4 big Carolina Panthers storylines to watch after the bye week

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Matt Rhule /

What are the storylines to watch when the Carolina Panthers return from their bye?

It’s almost time for the Carolina Panthers to get back down to business after their well-deserved bye week. This long-awaited period of rest has no doubt done them some good after a grueling campaign and they’ve had a long time to reflect on a capitulation late on against the Minnesota Vikings that pretty much summed up their season.

There have been plenty of positives to take from the season. The Carolina Panthers boast some exceptional talent on both sides of the ball that are going to be crucial to any success that comes their way down the line. However, from the outside looking in, it seems like they are some way off competing for the big prize.

Head coach Matt Rhule will know this more than most. His adjustment from the college ranks has been encouraging and he has commanded the respect of the locker room in no time at all, which is sometimes half the battle.

Although the Panthers might not have much to play for down the stretch, here are four big storylines for Carolina’s loyal fanbase to keep a close eye on following the bye.

Storyline No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Yetur Gross-Matos /

Can Yetur Gross-Matos make his presence felt?

Yetur Gross-Matos has endured a frustrating rookie season due to injury and being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. There has been plenty to like about his level of production on a rotational basis when he has seen the field. But he has a real shot to make his presence felt following Carolina’s bye week.

Stephen Weatherly is going to be a non-factor on IR and it remains to be seen whether the free-agent signing will still be on the team in 2021. If the Panthers were smart, they’d use their remaining four games as a primary opportunity to throw more responsibility in the direction of their second-round selection and see how he copes.

Gross-Matos has shown flashes of brilliance during his first season in a professional environment and his pairing opposite stud pass-rusher Brian Burns could be something that really benefits the Panthers moving forward.