Nov 19, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA;  Carolina Panthers wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (5) with the ball in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers place WR Laviska Shenault Jr. (ankle) on injured reserve

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. is out a minimum of four weeks after being placed on injured reserve Thursday because of an ankle injury.

Shenault had one reception for eight yards last Sunday in a 17-10 loss at the Tennessee Titans before injuring the ankle. He played only two snaps in the game.

Shenault has played in eight games for the Panthers (1-10) this season, missing three games after sustaining a high ankle sprain against the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 15. He has a total of 10 receptions for 60 yards, and 12 rushing attempts for 55 yards.

He also has returned six kickoffs for 167 yards, a 27.8-yard average.

Shenault, 25, was a second-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2020 NFL Draft out of Colorado. He was traded to the Panthers in August 2022. In four seasons, he has 158 receptions for 1,551 yards and six touchdowns, and 50 carries for 252 yards and one score.

In other moves Thursday, the Panthers signed guard Deonte Brown to the practice squad and cut quarterback Jake Luton from the practice squad.

Carolina now has 12 players on IR this season, not including six other players who have been designated to return from IR.

–Field Level Media

September 18, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; Seattle Seahawks guard Gabe Jackson (66) after the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers sign veteran OL Gabe Jackson

The Carolina Panthers signed veteran offensive lineman Gabe Jackson to their practice squad on Wednesday.

Jackson, 32, has started 130 games with the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders (2014-20) and Seattle Seahawks (2021-22).

Jackson has played mostly at right guard since entering the NFL as a third-round draft pick in 2014.

The Panthers (1-10) are thin in the middle with recent injuries to Chandler Zavala (knee) and Cade Mays (ankle).

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA;  Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) looks to pass as Carolina Panthers linebacker Eku Leota (46) defends in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Late TD blitz carries Cowboys past Panthers 33-10

Dak Prescott threw for two touchdowns and the Dallas Cowboys benefitted from two scores in a 10-second span early in the fourth quarter to defeat the Carolina Panthers 33-10 on Sunday afternoon at Charlotte, N.C.

Tony Pollard ran for a touchdown and finished with 61 rushing yards on 12 carries as Dallas (7-3) won for the fourth time its last five games.

The Panthers (1-9) threatened to make it interesting, pulling to within 17-10, before Pollard’s 21-yard touchdown run with 13:58 left. On Carolina’s next snap, DaRon Bland intercepted Bryce Young and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.

Opponents have returned three interceptions for touchdowns in Carolina’s last two home games.

Prescott finished 25 of 38 for 189 yards.

Young, the overall first-round draft choice in the spring, was 16 of 29 for 123 yards with a touchdown. Adam Thielen had eight catches for 74 yards to deliver a healthy chunk of Carolina’s 187 yards of total offense.

The Panthers pulled within 17-10 with a 17-play drive that consumed nearly nine minutes. It ended on Young’s 4-yard pass to Tommy Tremble with 1:59 left in the third quarter. Carolina’s drive benefitted from a Dallas penalty for running into the punter and three fourth-down conversions.

Dallas went up in the first quarter on Prescott’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Luke Schoonmaker.

The Cowboys then put together a 12-play drive – aided by a defensive pass interference penalty and horse-collar tackle infraction on the Panthers — that resulted in Brandon Aubrey’s 30-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter.

The Panthers had a pair of 10-play possessions in the first half, although those produced 41 and 50 yards, respectively. The second of those resulted in Eddy Pineiro’s 42-yard field goal with 1:56 left in the half.

But the Cowboys moved quickly and grabbed at 17-3 with 24 seconds remaining in the half on Prescott’s 5-yard toss to CeeDee Lamb.

Prescott threw 27 passes in the first half.

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) throws a pass in the second quarter against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers need to get offense going vs. explosive Cowboys

There are increasing signs that the Dallas Cowboys have put their offense in good order.

That’s far from the case for the Carolina Panthers.

The Cowboys will try to keep it going when they face the Panthers on Sunday afternoon in Charlotte.

Dallas (6-3) has won three of its last four games, with the offense a big part of that success. The Panthers (1-8) have the worst record in the NFL.

