5 Carolina Panthers players on the hot seat in Week 9 at Bengals

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Donte Jackson
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Donte Jackson /
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Which Carolina Panthers find themselves on the hot seat ahead of their Week 9 road contest against the Cincinnati Bengals?

After the Carolina Panthers suffered a gut-wrenching loss at the Atlanta Falcons in Week 8, it would be easy for this group to feel sorry for themselves. However, they are made of far sterner stuff under interim head coach Steve Wilks.

The games come thick and fast, which is probably a good thing for the Panthers. They’ve been more fun to catch over the last fortnight, but that will count for very little if results don’t start improving at the earliest possible opportunity.

Sunday’s game at the Cincinnati Bengals represents another tough test for Carolina on the road. They are heavy underdogs for the clash, but Wilks will have his roster ready and they won’t be going down without a significant fight that’s for sure.

For some, the stakes are growing. With this in mind, here are five Panthers players who find themselves on the hot seat in Week 9.

Player No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Shi Smith /

Shi Smith – Carolina Panthers WR

The emergence of Laviska Shenault Jr. and Terrace Marshall Jr. in the passing game is encouraging. In the former LSU star’s case, he looks to be thriving without previous head coach Matt Rhule, who couldn’t seem to find the right solution regarding the wide receiver.

This paints a bleak outlook for Shi Smith. The former sixth-round selection surged up to No. 3 on the depth chart after dazzling in training camp, but with 14.3 percent of targets thrown his way being dropped, there is now a distinct lack of confidence in his ability to produce.