4 critical observations from Carolina Panthers torrid defeat vs. Vikings in Week 4

This is becoming a concerning trend...

Ikem Ekwonu
Ikem Ekwonu / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers OT Ikem Ekwomu’s regression

After a rookie campaign filled with immense promise, the sophomore slump so far from Ikem Ekwonu is starting to become a serious concern. The signs were there in preseason as the left tackle was getting beaten regularly and while many hoped these issues would be ironed out in the regular season, this has not been the case.

With the loss of both starting guards, we’ve seen the offensive line as a whole regress and Ekwonu has done so significantly. The left side of the line is currently a real weakness with the North Carolina State pair failing to provide the consistency needed.

The game on Sunday swung with another critical Ekwonu penalty, which followed on from his disaster at the Seattle Seahawks where he had four false start penalties. Something the former first-round selection has to clean up moving forward.

Many touted the partnership of Ekwonu and Chandler Zavala as the future for the Carolina Panthers simply because they’d played six games together with the Wolfpack in 2021 despite the interior presence having not played a single NFL snap. That looks iffy at best through four weeks.

What has since transpired is Zavala has been the Panthers’ weakest lineman and Ekwonu has gone downhill. It seems the edge protector is suffering without Brady Christensen next to him - a player many fans were calling to be replaced.

With veteran right guard Austin Corbett now eligible to return from the Physically Unable to Perform List, the Panthers’ must consider slotting him in at left guard - a position he has played before on the Cleveland Browns.