3 under-the-radar Panthers that must perform vs. the Browns in Week 1
By Dean Jones
Ian Thomas – Carolina Panthers TE
As stated previously. weather conditions aren’t expected to be all that favorable for anyone looking to witness a shootout at Bank of America Stadium. Heavy rain and a slippery turf surface still reeling from Charlotte FC’s game on Saturday will make things difficult, so the Carolina Panthers cannot put a foot wrong en route to a potential victory.
Keeping the chains moving in a composed fashion is going to be crucial. Big gains might be at a premium, so dependability over short-to-intermediate routes could be the key that propels Carolina’s offense, albeit methodically rather than explosively.
This means Ian Thomas could be tasked with far more responsibilities in the passing game than we’ve seen under Matt Rhule previously. Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo is known for implementing tight ends heavily within his system, with the former fourth-round selection boasting enough athleticism to potentially make a difference when targets come his way.
Another area where Thomas can provide help is pass protection. Rookie left tackle Ikem Ekwonu might need some assistance coming up against defensive end Myles Garrett, which the Indiana product could provide given his encouraging blocking development last season.
The Panthers are set to ask more from Thomas in 2022 after handing him a three-year extension before free agency. If the player cannot deliver, then expect to see Tommy Tremble pick up the slack.