4 weaknesses for the Panthers to exploit vs. NY Jets in Week 1

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
4 of 5
Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Carolina Panthers should exploit the second level on defense

When one examines the New York Jets depth chart, their options at linebacker look a little thin, to put it mildly. Losing Jarrad Davis to injury certainly hasn’t helped their cause, so this is something the Carolina Panthers should look to capitalize on early and often.

Gaining yards across the middle is going to be crucial. The Panthers upgraded their pass-catching options at tight end with the arrivals of Dan Arnold and Tommy Tremble this offseason, with the return to health of running back Christian McCaffrey something else working in their favor.

Having a physically imposing wide receiver to also assist over short-to-intermediate routes in Terrace Marshall Jr. gives Sam Darnold plenty of options to utilize as he looks to put one over on his former team.

C.J. Mosley, Jamie Sherwood, and Hamsah Nasirildeen are listed as the starting linebacking trio according to ESPN’s depth chart projections. Robert Saleh gained a strong reputation for coming up with the right defensive solutions during his time with the San Francisco 49ers, but this task is far greater than anything he’s challenged himself with before.

Much also depends on whether Darnold can keep it together under the biggest of microscopes. Making the right reads consistently is crucial, as there should be plenty of chances to exploit a weak-looking second level on the opposition.