6 Panthers players with most to prove after the bye week

(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Tre Boston
(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Tre Boston /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Joey Slye /

Joey Slye – Carolina Panthers K

Kickers are generally the biggest scapegoats on a team. They can make all the difference in close games and the Carolina Panthers have been in plenty of those this season.

Joey Slye has missed three game-winning field goals during the campaign so far. Two of these would have been NFL records – so he gets a pass on those – but his attempt at the Vikings missed by a mile and piled even more pressure on the second-year-pro once he returns from the bye week.

Now one could argue that the Panthers shouldn’t have even been relying on Slye to get them out of jail in the first place. But that won’t count for anything when it’s time for the player to hear his fate regarding a possible extension in Carolina once the campaign concludes.

Teams can be too hasty getting rid of kickers. One only has to look at how well Daniel Carlson has done at the Raiders since his release by the Vikings after missing three field goals against the Packers. But their shelf-life is generally smaller and Slye will need to be more consistent over the remaining four games to leave no doubt regarding his potential to fill the void long-term.

The Panthers got rid of both Harrison Butker and Graham Gano, who are both playing well with the Chiefs and Giants respectively. It was a big call to go with Slye and the jury is still out as to whether they made the right call.