The Carolina Panthers 1st Rd draft pick only saw 17 defensive snaps in the win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. It amounted to only 25% of all defensive snaps. When asked about Thompson’s marginal role, Ron Rivera explained that the rookie’s usage was “dictated by the their [Jags] personnel groupings.” Without facing an athletic tight end, there isn’t always a need to play “base personnel” and against three receiver sets, Carolina feels substituting an extra corner provides a better defensive position to manage the passing attack.
It doesn’t look like as if Shaq Thompson’s snap cap will increase dramatically this week. Houston barely has a tight-end, down to two after Ryan Griffin’s MCL sprain, let alone an athletic one. Griffin was the most targeted tight end against the Chiefs, and the production was far from impressive. Reigning in only 1 catch for 18 yards, the Texans couldn’t muster production through the tight end spot. Given the uncertainty surrounding this Texans passing attack and their lack of athleticism at tight end, Shaq’s services may not be at a premium on Sunday. The only way Thompson’s role will likely increase this week is if Houston abandon’s the passing attack entirely and tries to run the ball exclusively. A scenario that also requires Houston establishing an early lead against a Panthers defense that doesn’t plan on giving up much.
By the Professor, aka Tony Dunn
Follow him on Twitter @Cat_Chronicles