4 ways Carolina Panthers can improve on offense in 2021

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Joe Brady
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Joe Brady /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Greg Olsen /

Find a pass-catching tight end

A glaring omission from the Carolina Panthers’ offensive scheme in 2020 was a lack of tight end involvement. Greg Olsen and the team went their separate ways after a prolific career with the franchise and any hopes the coaching staff had regarding Ian Thomas stepping up and becoming the long-term No. 1 option never really panned out.

Not having a big body over the middle is something that had a detrimental impact on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater both in crucial third downs and in the red zone. Thomas was a relative afterthought with just 31 targets throughout the season, which was bizarre when one considers just how much Joe Brady utilized players at the position as passing coordinator of LSU during their memorable National Championship victory in 2019.

Whether this comes in free agency or the 2021 NFL Draft is irrelevant.

The Panthers have to get a better option into the organization in the coming weeks.

Not only this, Brady must come up with the right sort of plays that enable any new recruit to make a lasting impression, especially as Carolina might be losing the services of Curtis Samuel in free agency – who was their most dependable third-down weapon in 2020.

It might not sound like a great need. But one only has to look at the successful teams across the league to see just how vital tight end production is.

The Panthers were blessed with this when Olsen was at the peak of his powers. Hopefully, they can find a player who can continue this and give them a better alternative to Thomas.