4 intriguing developments from Carolina Panthers 2024 OTAs

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Dave Canales
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Carolina Panthers helping Ikem Ekwonu

Nobody needs to tell Ikem Ekwonu that his performances weren't up to the required standard last season. The left tackle went through significant complications and his technical flaws were exposed. This was the last thing fans expected following an encouraging rookie campaign from the No. 6 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Ekwonu seems to be re-focused and willing to put in the hard yards this offseason. The former North Carolina State standout needs to remind the world why he was the first offensive tackle taken from his class. Having a run-first scheme under new head coach Dave Canales should also help enormously.

This was a topic brought up by Canales during his post-practice media availability. He believes the concepts being implemented coupled with Ekwonu's ruthless aggressiveness can be the catalyst behind improved fortunes next season based on comments via Fan Nation.

"It’s a great system for tackles. We run the ball. We play-action which engages as a run first - it gives them a little chance to get their hands on a guy and be physical. We runs boots. Our keeper game where the line is really just selling a run the opposite way. And then in our pass game, the basis of it is to get the ball out quickly. When we do have to hold it, we’ll try to help our tackles as much as possible when we can. It’s a really friendly offense for tackles. I think Ickey has been doing a great job. What does he do best? He is a mauler and we’re going to run the ball and I think when guys are able to just be aggressive and play to their nature, it gives them a lot of confidence in everything else they do. I’m excited where he’s at."

Dave Canales via Fan Nation

All signs are pointing up for Ekwonu. There is cautious optimism regarding his prospects in 2024, but starting on the front foot is crucial.

This should provide the confidence needed to put together a much-improved campaign. Something that could assist quarterback Bryce Young tremendously.