Carolina Panthers must get the run game going early
This is quite often a key to winning most NFL games, even with a lack of importance being placed on running backs in today's league. But this is no more true than when trying to protect a young quarterback against an opportunistic defense.
The Atlanta Falcons didn't come into the season being known for takeaways. Yet they managed to haul in two interceptions from Bryce Young on plays where the young quarterback didn't see the defender watching his eyes.
The New Orleans Saints managed to intercept Ryan Tannehill three times and make the veteran quarterback's day the stuff of nightmares from the word go. They also sealed up every Tennessee Titans wide receiver so well there were only a handful of times separation was created.
If the Panthers couldn't gain any meaningful separation against the Falcons, then what hope is there against the Saints? That hope lies in the run game.
If the Panthers can lean on a resurgent Chuba Hubbard and Miles Sanders to take the brunt of the early load and trust in a banged-up offensive line to move the trenches, that will open up the passing game. As well as take some pressure off the under-strength protection.
One can also hope that the team will have deep threat D.J. Chark back from injury to help spread out the field a little bit more.
Keeping the run game going also means that the team isn't stuck in a hole that Young has to try and dig out of, something that inevitably leads to the kinds of mistakes that doomed the Panthers in Week 1. So keeping as much pressure off the young quarterback's shoulders is paramount both to this game and future development.