4 Panthers players crucial to potential shock NFC South title challenge

(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson
(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Terrace Marshall Jr. /

Terrace Marshall Jr. – Carolina Panthers WR

Much has been said about the disappointing start to Terrace Marshall Jr.’s career, and deservedly so. Whether it be drops, inconsistent play, or an inability to gain separation, the young wideout couldn’t buy playing time this season even with the Carolina Panthers’ offense collapsing around him.

That all changed after the trade of Robbie Anderson to the Arizona Cardinals.

With a newfound opportunity to prove himself to a new coaching staff, Marshall produced an impressive performance against a stout Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary in Week 7. The LSU product hauled in two clutch catches that extended drives and led to one of the Panthers’ three touchdowns on the day.

While stats of two catches for 31 receiving yards may not seem like a big deal, this was a breakout performance where Marshall is concerned. Something that the young player can build on in the coming weeks.

The Cincinnati Bengals exposed a gigantic weakness in the Atlanta Falcons’ secondary last week. Tyler Boyd as the big-bodied receiver was able to find the holes in their zone with regularity and make them pay for it. A player that is scarily similar in build to Marshall.

The Falcons simply didn’t have anyone big enough or physical enough to slow down someone of that physical prowess. Whether it be down the sideline or over the middle, Boyd was always open.

Marshall is that guy for the Panthers. His physical presence on the outside can bully smaller defenders and find that open spot in the zone. The player that can finally take the weight off of D.J. Moore’s shoulders.

If the former second-round pick can string together a few solid receptions, it will open so much of the playbook for Carolina and let them finally be creative for the first time in 2022.