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Detroit Lions v Carolina Panthers

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The Panthers are now 0-3 to begin a season for the first time since 2010 after a 37-27 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on the road on Sunday. This was a game that was filled with more frustration for Panthers fan because of an unfathomable seven false start penalties and another lackluster performance from the offense on the ground.

The injury issues may be the biggest concern, though, after four more starters were banged up in the process of the game. The defensive backfield added to their injury problems with Xavier Woods and C.J. Henderson leaving the game in the first half and not returning with lower-body injuries. Wide receiver Jonathan Mingo had to leave the game with a concussion, taking away one of the young weapons for this offense that is already struggling. The most significant injury, though, is the hip pointer for Frankie Luvu that caused him to miss the entire second half of the season. If Luvu is out for any significant period, that would be a major blow for this defense, especially with Shaq Thompson already out for the season after fracturing his fibula against the Saints.

The other big storyline exiting this game is what the team does at quarterback after a strong showing from Andy Dalton. Dalton put together the best performance by a Panther quarterback so far this season, throwing for 361 yards and two touchdowns on 34 of 58 passing. He and wide receivers Adam Thielen (11 rec, 145 yds, TD) and DJ Chark (4 rec, 86 yds, TD) were the biggest reasons why this offense was able to move the consistently for the first time this season.

While this is impressive, the Seattle defense, which entered the game the 30th overall defense in the league, was easily the worst defense that the team has played so far. On top of that, this was also the most depleted team they have faced so far this season with some significant pieces missing for the Seahawks, including some starters from that defense. That’s not to say that Dalton and the offense doesn’t deserve credit for putting together a far better showing than we have seen so far this year, but it’s hard to imagine that Bryce Young would not have been able to have the best performance of his career if he was healthy.

A group of fans are seeing it differently, though, saying that this proves that Dalton should start moving forward even when Young is ready to return. Earlier this morning on the Mac & Bone Show, one of the voices of the Panthers Radio Network, Jim Szoke, stopped by with the guys to tell you why he doesn’t think that is the strategy at all. “Bryce learns more by playing than watching. It’s fine to watch and have games like this, but you’ve invested in him, he’s your guys moving forward. That’s the reality. If you think about what we’ve been doing with previous regimes, it was doing the Andy Dalton route with guys like Teddy Bridgewater and Baker Mayfield. Now you’ve taken a different course here. The bigger picture is, it’s going to be Bryce Young so lets get him as ready as we can when it makes sense.”

Listen to the full interview with Jim Szoke and the rest of another depressing Panther Monday below and be sure to subscribe wherever you listen to your podcasts.