial role in the Panthers’ ability to move the chains.

John Miller and Michael Schofield looked powerful and assured at the guard positions to further assist running back Christian McCaffrey in becoming a more influential factor in the second half. But it was the efforts of center Matt Paradis that arguably caught the eye most.

The interior lineman is looking to bounce back following a disappointing 2019 season that had some questioning whether Carolina might look in a different direction. Paradis answered his critics with assured production and tremendous communication with Bridgewater that is going to stand them in good stead going forward.

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