Carolina Panthers' fatal flaw
There remains hope that the Carolina Panthers can mount an NFC South championship challenge in 2023. An eventful offseason of vast changes coupled with the arrival of Bryce Young at No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft could be exactly what this team needs to pick itself up off the canvas and back to relevancy under Frank Reich this season.
Young has all the intangibles needed to thrive, but he cannot do it alone. His skill position players must create separation consistently, the running game must set the tone and Carolina's offensive line must keep the slender signal-caller upright.
After an indifferent offseason from the protection and the fact veteran right guard Austin Corbett will miss the first four games at least on injured/reserve, it didn't come as a shock to see Anthony Rizzuti from USA Today Sports name offensive line regression as the Panthers' potentially fatal flaw in 2023.
"When you hand over the keys to a 5-foot-9, 205-pound rookie quarterback—albeit a pretty special 5-foot-9, 205-pound quarterback in Bryce Young —you need to have a stable offensive line. And you can’t blame the Panthers for believing they have one. Their group of hog mollies was relatively impressive last season, and really kicked into another gear with the insertion of center Bradley Bozeman. The summer, however, has raised a few questions about the unit. Not only will they be without right guard Austin Corbett for at least the first quarter of the season, but left tackle Ikem Ekwonu didn’t look quite like the Ikem Ekwonu we saw during much of his encouraging rookie campaign. Growing pains will pop up for Bryce Young, regardless of how pro-ready he’s been. But Carolina can’t afford to see the new face of their franchise experience actual pains if his protection doesn’t hold up."- Anthony Rizzuti, USA Today Sports
It was a small sample size from the group in the preseason. But they need to step up and shine right out of the gate against Grady Jarrett, Calais Campbell, and David Onyemata in Week 1.