4 surprising factors during first quarter of Panthers 2022 season

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield and Ben McAdoo
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield and Ben McAdoo /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Taylor Moton and Austin Corbett /

Carolina Panthers OL consistency

The Carolina Panthers wasted no time in making substantial improvements to their offensive line this spring. Getting this unit gelling together quickly was going to be a steep challenge for new coach James Campen, but after an indifferent opening against the Cleveland Browns, the consistency overall is a hugely positive element to emerge from the opening four weeks.

This is music to the ears of fans who’ve been subjected to some pathetic protection in recent years. Now, there is real hope this group can become the cornerstone for future success.

Austin Corbett has fitted in seamlessly at the right guard position and Brady Christensen is also growing into the interior superbly on the left-hand side. Perhaps the most surprising element of all is the performance of Pat Elflein, who started over Bradley Bozeman and has done nothing to suggest this was the wrong call as yet.

Taylor Moton doesn’t seem to be moving as well as he has in recent years. This could be down to a knee problem, but the Western Michigan product is a proven performer that should pick things up as the campaign goes on.

Then there is Ikem Ekwonu, Carolina’s first-round pick who has responded incredibly well after getting a rude awakening from stud edge rusher Myles Garrett on his NFL debut. The No. 6 overall selection is steadily improving with each passing game, which bodes well for the future in pursuit of finally becoming the Panthers’ long-term blindside answer.

Carolina’s offense is going through severe complications. But for once, the offensive line cannot be held accountable.