Who were the big winners and losers as the Carolina Panthers got their 2023 campaign underway with a Week 1 defeat at the Atlanta Falcons?
It wasn't hard to see how expectations were rising around the Carolina Panthers heading into the 2023 campaign. A wild offseason of recruitment and their daring trade up to No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft dictated as much, but it was something that the franchise couldn't live up to during their disappointing Week 1 loss at the Atlanta Falcons.
Everything that could go wrong inevitably did for the Panthers en route to a 24-10 reverse. There were some positives, but much work is ahead for the coaching staff in the coming days before welcoming the New Orleans Saints to Bank of America Stadium for a pivotal Monday Night Football showdown.
This will sting and in many ways, has burst the bubble. But it's just one game and there is a lot of football left to turn this thing around.
With that being said, here are six winners and losers from Carolina's loss at the Falcons in Week 1.
Loser No. 1
Carolina Panthers WRs
After losing D.J. Moore in the trade that landed Bryce Young, there were concerns about the wide receiver group even before a competitive down had been played. The Carolina Panthers were without D.J. Chark for the contest, but those available couldn't generate any sort of separation consistently against an Atlanta Falcons secondary that had their way from start to finish.
Hayden Hurst - the free-agent signing made to bolster the tight end position - is the only one who can look back on his route running with any sort of credit. Jonathan Mingo and Terrace Marshall Jr. got free on deep routes once each, but rookie quarterback Bryce Young overthrew them during an indifferent competitive debut from the signal-caller.
This is deeply concerning. Turning this around must be a collective effort and the coaching staff needs to find better ways of scheming their guys open if they cannot get the job done by themselves.