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) Yetur Gross-Matos /

Yetur Gross-Matos – Carolina Panthers DE

This was the opportunity Yetur Gross-Matos has been waiting for. A chance to impose himself as the starting defensive end opposite Brian Burns and potentially take his game to new heights in 2022.

The former Penn State standout was unable to make an immediate impression in Week 1. Gross-Matos struggled to generate pressure and was also found wanting when it came to setting the edge and preventing the Cleveland Browns from setting the tone on the ground.

Pass-rushing depth was an obvious concern for the Carolina Panthers before the campaign. Should things continue in this fashion over the first few weeks, then it would be a big surprise if those in power didn’t seek out alternative options.

Gross-Matos has flashed from a rotational role over his first two seasons. But producing the goods from a starting role is going to be a significant challenge for the No. 38 overall selection in 2020.

The New York Giants will likely deploy a similar game plan featuring plenty of stretch runs to test Gross-Matos and others. Simply put, this is a challenge he has to be ready for to alleviate concerns about his long-term aspirations.

There is enough explosiveness and strength to go off where Gross-Matos is concerned. So it’s a little early to be giving up on the defensive end entirely with 16 games to go.

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