Carolina Panthers Week 2 awards from defeat at the Bucs

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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Ian Thomas /

Missing in Action Award: Ian Thomas – Carolina Panthers TE

The situation surrounding Ian Thomas is a strange one, to put it mildly. The tight end was expected to slot in and fill the void left by Greg Olsen during the 2020 season. But it appears that he faces a real fight for his future if his involvement during the first two games is any indication.

After getting just two targets in Week 1 against the Raiders, Thomas didn’t get a single ball thrown his way on Sunday at the Bucs. The Carolina Panthers opted to make their tight ends virtually anonymous in the passing game, with Chris Manhertz gaining one reception.

Considering the increasing importance across the league regarding the pass-catching element at the position, the way offensive coordinator Joe Brady isn’t making the most out of Thomas’ impressive skill set is a little bizarre.

Brady gained a significant amount of success throwing to tight ends such as Thaddeus Moss during his historic 2019 campaign with LSU’s passing attack. So there must be something really amiss with Thomas during the early stages of the season.

The former Indiana standout was dealing with a toe issue during training camp that put his availability in Week 1 into question. Whether this has resurfaced or not is unclear. But either way one looks at it, this is far from an ideal start.