4 backups Panthers should start over final 2 games of 2020
By Dean Jones
Which Carolina Panthers backups should start over their final two games?
Although Matt Rhule has stated the importance of approaching December football in the right way, it might now be time to admit defeat and start planning for 2021. The Carolina Panthers have little to play for other than pride following their loss at the Green Bay Packers, so getting a look at some fringe players over the next two games would be highly beneficial.
If Rhule throws them in and it doesn’t work out, so what? The former Baylor man will at least know who can and can’t be relied upon moving forward ahead of another critical offseason period of recruitment for the organization in the hope they can make a playoff push next time around.
That will be easier said than done in a competitive NFC South, but neither quarterback at the Saints, Buccaneers, or Falcons is getting any younger. Carolina also has some issues in this area and it remains to be seen whether Teddy Bridgewater will be tasked with leading them moving forward.
This was a trial and error situation for Rhule in 2020.
However, he won’t be afforded this luxury next time around.
Here are four Panthers backups who should start the final two games of the 2020 season.
Player No. 1
Stantley Thomas-Oliver – Carolina Panthers CB
Stantley Thomas-Oliver would benefit more than most with some extra time on the field. The rookie cornerback has been blended in slowly by the Panthers – and rightfully so – but the coaching staff will never get a better chance to find out what the seventh-round pick can do more prominently on the field.
It doesn’t appear as if Troy Pride Jr. will be available between now and the end of the season. Couple this with Rasul Douglas and Corn Elder both set to become free agents next spring and it makes the need for Carolina to throw Thomas-Oliver in at the deep end even more pressing.
This makes a ton of sense in Week 15 against Washington, who might be without quarterback Alex Smith once again and don’t have much in the way of viable passing options outside of Terry McLaurin and tight end Logan Thomas.