The Panthers rewind by Gerber reveals that the issues with the O-line extend beyond just penalties on

The Panthers rewind by Gerber reveals that the issues with the O-line extend beyond just penalties on

Following a period of accusations and assigning of fault, we may now have an explanation for the struggles of the Panthers’ offense.

On Sunday, Andy Dalton stepped in for the injured starter Bryce Young and displayed composure and accuracy.

The receivers, headed by Adam Thielen, demonstrated some success in finding open areas (although it was against a depleted Seahawks secondary) and made significant gains in the passing attack.

Despite his lack of impressive statistics, Miles Sanders performed to the best of his ability with the number of times he received the ball. Thankfully, he also managed to avoid any fumbles.

The main issue can be attributed to the Panthers’ offensive line. Particularly, the left side with Ikem Ekwonu, Chandler Zavala, and Bradley Bozeman had a terrible performance during their game in Seattle.

A unpleasant day for Ickey.

Left tackle Ikem “Ickey” Ekwonu doesn’t lack for physical talent. His strength and acceleration are big reasons the Panthers drafted him 6th overall in 2022.

However, all of those factors become irrelevant if the play is stopped.

On Sunday, Ekwonu received four penalties for false starts, and he could have been charged with a fifth. Although Zavala took responsibility for one of the infractions in the 4th quarter, Ekwonu was also at fault for that play.

Ickey & Co. accrued a large number of penalties, providing Seattle’s social media team with ample footage to create a video solely focused on false starts.


Ekwonu’s pass protection was not at its best today, which could have added to his nervousness due to the noisy crowd.

The 22-year-old took responsibility for his subpar performance and promised to be more self-controlled, which deserves recognition.

Carolina is relying on him to make progress in his second year and provide support to a team that is in dire need of a standout player.

Zavala has received a score of zero.

While Ekwonu’s performance against the Seahawks was poor, another player from NC State on the offensive line may have been even worse.

Chandler Zavala, a rookie drafted in the 4th round, has been called upon to play this season due to injuries sustained by Brady Christensen and Austin Corbett. However, it appeared that he was not prepared to start on Sunday.

Zavala was accused of causing 14 instances of pressure on the quarterback during the defeat. Fourteen times!

To provide further information, the Panthers have faced 60 instances of opposing quarterbacks being pressured in the first three weeks. This is a remarkably high amount, with Zavala alone accounting for nearly a quarter of those pressures in just one game.

According to Pro Football Focus, the new player received a 0.0 grade for pass blocking and a 24.3 overall grade, which was the lowest on the team.

It is possible that Zavala may have a successful career moving forward. Currently, he has only played in three games.

The NFL operates on a strict merit-based system. If you are not performing well, you will not be allowed to play. This is currently the case for Zavala, who seems to be struggling greatly.

Bozeman is overwhelmed.

The starting center for the Panthers, Bradley Bozeman, had some good fortune this week.

Ekwonu and Zavala have been the subject of much criticism in the media due to their remarkably negative statistics. Bozeman’s performance, while not as overtly poor (with a PFF overall grade of just 49.3), was still visibly struggling upon further review.

The following information is taken directly from my personal notes on the game:

  • Sanders’ attempt was unsuccessful. Bozeman was pushed back approximately 5 yards into the backfield.

  • Bozeman takes a trip on 3rd & 6. Dalton misses and throws off course.

  • The second half started with a first and ten run, but Bozeman was quickly pushed back with no gain.

  • Both Zavala and Bozeman were thrown around on the 3rd & 8 play, but were saved by a pass interference call against Seattle.

  • On the fourth down and seventh yard line, Jarran Reed successfully divides Zavala and Bozeman to sack the play. The drive is now over.

Notice a pattern?

Towards the end of the previous season, Carolina managed to defeat the Seahawks in Seattle, largely due to their success in gaining 223 rushing yards on 46 attempts.

During Sunday’s game, their rushing offense was only able to gain 44 yards on 14 carries. The only significant run was due to a missed tackle in the backfield.

It’s not surprising that Andy Dalton had to attempt a record-breaking 58 throws.

Although this may be an oversimplification, Bozeman’s lack of effectiveness greatly contributed to Carolina’s struggles in the running game. It is impossible to constantly be dominated in the center and still expect success on the field.

The Panthers’ profits can decrease

The Panthers are venturing into hazardous territory.

The chances of making the playoffs are slim, as only six teams have managed to qualify after starting the season 0-3 since 1966. Let’s put that aside for now.

Carolina’s top priority should be creating an environment for Bryce Young to develop into a successful franchise quarterback.

Following a one-week break, it seems likely that Young will be able to play again in Week 4. However, if the Panthers do not improve their performance on the offensive line, they run the risk of the rookie losing confidence or sustaining a serious injury.

Or both.