4 ways the Carolina Panthers are throwing away their chance to progress in 2023

This team keeps finding ways to lose...

Frank Reich and Bryce Young
Frank Reich and Bryce Young / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers OL has been atrocious

The worst thing that can happen to an offense besides a turnover is a negative play, and the Carolina Panthers had far too many of those on Sunday. And there were five costly sacks taken by Bryce Young behind a porous offensive line that's gone through significant hardship this season.

The strongest part of the offense for Carolina last season was the protection. But in 2023, they look like one of the worst groups in the league.

Ikem Ekwonu is having a big sophomore slump after a solid rookie season, and one has to wonder if he will ever regain that form. Rookie Chandler Zavala has allowed 28 pressures in four games, which only heightens the loss of Austin Corbett and Brady Christensen through injury.

Veteran safety Harrison Smith had three sacks in Week 4 - all of them were back-breaking plays. The first was the strip sack that was returned for a Minnesota Vikings' touchdown on a Panthers drive that got passed midfield, and the other two sacks were at the end of the game to seal another demoralizing defeat.

The mix of Young's inexperience in reading NFL defenses with the abysmal play of the offensive line is a dangerous one. Something that's been reflected in the performance levels throughout the campaign.

There are a few positives to take away from the 2023 season so far. With trips to the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins upcoming, fans should prepare for their team being 0-6 at the bye.