4 biggest challenges facing the Panthers at the Chargers in Week 3

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Justin Herbert
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Justin Herbert /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Joshua Kelley /

Keeping the Chargers running back duo quiet

The threat posed by Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley has been there for all to see in the first two weeks of the season. But whether the Carolina Panthers can stop the running back duo remains to be seen.

The Chargers have virtually split carries between the pair despite Ekeler’s outstanding production as the lead back in 2019. They provide a one-two punch that the Panthers should ignore at their peril and they will need their defensive front to be firing on all cylinders.

Ekeler is your stereotypical do-it-all back who thrives in space. His low center of gravity enables him to squeeze through even the tightest seams. It also allows him to get out of his cuts quickly in passing situations.

The arrival of Kelley has been a tremendous addition to the Chargers. The rookie has hit the ground running after being taken in the fourth round out of UCLA on his way to 124 rushing yards and one touchdown from 35 carries.

Carolina’s run defense has been inconsistent so far this season. They have already conceded six scores to running backs and both Ekeler and Kelley will see this as an opportunity to make a real difference.

The likes of Derrick Brown, Tahir Whitehead, and Stephen Weatherly need to be at the top of their game. Shaq Thompson and Jeremy Chinn also need to be alert on the edge to further enhance their cause.