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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Miles Sanders may need to relinquish Carolina Panthers RB1 status

Fans were understandably excited when the Carolina Panthers acquired Miles Sanders. After a Pro Bowl season and a trip to the Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles, he was expected to be a key part of this new offense.

Coming off almost 1,300 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns, expectations were high. But through four games, the running back has been an immense disappointment.

Sanders has just 158 rushing yards and a single touchdown to date, averaging just 2.9 yards per carry. Sunday was arguably his worst performance with 13 carries for just 19 rushing yards.

While some blame can be placed on an offensive line that creates little push - especially on the interior - there’s been a severe lack of burst from Sanders. This suggests he is potentially still being troubled by the groin injury that hampered him in preseason.

Chuba Hubbard was finally given meaningful touches against the Minnesota Vikings. After nine carries for 60 rushing yards in Week 1, the former fourth-round pick accumulated just three over the next two weeks before getting more involved with 14 carries for 41 yards and displaying much more burst and gap discipline than his teammate.

If the former Penn State star is nursing a groin issue, it’d be wise for the Panthers to let him rest and give Hubbard the bulk of the carries. They have a more than adequate RB3 in Raheem Blackshear, who has for some reason been cast aside by the coaching staff so far.

Hubbard has long been the scapegoat of some fans, mainly for the story that he was only drafted by Carolina because ex-head coach Matt Rhule's’ wife told him to. But he has proved to be a more than viable NFL running back and could easily be the Panthers’ best rusher currently.