5 eye-popping Carolina Panthers surprises at their 2022 bye week

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ikem Ekwonu
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ikem Ekwonu /
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Which Carolina Panthers players have emerged as eye-popping surprises throughout what’s been another eventful journey to their 2022 bye week?

To say it’s been an eventful season for the Carolina Panthers would be the understatement of the year. During their 12 games in 2022 so far, the team has had two head coaches, four quarterbacks taking a snap, and multiple coaching changes at various positions.

Despite this and a 4-8 record the Panthers’ season is not over thanks to the NFC South being the NFL’s worst division by some margin.

On the whole, it has been a season of disappointment for the Panthers. A revamped offensive line coupled with the acquisition of Baker Mayfield had fans hoping Matt Rhule could see his famous third-year jump and take this team to its first playoff appearance since 2017, which didn’t materialize, and the previous head coach paid with his job.

However, despite the obvious failings this season it hasn’t all been negative. Carolina’s protection has gone from one of the worst to arguably a top-10 unit and we’ve seen a huge special teams resurgence under Chris Tabor with the likes of Johnny Hekker coming on board.

With this in mind, here are five eye-popping surprises within the Panthers as we reach their 2022 bye week.

Surprise No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) Eddy Pineiro /

Eddy Pineiro – Carolina Panthers K

After the Carolina Panthers lost Zane Gonzalez before the campaign, his replacement was secured quickly in Eddy Pineiro and he’s filled in admirably. Through 12 weeks, the kicker is 22-from-24 on field goals and 18-for-20 on extra points, which is outstanding production all things considered.

Outside his Week 8 performance at the Atlanta Falcons when the former Florida man missed a pair of kicks that would have won the game, he’s been impressive. Of the kickers ranked above Pineiro, only Daniel Carlson has attempted more than his 24 and only five have kicked 10-plus field goals in 2022.

With Gonzalez under contract in 2023, it would be a surprise to see Pineiro resign with the Panthers. But if keeps kicking at this level, then the front office has a big decision to make next spring.