4 Panthers players who underperformed against the Raiders

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson /

Shaq Thompson – Carolina Panthers OLB

Shaq Thompson got his usual stats in terms of tackling. But it was his lack of production in coverage that was a concern and not what the Carolina Panthers expected going in.

This is Thompson’s time to come to the fore and become a defensive leader in the absence of Luke Kuechly. He has been making all the right noises during the preparation period. But he was found wanting to a degree when the Panthers finally returned to the gridiron.

Carolina’s linebacker group struggled to cope with the Raiders’ outside running game, which they deployed early and often. Jon Gruden targeted Thompson’s area of the field consistently on run packages and did the same when they needed to move the chains.

Thompson finished the game with 12 combined tackles, five solo tackles, and 1.5 tackles for loss. Perhaps the lack of production from Tahir Whitehead alongside him contributed somewhat. But that is no excuse considering what the player wants to achieve in 2020.

It will not take long for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to target Thompson with their two tight ends next weekend. O.J. Howard and Rob Gronkowski are a nightmare to cover at the top of their game and it will be up to the former first-round pick to make the necessary adjustments.