5 Carolina Panthers on the hot seat in Week 10 vs. Falcons

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Damien Wilson
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Damien Wilson /
3 of 5
Carolina Panthers
(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports) Damien Wilson /

Damien Wilson – Carolina Panthers LB

After a series of failed personnel moves in the aftermath of Luke Kuechly’s shock retirement, Damien Wilson was the latest veteran tasked with stepping up and filling a gaping void at middle linebacker. The former Super Bowl winner has flashed moments of quality, but it’s not coming with the consistency needed to secure the position long-term.

Sunday’s game at the Cincinnati Bengals was arguably the worst since Wilson joined the Carolina Panthers. Especially in the run game, where he offered no assistance and allowed Joe Mixon to put this game completely out of sight midway through the second quarter.

Wilson and the entire linebacking core are on notice. Any further regression against the Atlanta Falcons is likely to bring similar results thanks to the return of star running back Cordarrelle Patterson, who the Panthers didn’t have to deal with in Week 8.

The former Minnesota college standout ranks No. 9 on the team with 32 tackles and currently possesses a 55.6 grade from Pro Football Focus as a result of his efforts. Nothing but substantial improvements will do against the Falcons, or it could be another long evening for a defense that’s coming under more scrutiny than ever.

All hope is not lost where Wilson is concerned. But the player needs to make his presence felt more prominently to convince a new coaching staff he’s worthy of an extended stay.