4 biggest Panthers disappointments through Week 4 of 2020 season

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Seth Roberts
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Seth Roberts /
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Carolina Panthers
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas /

Ian Thomas – Carolina Panthers TE

There was plenty of excitement surrounding the potential of Ian Thomas ahead of the 2020 season. The Carolina Panthers decided not to bring back prolific veteran Greg Olsen in free agency, which was a distinct vote of confidence in the former fourth-round pick’s ability to thrive with more responsibility on his shoulders.

To say things have not turned out as expected would be something of an understatement. Thomas has been virtually a non-factor through four weeks of the campaign and he needs to raise his game considerably to turn things around.

If this was the opportunity Thomas was waiting for, he is not making the most of it.

Considering how well offensive coordinator Joe Brady utilized his tight ends at LSU on their way to a convincing National Championship victory in 2019, it makes it all the more bizarre how little Thomas has been used. He has had trouble getting open in certain situations, which has clearly hampered the player. But his improvement in blocking has at least ensured a contribution in some form.

The Panthers have moved the ball efficiently despite Thomas logging just nine targets (five receptions), 30 receiving yards, and one touchdown. If he can someone generate more of an influence on proceedings in the coming weeks, then it will be another huge shot in the arm for Carolina in their pursuit of an encouraging record at the end of the campaign.