5 shining stars from the Panthers win vs. NY Jets in Week 1

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /
3 of 5
Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson /

Shaq Thompson – Carolina Panthers OLB

The Carolina Panthers’ defense was absolutely electric throughout the game. Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson was on his heels from almost the first minute and although there were signs of life for a brief moment in the second half, it wasn’t enough to mount what would have been a sensational comeback.

One of the biggest surprises before the game got underway was the announcement Shaq Thompson and Jermaine Carter were switching to single-digits. A decision that head coach Matt Rhule said was made recently but there were no league stipulations stating it needed to be declared.

Gamesmanship? Perhaps.

But going back to his old college number at Washington clearly gave Thompson a new lease of life.

This is the Thompson we expected to see last season in the immediate aftermath of Luke Kuechly’s retirement. A commanding force at the second level who seemed to be around the ball on almost every down.

Thompson ended a highly impressive day at the office with 10 tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss, and three passes defended. The complete performance from the former first-round pick and arguably one of his best ever in a Panthers uniform.