3 Panthers position groups that must step up vs. NY Jets in Week 1

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Taylor Moton
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Taylor Moton /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sport) Robby Anderson /

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Which Carolina Panthers position groups must step up for the team to get their season off on a high against the New York Jets in Week 1?

The dawn of a new NFL season is upon us and optimism is in the air. Fanbases both near and far have high hopes for their team in pursuit of hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy in SoFi Stadium this February, which is hosting this year’s Super Bowl.

The days of training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg are now in the rearview mirror and the Carolina Panthers’ attention is on that of the New York Jets who will kick off Week 1 in Charlotte this Sunday.

Neither squad finished the 2020 season close to .500, but each has undergone significant changes on the roster. The Jets are touting former BYU Cougar Zach Wilson as the new face of the franchise, but as with all rookies, his season will be filled with highs and lows.

Let’s take a look at the Jets’ strengths and find out which three Panthers position groups must step up and make meaningful contributions to come away with a win.

Position Group No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson and Jermaine Carter /

Carolina Panthers LBs

While there is not a standout No. 1 running back on the Jets roster, this role will be filled by committee; a strong unit where each individual’s skill set compliments their teammates.

All have the ability to create a highlight reel on any given play under offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s scheme. Josh Adams, Michael Carter, Tevin Coleman, and Ty Johnson alone will not knock your socks off, but behind an improved offensive line and a rookie signal-caller who will lean on his backs as a safety net, this group is poised to make some noise.

Jermaine Carter and the linebacker unit will be tasked with limiting explosive runs, finding holes to meet them at the line of scrimmage, and watching the edge for Wilson’s short dump-offs.

Veteran Shaq Thompson and former Matt Rhule-coached Temple Owl Hasson Reddick will be flanking Carter. This is a potentially good group who will be relied upon to limit the running backs’ effectiveness forcing the Jets to throw.

If the LB unit is able to bottle up Coleman and Johnson, Wilson’s safety net will be limited increasing the chance of errors.