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Panthers at Bears: Step UP or Step OUT

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Three guys stepping up, and three who need to do so or step out the way going into the game against the Bears

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Step UP or Step OUT, a new for 2017 series on CSR that is intended to look at players who are playing well, and highlight a few that need to step their game up. Think of it as a heat index for the Carolina Panthers; guys who are playing well are stepping up and those who aren’t need to improve their game or... step out.

This week, we are looking at guys who made an impact in the loss against the Philadelphia Eagles, and some who needs to correct their poor play before the Panthers take on the Chicago Bears.

Steppin’ UP

Kelvin Benjamin

Heat Rating: The surface of a black car baking in the Charlotte summer heat

Kelvin Benjamin has been a very consistent wide receiver over the past three weeks though he only has one touchdown in that span. This week wasn’t his best game of the stretch, he did drop one pass and potentially ran the wrong route causing an interception, but otherwise it was a really strong nine catch 99 yard performance from KB13. In general, this season has been a nice sign from Benjamin, who needed to show out better after a very inconsistent and frustrating 2016.

Julius Peppers

Heat Rating: The eruption of the Yellowstone Caldera

Just like the Caldera, Julius Peppers is very old, but also packs one hell of a punch when he decides to go off. This season we are seeing an eruption of productivity from the franchise sack leader. He has 14 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and a forced fumble through six weeks. That is unprecedented production for a sixteen year veteran. On top of that, he has been a very solid run defender, standing his ground against any younger tackle tossed his way. He has easily been the best acquisition of the offseason, even if Matt Kalil could be considered the most important.

Daryl Williams

Heat Rating: Your cast iron skillet right after searing a big fat steak

The one bright light in a sea of terrible for the offensive line, we didn’t get around to praising big Daryl in the Hog Molly Report this week because we were too busy being gloomy about the line as a whole. He was the only offensive lineman able to get his man moving in the run game, though that doesn’t help much when the men flanking you aren’t able to move theirs as well. Add to that only allowing one pressure to Philly by my count, and it has been an encouraging season for Daryl so far. Once thought to be just a placeholder for Taylor Moton, it seems more likely that Moton may find his spot replacing Andrew Norwell at LG later rather than sooner.

Steppin’ OUT

Trai Turner

Cold Rating: The batch of soda cans you just moved from the pantry to the fridge

Not nearly all that cold, Trai Turner falls into the Luke Kuechly brand of disappointment. We’ve come to expect exceptional things from him, and he had a bad game. Part of that is the dominance of Fletcher Cox, a tough out for any lineman, but also the lack of cohesion with Tyler Larsen. Larsen was completely overmatched against the Eagles, and his struggles caused Trai Turner to try and do too much. This week Ryan Kalil looks to be on track to return, and that ought to help both Turner and Andrew Norwell.

Ed Dickson

Cold Rating: An ice cream sandwich that melted a little on the way home but is resolidifying

Unfortunately, we saw the Ed Dickson that reads like his scouting report on Thursday night. Dickson struggled to catch the football, recording two drops that are both probably caught by a healthy Greg Olsen. Add to that his continued struggles in blocking, particularly when lined up as a fullback, and he is reminding us that no one is quite Greg Olsen. The Panthers could benefit from a traditional fullback to help this ailing running game. Chances are good that Alex Armah is not ready for that duty yet, and we wont see that look this year.

Jonathan Stewart

Cold Rating: The snowball that started rolling at the top of the mountain

I still stand by my statement that Jonathan Stewart is not “done” and that notion is premature. Just two weeks ago, he showed he still possesses strong legs and tackle breaking ability, something that is going to be valuable behind our struggling line. He still runs with some of the best form in the league provided he can get some momentum going. Right now, he is being touched in the backfield on average, a sign of the OL struggles. I am more concerned about his lack of ability to control his emotions, spiking the football twice this season, once leading to a delay of game. We will all hope that Ryan Kalil is ready to hit the ground running on Sunday to get him and Christian McCaffrey going again.

What do you think Panthers fans?


Which player needs to step UP the most against the Chicago Bears?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Trai Turner
    (185 votes)
  • 10%
    Ed Dickson
    (52 votes)
  • 50%
    Jonathan Stewart
    (244 votes)
481 votes total Vote Now