Carolina Panthers 2023-2024 Season Preview

The 2023-2024 Panthers are starting fresh with a new head coach and quarterback. Expectations may not be high for this team, but the pieces are there to remain competitive in the weak NFC South.

2022-2023 Results

The Panthers had a tumultuous beginning to the 2022-2023 season, firing head coach Matt Rhule after a 1-4 start. Carolina was held back by an extremely limited offense that had no real stars aside from DJ Moore. Rhule was replaced by assistant coach Steve Wilks who yielded better results, as the Panthers finished the season winning five of their last eight games. Although they were 6-9, they stayed in the hunt in a very weak NFC South, but their season was over after losing to the Buccaneers in Week 16.

Nobody would have blamed Carolina for completely blowing it up during or after the season, but they kept most of the team together. Defensive stars Jaycee Horn and Brian Burns were subject to several trade rumors but remained with the team. After a huge draft day trade that sent DJ Moore and several picks to Chicago to acquire the first overall selection, the Panthers selected their new franchise QB, Bryce Young.

With the NFC South still up for grabs, the 2023-2024 Panthers didn’t have a reason to fully reset. Can Bryce Young lead the Panthers to the playoffs in his rookie season, or will the Panthers still need more time?

Key Additions

RB Miles Sanders

Miles Sanders signed a four-year deal with Carolina coming off of a career year with the Eagles. He will look to be their first 1,000-yard rusher since Christian McCaffrey in 2019.

WR Adam Thielen

Adam Thielen signed a three-year contract which will likely be his last in the NFL. In the twilight of his career, Thielen may have lost a step but should still be Bryce Young’s most reliable target.

S Vonn Bell

Vonn Bell inked a three-year deal with Carolina coming off a productive stint with the Bengals. The 28-year-old was one of the top safeties in the league last year, hauling in a career-high four interceptions.

DL Shy Tuttle

After two years as a starter with the division-rival Saints, Tuttle agreed to a three-year deal with the Panthers. Tuttle will look the strengthen the interior defensive front alongside Derrick Brown.

Draft Additions

  • QB Bryce Young (Round 1, Pick 1, Alabama)
  • WR Jonathan Mingo (Round 2, Pick 39, Ole Miss)
  • EDGE DJ Johnson (Round 3, Pick 80, Oregon)
  • G Chandler Zavala (Round 4, Pick 114, NC State)
  • S Jammie Robinson (Round 5, Pick 145, Florida State)

Key Departures

WR DJ Moore

DJ Moore got shipped in a blockbuster Draft Day deal with Chicago, which eventually landed the Panthers Bryce Young. Moore was Carolina’s best receiver by a long shot, so Adam Thielen and DJ Chark have some large shoes to fill.

LB Cory Littleton

Cory Littleton signed with the Texans after an injury-plagued season with Carolina. The 29-year-old linebacker will be a starter with Houston and has been impactful when healthy.

2023-2024 Panthers Coaching Staff

  • Head Coach: Frank Reich
  • Offensive Coordinator: Thomas Brown
  • QB coach: Josh McCown
  • RB coach: Duce Staley
  • WR coach: Shawn Jefferson
  • TE coach: John Lilly
  • OL coach: James Campen
  • Senior Assistant: Jim Caldwell
  • Defensive Coordinator: Ejiro Evero
  • DL coach: Todd Wash
  • LB coach: Peter Hansen
  • OLB coach: Tem Lukabu
  • CB coach: Jonathan Cooley
  • Safeties coach: Bert Watts
  • Special Teams Coordinator: Chris Tabor

Projected Depth Chart

QB: Bryce Young, Andy Dalton, Matt Corral

RB: Miles Sanders, Chuba Hubbard, Rasheem Blackshear, Spencer Brown

WR: Adam Thielen, DJ Chark, Jonathan Mingo, Terrace Marshall Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr., Shi Smith, Damiere Byrd

TE: Hayden Hurst, Ian Thomas, Tommy Tremble

LT: Ikem Ekwonu, Larnel Coleman

LG: Brady Christensen, Justin McCray

C: Bradley Bozeman, Sam Tecklenburg

RG: Austin Corbett, Chandler Zavala

RT: Taylor Moton, Cameron Erving

DT: Derrick Brown, Shy Tuttle, DeShawn Williams, Henry Anderson, Bravvion Roy, Marquan McCall

EDGE: Brian Burns, Yetur Gross-Matos, DJ Johnson, Marquise Haynes, Amaré Barno

LB: Shaq Thompson, Frankie Luvu, Brandon Smith, Kamu Grugier-Hill

CB: Jaycee Horn, Donte Jackson, Jeremy Chinn, C.J. Henderson, Eric Rowe, Keith Taylor Jr.

S: Vonn Bell, Xavier Woods, Sam Franklin Jr., Jammie Robinson

K: Eddy Pineiro

P: Johnny Hekker

LS: J.J. Jansen

KR: Rasheem Blackshear

PR: Shi Smith

Season Outlook

The 2023-2024 Panthers seem to be caught in between a rebuilding stage while trying to remain competitive. Defensively, they have a chance to be very good. Their secondary is loaded with Xavier Woods, Vonn Bell, CJ Henderson and Jaycee Horn. However, there are still questions to be answered on offense. It will ultimately come down to how good Bryce Young is as a rookie.

While I expect Carolina to improve as a team, I don’t think it will be enough to win the NFC South. I have the Panthers going 8-9 with a chance to sneak into the Wild Card round.

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