The Carolina Panthers might have come away from Atlanta with a win. But this was in danger of not being the case in the second half thanks to their inability to stop running back Todd Gurley.
This is an area that was a real concern even with Luke Kuechly in the lineup last season, and things don’t look to be getting any better this time around. Their defensive front needs to be better at getting in the backfield quickly on running situations. But it is at the second level where Carolina is struggling the most in this situation.
Although rookie Jeremy Chinn has been nothing short of sensational through the first five weeks of the campaign, the same cannot be said for Tahir Whitehead and Shaq Thompson.
Whitehead is clearly devoid of confidence and living on borrowed time when it comes to his starting position. The free-agent signing is struggling to get the right sort of angles for the point of attack, and he is giving up 84.6 percent of targets thrown his way.
Thompson hasn’t been as bad by any stretch of the imagination. But putting a solid run of games together is something we simply haven’t see from the former first-round pick to date. The next few weeks are going to be crucial for the player, who is set for a huge rise in base salary in 2021.
The Panthers are currently giving up 133.4 yards per game on the ground, which is ranked No. 25 and not much better than the 143.5 they conceded on average last time around.