4 Carolina Panthers players who could be benched after 0-3 start in 2023

It's not been great for these Carolina Panthers players so far.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette
Ihmir Smith-Marsette / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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Which Carolina Panthers players should be benched after the team's disappointing 0-3 start to the 2023 campaign?

It's not time for desperation just yet, The Carolina Panthers are sitting at 0-3 following a poor loss at the Seattle Seahawks, but there remains belief in the building that better fortunes are ahead despite some tough upcoming challenges on the schedule.

This all starts in Week 4 against the Minnesota Vikings - another winless team - at Bank of America Stadium. Anything less than a win in the column is going to come with severe ramifications attached, so the stakes couldn't be much higher just a few short weeks into the 2023 campaign.

Frank Reich has a tough task ahead of him, that's for sure. Especially considering the injury problems piling up for a squad that looks devoid of any genuine depth at key positions.

Although it's difficult to make such bold decisions with options a little thin on the ground, here are four Panthers players who could be benched after the team's disappointing opening to the 2023 season.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette - Carolina Panthers KR

Acquiring Ihmir Smith-Marsette from the Kansas City Chiefs shortly before his release was a low-risk, high-reward move by the Carolina Panthers. The wide receiver/ kick returner flashed moments of real quality during the preseason, so it was a gamble worth taking that cost nothing more than a conditional pick swap with the defending Super Bowl champions.

At least over the first three weeks, things haven't gone according to plan for Smith-Marsette. He is averaging just 3.7 yards-per-punt return from seven attempts, which hardly screams explosiveness from a player who's also been non-existent in the passing game.

One could argue that Raheem Blackshear's been more productive in the return game when called upon. Why he's been a healthy scratch over the last fortnight is anyone's guess, but giving him a shot against the Minnesota Vikings wouldn't be the worst idea in the world at the expense of Smith-Marsette.