4 Panthers players with a point to prove vs. the Falcons in Week 8
By Dean Jones
Ian Thomas – Carolina Panthers TE
Ian Thomas is on the verge of becoming anonymous altogether for the Carolina Panthers. The tight end did make one big catch last time out at the Saints, but there was very little else in the way of production from a player who is becoming more of an afterthought with every passing week.
This is not what Thomas or the Panthers expected coming into the season. The former Indiana standout was supposed to fill the void left by veteran Pro Bowler Greg Olsen after Carolina decided not to offer him a new deal. But he has failed to make the most out of this opportunity through seven weeks.
Whether this is something that will change in the coming weeks is uncertain. Thomas has plenty of useful physical attributes at his disposal, and he has become better at the blocking aspect of playing the position. But it’s hard not to look at the 2018 fourth-round pick’s influence in the passing game other than with extreme disappointment.
Thomas was on the field for 70 percent of the Panthers’ defensive snaps in New Orleans despite not being listed as the starter. This makes his lack of involvement in the passing game even more bizarre and it is a huge test of the player’s resolve with plenty already writing off his chances of becoming a viable long-term starter in the NFL.