3 immediate changes the Carolina Panthers must make in Week 5 at Lions

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Frank Reich
Frank Reich / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers must take Chandler Zavala out of the firing line

Putting Chandler Zavala into the starting lineup despite his distinct lack of NFL experience was a needs-must situation for the Carolina Panthers. Not having Austin Corbett to begin the campaign and losing Brady Christensen in Week 1 left the offensive line without its starting guard tandem from 2022, which was far from an ideal situation all things considered.

With no real depth to call upon, the Panthers threw their fourth-round selection into the fire right out of the gate. It's come as no surprise to Zavala's struggles, with Pro Football Focus counting 28 pressures to his name through four games.

To put that into context, no other offensive lineman has more than 14. This is a damning indictment of his overall performance and one has to wonder just how much long-term damage this might do to a development project if the Panthers keep him in the firing line.

This is something we touched on last week, but it bears more significance now. The Detroit Lions have a decent defensive front and Dan Campbell's men will be out for revenge after Carolina gave them a Christmas Eve thumping at Bank of America Stadium under interim head coach Steve Wilks in 2022.

Just who the Panthers could put in his place is the bigger question. Corbett hasn't been designated to make a return from the Physically Unable to Perform list as yet, which leaves Cade Mays, Nash Jensen, or perhaps Justin McCray.

Preference might be for McCray given his veteran presence. Either way, the Panthers cannot continue with Zavala for much longer - for the player's sake if nothing else.