Panthers news: Ben Johnson, Ikem Ekwonu, Raheem Morris and Bradley Bozeman

Examining the latest Carolina Panthers news and rumors from around the media.

Raheem Morris
Raheem Morris / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Confidence in Ikem Ekwonu

Nobody expected Ikem Ekwonu to regress during his second season with the Carolina Panthers. The left tackle struggled with his technique. He looked devoid of any confidence. He gave up countless pressures and sacks - some in critical moments. Not exactly what many were anticipating after a tremendous rookie campaign.

Ekwonu stated recently he wouldn't be too keen on a switch to the interior. That's for the new head coach and general manager to decide, but tight end Tommy Tremble is confident the former first-round selection out of North Carolina State can bounce back after his severe sophomore slump based on comments via Joe Person of The Athletic.

"He’s a guy we all believe in. He’s a different cat. There’s a lot of people in the league. You can see who can play and who can’t, and he’s one of those guys who can really help you win. I think he’s dedicated to getting everything to the best of his ability, and I know he’s gonna do that, man. He puts in the work."

Tommy Tremble via The Athletic

There is a lot of hard work ahead for Ekwonu this offseason. The poor form dictates as much, but the fact opposing teams were identifying him as an area of weakness in Carolina's under-strength protection was the most concerning element.

Giving up on Ekwonu this early would be foolish. But make no mistake, the jury is still out as to whether the Panthers have their long-term franchise blindside presence.