5 Carolina Panthers hanging by a thread ahead of Week 6 vs. Vikings

(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Joseph Charlton
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Joseph Charlton /
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Carolina Panthers
(Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports) Joseph Charlton /

Joseph Charlton – Carolina Panthers P

Joseph Charlton made a lasting impression during his rookie season. Enough for the Carolina Panthers to part ways with Michael Palardy once he returned to fitness this offseason.

This was a huge confidence boost for Charlton, who got an extension and no real competition for the starting job throughout training camp. However, what we’ve seen from the punter in 2021 has not followed this upward curve.

Charlton’s gone through some real complications this season, which was further highlighted by a blocked punt against the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth quarter that eventually led to Jalen Hurts’ game-winning touchdown.

This might not be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, so to speak.

But that time might not be far away.

The South Carolina product is averaging just 39.1 yards-per-punt from 21 attempts. This represents a significant drop-off for Charlton, who recorded a 46.3 average during his first season in a professional environment.

Carolina’s lack of patience with kickers is renowned. Now that they seem to have a short-term solution to their problem in Zane Gonzalez, the production of Charlton will be scrutinized more than ever.

Another poor showing against the Minnesota Vikings would leave more questions than answers. It might even see the Panthers begin pursuing alternative options.