4 critical observations from Carolina Panthers' loss at the Falcons in Week 1

It was an afternoon to forget for the Carolina Panthers in Atlanta.

Adam Thielen
Adam Thielen / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
4 of 5

Carolina Panthers have a WR problem

It was clear to most that going into the season the Carolina Panthers had a bottom-five wide receiver unit, After Week 1, it’s hard to argue with that.

The Panthers wideout group may be the league's weakest. Even with D.J. Chark set to return against the New Orleans Saints in Week 2, these pass-catching options have far more questions than answers.

Bryce Young had just 146 passing yards, with Terrace Marshall Jr. being the only receiver to top 20 yards through the air. To the surprise of no one, tight end Hayden Hurst was the most reliable target, hauling in five receptions for 41 yards and the Panthers' only touchdown of the game.

But the real issue for the Panthers wideouts was the lack of separation. Young had little to no opportunity to go deep as the Falcons' secondary were clamping their opponents. Late in the game, we saw Atlanta able to send blitz after blitz, comfortable in the fact they could leave their defensive backs in one-on-one coverage and win every time.

Even the likely return of Chark does little to alleviate the real concern surrounding this unit. If Carolina does not have a genuine WR1 for Young, this could be a long season.