Panthers' Kyle Love to start at defensive tackle in Week 1

Carolina Panthers' defensive tackle Kyle Love will start in place of Star Lotulelei in Week 1.

What It Means:

Head coach Ron Rivera made it all but certain that Lotulelei would sit for the team's first tilt of the year, so that opens the door for 28-year old journeyman Love to appear in his first regular season game since 2013. This will be a massive downgrade for this defensive unit, as Love has just 69 tackles and 5.5 sacks since 2010, and hasn't played in more than two games in a season since 2012.

The Carolina Panthers ranked third in scheduled-adjusted Defensive Net Expected Points in 2013, and Lotulelei's diminished presence -- and occasional absence -- in 2014 lowered that rank to tenth in the league. If Lotulelei's disruptive ability is out of their rotation for an extended period of time, the Panthers' once-formidable pass rush may be watered down heavily.