Atlanta Falcons: 3 players who must step up in Week 1 vs Carolina Panthers

Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers
Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers / Grant Halverson/GettyImages
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Tom Brady, David Onyemata
New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

2. David Onyemata needs to show why Nielsen brought him along to ATL.

Prior to writing for Blogging Dirty (hello to all the long time readers, I'm Eric, nice to virtually meet you), I wrote on how we needed a Robin to Batman (Grady Jarrett) inside. Da'Ron Payne was the guy I had my eyes set on when free agency opened up.

Nielsen convinced Fontenot and Smith to bring over one of his guys, someone who has been a mainstay in the Saints defense during Nielsen's tenure. He gets a great opening matchup to announce his presence and prove his DC right.

If Miles Sanders is ready to go for Week 1, we will need to stop the run. Yes, Bryce Young, I know, but if we can't stop the run, the Panthers won't stop running it. We were in the middle of the NFL in run defense last year (16th according to PFF), yet Onyemata's addition bolsters both run defense, and pass rush.

If Onyemata clogs up the middle, you will see him be circled and highlighted by the color commentators for his contributions. That will open up for the next Atlanta Falcon we need to play strongly on Sunday to win.