5 things the Carolina Panthers must learn from Week 2 loss vs. Saints

There was once again a lot to unpack from Week 2's loss.

Jeremy Chinn
Jeremy Chinn / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Do we still love the Carolina Panthers TE room?

When the initial 53-man roster was put together after the final preseason game, the Carolina Panthers had five tight ends make the cut. Now, since that point, Stephen Sullivan was placed on the injured/reserve list. You can argue Giovanni Ricci is a full-back, and that’s fair, but they still technically carry four tight ends.

Frank Reich is known for his affinity for the position and utilizing multiple tight ends in his offensive scheme. The expectation, at least mine, was that we’d see a fair share of multiple formations and that the players would be used in creative alignments pre-snap.

In 2021, Reich’s last full season as a head coach, his Indianapolis Colts ran 11 personnel for 63 percent of the offensive snaps, and 12 personnel for 21%. In the four games he was at the helm for in 2022, 65% was 11 personnel, and 16% used using 12 personnel.

So far, and it’s an admittedly small sample size of only two games, this Panthers offense has rolled out 11 personnel for a whopping 92 percent of the offensive snaps. 12 personnel has been used 4%.

Hayden Hurst was the only tight end involved through the air, with three catches on as many targets for 20 receiving yards. In the combined 27 snaps for Ian Thomas and Tommy Tremble, they received zero targets.

My notion isn’t simply about getting the tight ends more targets, let alone more catches, but more creative usage.

Yes, 11 personnel for 92 percent of the snaps means the Panthers use a single tight end ridiculously often. But if the team likes the position room so much and they want to establish a run game as part of their identity while remaining multiple, it could be prudent to start incorporating some different looks and personnel concepts from the tight end position.