Panthers News: Jaycee Horn, Tarik Cohen, power rankings and Frank Reich

Exploring the latest Carolina Panthers news and rumors from around the media.
Tarik Cohen
Tarik Cohen / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers slump in ESPN's power rankings

After an offseason full of hope and expectation, the Carolina Panthers got a reality check at the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1. Mustering 10 points on the road against divisional rials wasn't exactly the best way to begin what's supposed to be a prosperous new era, so there is a lot of hard work ahead for Frank Reich and his staff in pursuit of improvements.

This highly disappointing effort was reflected in ESPN's power rankings. After sitting at No. 22 in the preseason, Carolina dropped dramatically to No. 28, although beat writer David Newton highlighted the positive debut of tight end Hayden Hurst as a reason for optimism moving forward.

"Coach Frank Reich said the tight end was going to play a big role in his offense, and Hurst showed that even on a down day for rookie quarterback Bryce Young. He led the team in catches, targets and receiving yards. He and Young connected for Carolina's only touchdown of the day. Hurst's only real mistake was throwing Young's first touchdown ball into the stands."

David Newton, ESPN

This is probably a fair reflection of how things unfolded for the Panthers during their first game of the 2023 season. But there are a lot of new moving parts that need to mesh, so things should progress positively as the campaign evolves.

However, Reich cannot afford to go 0-2 against NFC South opposition if he genuinely harbors playoff hopes.