First glimpse at (some) starters
With all starters resting in the Week 1 win over Chicago, this game was actually the first of 2019 where we got to see the majority of the starters — I say the majority because a group of guys including Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly, Christian McCaffrey, Greg Olsen and Shaq Thompson sat out due to injury/usage precautions. However, we did get to see pretty much everyone else, albeit only for a quarter or so.
The defensive front looked improved, pressuring Bills quarterback Josh Allen on multiple occasions and even getting a sack, which Mario Addison and Corn Elder combined for. Additionally, we got to see Addison drop into coverage, which was different but effective as he read a flat route and stopped it before it gained much. Expect to see more of that as the Panthers look for versatility out of their edge rushers in the switch to the 3-4 scheme.
Starters-wise, there are very few spots where there is an open competition. One of those is nickel, where Elder saw the majority of first team reps with Rashaan Gaulden and Javien Elliott also seeing time. Elder had half a sack with four tackles while Gaulden notched a TFL and four tackles. Addison and Bruce Irvin look to be the starters at the edge rushing spots, but first round pick Brian Burns, as well as Marquis Haynes, figure to be a heavy part of that rotation. Lastly, the starting spot at free safety figures to be Tre Boston’s to lose at this point.