5 Panthers players who didn’t meet expectations vs. Browns in Week 1

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Yetur Gross-Matos
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Yetur Gross-Matos /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /

Shaq Thompson – Carolina Panthers OLB

Again, it’s worth remembering that Shaq Thompson missed training camp after undergoing a minor knee operation. This also prevented the outside linebacker from featuring during the preseason, so it was probably an exhausting experience for the player in Week 1.

The Carolina Panthers involved Thompson heavily from a leadership standpoint this offseason. Asking him to jump right into competitive action against a ferocious Cleveland Browns rushing attack was a tough task, but missed tackles and poor positioning didn’t do the player or his team any favors.

Thompson would probably be the first to tell you his performance wasn’t good enough. And it’s not as if Frankie Luvu or Damien Wilson were any better across Carolina’s linebacker corps.

Much like the situation with Jaycee Horn, there’s no doubt Thompson needed these reps after a disrupted preparation period. But the Panthers won’t want the second level becoming a weak link in Week 2 given how New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley looked in their opening day success at the Tennessee Titans.

The former first-round pick out of Washington is experienced enough to know what’s demanded of him. So expect Thompson to perform far better at MetLife Stadium this Sunday.