3 pleasant Carolina Panthers surprises at the 2023 bye week

It hasn't been all bad...

Bryce Young
Bryce Young / Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers WR Adam Thielen's production

More than a few eyebrows were raised when veteran wide receiver Adam Thielen spurned the advances of contending teams to sign for the Carolina Panthers. His time on the Minnesota Vikings had run its course after nine glittering seasons, so many wondered why the pass-catcher opted for an organization going through vast changes rather than a surer thing in 2023.

Thielen was seen as a possession receiver before the campaign - a supremely gifted route-runner that could make things easier for rookie quarterback Bryce Young. Nobody expected him to be the team's No. 1 option at 33 years old.

Sadly, due to the underperformance of others, that's proven to be the case. Thielen's risen to the challenge exceptionally well, returning to the Pro Bowl-caliber numbers that saw him thrive alongside Justin Jefferson en route to becoming the team's only reliable wideout through six games.

This is a damning indictment on the likes of Terrace Marshall Jr. However, that does not detract from how pleasing it's been to see Thielen thriving in a lead role after getting cast aside by his previous employers.

Thielen is bringing in 83.7 percent of his targets for 509 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He is well on track for his 1,000-yard receiving season since 2018 and f the same trend continues, more individual accolades won't be too far behind.

Carolina is getting more than they bargained for with Thielen. He's been a breath of fresh air, even if his production has exposed the lack of quality within others.