3 major Carolina Panthers storylines ahead of Week 1 at the Falcons

There's never a dull moment where the Carolina Panthers are concerned.
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Carolina Panthers WR worries

The initial Week 1 injury report was released yesterday, and it contained four wide receivers. The Carolina Panthers carry six total wideouts on their 53-man roster.  That’s not a favorable percentage of healthy-to-unhealthy.

Adam Thielen was the biggest surprise on the injury report, as he showed up as a limited participant due to an ankle ailment. It was the first I’ve personally heard or seen of the issue, so my hope is that it’s minor and he should be fine to take the field in a few days.

Terrace Marshall Jr. was limited with his back injury. Although he’s been progressing and is past the original “few weeks” timeline that was initially projected.

Marshall is a key player in this offense. He’s probably the only wide receiver in the entire group that has the ability and versatility to play any of the receiver alignments on the field.

He also provides a sorely needed deep threat, especially if fellow wideout D.J. Chark is unable to suit up. The free-agent signing's injury is a bit more worrisome to me, being that it’s a soft tissue complication and he has already alluded to the notion of not rushing back to avoid setbacks.

Not to mention the most obvious aspect of why his injury concerns me most – he was listed as DNP for Wednesday’s practice. Chark provides the straight-line deep threat and fills the contested catch role for this offense.

Laviska Shenault Jr. had been working through the five-step concussion protocol for the past couple of weeks but finally received full clearance last Wednesday. While it’s nice that he’s healthy, the versatile weapon is not exactly the player that you want lined up outside. He's done his damage in more… conjured opportunities and short routes.

Rookie Jonathan Mingo has shown serious potential through flashes in the preseason and training camp, but it’s been a bit inconsistent still. He profiles as the best chance of a dynamic, WR1 out of the group, but I’d bet that this is earlier than the team would’ve hoped to be asking him to shoulder that responsibility.

If you have Mingo on your fantasy roster, he may very well be a target monster this week.

Newly signed Ihmir Smith-Marsette was a full participant and will be ready to play. He led the Kansas City Chiefs in receiving yards during the preseason and is a big play waiting to happen. He may be cleared for take-off much sooner than anticipated, mainly out of necessity.

Reading between all the banged-up lines here, this Carolina Panthers offense could be operating with one arm tied behind its back against the Falcons. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Marshall on a snap count of sorts on Sunday and to see Chark held out entirely.

This offense has been kept under wraps all preseason, so we’re already not exactly sure what to expect. Limping into the contest at the wide receiver spot doesn't provide much in the way of hoping to unlock the master plan.