Top takeaways from Panthers’ snap counts in Week 1 loss to Falcons

With an almost entirely new coach staff, the Carolina Panthers raised quite a few questions as to how they’d line up here in 2023. And on Sunday, in the team’s season-opening loss to the Atlanta Falcons, we got our first real answers.

Here are the top takeaways from the Week 1 snap counts:

Tightened up

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

As they indicated in their first few depth chart releases, the Panthers will be primarily running out three wideouts and one tight end on offense. The starting receivers—Terrace Marshall Jr. (69 snaps), Adam Thielen (68) and Jonathan Mingo (67)—all saw at least 87 percent of the unit’s looks.

Hurst led the way for the tight ends with a 53-percent presence (41 snaps). Tommy Tremble (18 snaps) and Ian Thomas (15) accounted for 23 and 19 percent, respectively.

Excluded on the edge

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Brian Burns and Justin Houston were the only outside linebackers who saw considerable time on Sunday. Burns was on for 50 of the defense’s 52 snaps with Houston scoring a solid 27.

Meanwhile, Yetur Gross-Matos recorded just four defensive snaps (with nine on special teams) and third-round pick DJ Johnson didn’t even get on the field. Although this could be a testament to their lack of depth at the position, head coach Frank Reich admitted on Monday that a run-heavy attack from Atlanta was the culprit for the distribution.

Man in the box?

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The clearest answer we’ve gotten on Chinn’s position is that he’s been listed as a nickel cornerback. And that’s kind of what we saw from him during the summer, as he notched 14 of his 20 snaps from the slot.

But that wasn’t exactly the case in Week 1. According to Pro Football Focus, Chinn saw just 10 of his 37 snaps from the slot. Most of work, instead, came out of the box (21).

So, with Reich having repeatedly described defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero’s approach as “multiple,” don’t expect Chinn to settle into any one spot.

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Story originally appeared on Panthers Wire