Panthers in the Pros: Week 1


Image via Getty | TNS

Tyler Boyd got his season off to a slow start, totaling only 33 yards on four receptions against the Los Angeles Chargers.

By Marshall Worth, Staff Writer

The 2020 NFL season got underway last weekend, with numerous former Panthers shaking off the rust of the offseason and seeing the field for the first time since last winter. Here’s a rundown of how Pitt’s former players fared in the season’s commencing action.

Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams DT

Aaron Donald, a five-time All-Pro and two-time Defensive Player of the Year, is arguably the best player in all of football and unquestionably the best defensive player to ever come out of Pitt. Donald got his season off to a strong start on Sunday, recording four quarterback hits, four tackles, and one sack in the Rams’ home win over the Dallas Cowboys. The Rams opened their season on national television, where NBC announcers Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth took multiple opportunities to single out Donald as the most disruptive player on the field. Donald and the Rams are set to travel to Philadelphia this weekend to face the 0-1 Eagles. Donald failed to record a sack in each of the Rams’ last two games against Philadelphia.

LeSean McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB

After departing Kansas City with his first career Super Bowl ring, LeSean McCoy made his debut for another championship contender in the Buccaneers Sunday. McCoy appeared in Tampa Bay’s loss to the New Orleans Saints only briefly, recording one catch for two yards and receiving zero carries. McCoy is behind Ronald Jones II on the Bucs’ depth chart, meaning that, barring injury, his playing time this year will stay limited. The Bucs continue their season with another divisional matchup this weekend, squaring off against the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. 

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals WR

The Cardinals kicked off their season with a stunning upset victory over the defending conference champion San Francisco 49ers. Larry Fitzgerald played a relatively minor role in Arizona’s offense against the ‘Niners, totaling four receptions for a total of 34 yards. Fitzgerald’s fellow wideout DeAndre Hopkins had a huge game, which figures to benefit Fitzgerald over the long haul of the season. The Cardinals host Washington this weekend in a matchup of surprising 1-0 teams. 

Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals WR

Like Fitzgerald, Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd got his season off to a slow start, totaling only 33 yards on four receptions against the Los Angeles Chargers. Unlike Fitzgerald, however, Boyd’s effort came on the losing front as the Bengals fell to the Chargers on a last-second missed field goal. Cincinnati’s offensive performance was putrid, resulting in only 13 points

James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers RB

Much intrigue and curiosity surrounded the Steelers leading up to their season opener against the New York Giants. Pittsburgh exists as an unknown this year after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed 14 games in 2019. The Steelers could finish this season on either end of the standings, but their convincing season-opening win served as an encouraging sign for the weeks ahead. Although the Pittsburgh offense tallied 26 points on Monday night, much of the responsibility fell on Big Ben’s shoulders. 

Conner had a largely silent night, recording only nine rushing yards on six carries before exiting the game at halftime due to an ankle injury. Conner’s status for Week 2 against the Denver Broncos is uncertain, but head coach Mike Tomlin recently did not rule out that Conner could be active.

Jordan Whitehead, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Safety 

Whitehead, our second Buccaneer on the list, got his season off to a strong start in New Orleans. Playing strong safety for the first time since his rookie season, Whitehead recorded four solo tackles and totaled six total tackles. His efforts couldn’t get the Buccaneers the win over Saints quarterback Drew Brees, though.