4 Panthers players who could be benched with poor Week 7 showing
By Dean Jones
Stephen Weatherly – Carolina Panthers DE
Stephen Weatherly was finally given a chance to become a prominent NFL starter when he signed a two-year, $12.5 million deal with the Carolina Panthers in free agency. His production on a rotational basis during his time with the Minnesota Vikings left plenty of reasons to be encouraged. But things haven’t gone quite according to plan so far.
The former seventh-round pick has yet to record a sack for his new team. Weatherly does have six quarterback pressures to his name, but it is hard to argue that the Panthers were probably expecting more.
One positive for Weatherly is that second-round pick Yetur Gross-Matos will be out of action for at least the next fortnight with a high ankle sprain. Carolina isn’t going to rush him back for fear of further complicating matters. So this should give the Vanderbilt product some additional time to prove his worth as more than a rotational option.
If he continues to struggle at the Saints, then the Panthers do have Marquis Haynes who can step in. The edge rusher has two sacks and five pressures from just 35 percent of Carolina’s defensive snaps and there might be even more to come from him with additional time on the field.
Weatherly has it all to do between now and the end of the season. What comes next will ultimately come down to the player.