KLEIN'S PERFORMANCE NO SURPRISE: The Panthers defense didn't miss a beat when A.J. Klein stepped in at middle linebacker for Luke Kuechly against Jacksonville, and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott was particularly proud of that fact.
"We play great team defense," said McDermott, whose unit shut out the Jaguars in the second half. "Not taking anything away from Luke, but there's not one person that is more important than another."
Klein, who finished with six tackles, was prepared for the extended action and delivered when his team needed him.
"Those of us that were around late at night last week, A.J. was one of the guys that was here working," McDermott said. "Anytime a guy gets results the way he did, it's the result of hard work. The success was no accident. He earned it."
Klein – a third-year veteran with 10 career starts – didn't start the game alongside Kuechly and Davis. Instead, first-round pick Shaq Thompson got the nod to start at strongside linebacker. But Klein didn't let that affect him.
"He handled that situation with the utmost class," McDermott said. "He's a true professional."
COACHES PUSHING NORMAN: It'd be easy to sit back and heap praise on cornerback Josh Norman after his stellar outing in the opener, which included a pick-six, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
But head coach Ron Rivera and McDermott are making sure Norman understands that he can play even better.
"He was disruptive. He made two game-changing plays. He had a nice game," McDermott said. "Having said that, like all of us, there are plays that Josh wants back."
Namely, the 1-yard touchdown rookie wide receiver Rashad Greene scored in the first half. Norman was in coverage and took the blame.
"We've got to continue to focus on (fixing mistakes) this week," McDermott said.
LACK OF POINTS PROBLEMATIC: Offensive coordinator Mike Shula said it was "discouraging" to produce just 13 points as an offense against the Jaguars, especially considering the favorable field position Carolina obtained.
"We need more points," Shula said. "That was discouraging, that part, because we had really good field position. Not taking advantage of the field position – that's tough.
"It can come back and hurt you, which it almost did. Our defense played great."
LOOKING TO GET OLSEN MORE INVOLVED: It was one game, and that's important to keep in mind, but the Panthers fully intend to get Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen more than one catch for 11 yards in Week 2 and beyond.
"There were a couple (plays) where we were trying to take a shot downfield with him and (Jacksonville) did a nice job," Shula said. "Cam got flushed a little bit so he couldn't go to him.
"But yeah, we need to move him around and make sure we get the ball to him."
Olsen did have a touchdown catch wiped away after he was penalized for offensive pass interference. A 13-yard catch later in the game was also negated due to an illegal man downfield penalty.
And as both Shula and Rivera mentioned, the Jaguars were intent on making sure Olsen wasn't an available target. But Shula knows he has to create opportunities for the tight end to be more involved.
"He's a playmaker for us," Shula said, "and we'll find ways to get him the ball."