3 major storylines following the Carolina Panthers into Week 3 at Seahawks

Keep an eye on these Carolina Panthers storylines in Week 3.

Andy Dalton and Bryce Young
Andy Dalton and Bryce Young / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 4

Can the Carolina Panthers cope without Shaq Thompson?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

The Carolina Panthers lost a starting player to a season-ending injury last week. Linebacker Shaq Thompson suffered a broken fibula and will be out of action until the 2024 campaign.

In a corresponding move, Deion Jones was elevated off the practice squad to the 53-man roster for their Week 3 contest. But it’s all eyes on Kamu Grugier-Hill, for me.

Grugier-Hill was a standout of the summer program and gave off serious Frankie Luvu vibes. This is regarding the notion the Panthers had possibly struck gold again in signing a special teams contributor that packs a whole lot more juice than many anticipated.

He earned his notoriety in training camp and preseason via interceptions. At 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, Grugier-Hill is an undersized linebacker by typical NFL standards. He has the athleticism and build of a pumped-up safety - which he did play in his high school days in Honolulu - but his approach is all linebacker.

When he got his opportunity in 2021 with the Houston Texans to start and play the largest contributing role of his career, he didn’t squander the chance. While starting 14 games, Grugier-Hill accumulated 108 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, and one interception that he returned for 82 yards.

It’s possible that we see Jeremy Chinn sprinkled in a bit at the linebacker alignment, as well. The 2020 second-rounder got limited playing time against the New Orleans Saints with a much more pass-driven game script, and that may be the case versus the Seattle Seahawks, too.

Regardless, this is a legitimate opportunity for Grugier-Hill to step up and provide this team with not only adequate fill-in play but another spark alongside Luvu. The two could make for a fast, aggressive duo being deployed all over the defensive side of the field.