The Cowboys are the lone team in the NFL this season who have reached the 40-point level in three different games.

“This past month, we’re hitting on all cylinders,” Dallas coach Mike McCarthy said.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott might be hitting another level. He threw for 404 yards last weekend against the New York Giants, giving him three consecutive games above the 300-yard mark.

Dallas receivers CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks both eclipsed the 150-yard receiving mark last week, and the Cowboys ran for 168 yards.

“We’re getting through the run schemes that are able to carry over into the actual pass game,” McCarthy said. “We’re doing a lot more (on) third down. I do think it’s a product of us hitting our stride.”

Lamb is the first player in NFL history with three straight games of double-figure catches and 150-plus receiving yards.

“I don’t even want to call it a streak because that’s just who he is,” Prescott said.

Looking ahead to dealing with the Cowboys’ passing attack, the Panthers hope they might be able to get linebacker Brian Burns (concussion) and cornerback Jaycee Horn (hamstring) back in action after both were on the practice field Wednesday. Horn has been out since the opener, and he was designated to return from injured reserve this week.

Carolina’s offense, meanwhile, remains in flux. The Panthers had extra time since their Thursday, Nov. 9, loss at Chicago, bringing suggestions that changes could be in the works. Those are mostly related to a low-producing offense.

On Wednesday, coach Frank Reich said he is taking back play-calling duties from Thomas Brown, who replaced Reich in that role several weeks ago.

“It’s not about Thomas. It’s about me, the team,” Reich said. “I just think it’s the right thing to do. Whoever has done the play-calling, we haven’t performed as an offense.”

The Cowboys are a strong pass-rushing team, so expect to see them work hard to disrupt rookie Carolina quarterback Bryce Young.

Alleviating pressure on Young is one of the Panthers’ priorities. More production from the rushing attack would help, but don’t expect an overhaul in philosophy.

“Do we want to be smashmouth football, under center, power?” Reich said. “No, that’s not who we’re trying to be.”

Changes along the offensive line have come this week. Carolina released Calvin Throckmorton, who had started the previous seven games. It’s possible that rookie Chandler Zavala could be inserted as the starting left guard. The Panthers filled Throckmorton’s roster spot by re-signing David Sharpe.

The tight end position is in flux for Carolina, with Ian Thomas (calf) designated to return from IR but Hayden Hurst in the concussion protocol.

Dallas is 10-3 all-time against Carolina in regular-season games, including a 36-28 home victory in 2021.

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) throws during the second half against the Indianapolis Colts at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Future front and center as Panthers visit Bears

When the opportunity to start over with Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud at quarterback presented itself, the Chicago Bears surrendered the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft to the Carolina Panthers.

Young and the Panthers (1-7) visit the Bears (2-7) on Thursday night, and once again draft ramifications are of greater significance than the playoff picture.

The Bears in effect put their chips behind quarterback Justin Fields for a make-or-break 2023 season with the safety net, courtesy of the trade with Carolina, of having multiple first-round picks in 2024 to potentially re-address the position. If the season ended Thursday, the Bears would draft No. 2 and No. 3 overall, the higher pick by way of Carolina. The Arizona Cardinals (1-8) are the only team ahead of Chicago in the draft order nine weeks into the season.

“When you find your quarterback, you’ve got to go all in. You can’t look back. When you find the quarterback that you want, you have to be willing to make that deal,” Panthers coach Frank Reich said Tuesday, lamenting the deal did cost Carolina No. 1 wide receiver DJ Moore.

Fields might have earned no better than an incomplete for his season to date. He had two four-TD games in a row before being sidelined in a loss to the Vikings on Oct. 15. Chicago started undrafted rookie backup Tyson Bagent the past three games with Fields recovering from a dislocated right thumb. Fields has practiced in a limited capacity since last Friday.

Fields also has six interceptions and two fumbles, and has been sacked three-plus times in every game he’s played this season.

He is far from the only reason the Bears are coming up short. Chicago had zero sacks and zero takeaways at New Orleans last week and lost 24-17 to the Saints. General manager Ryan Poles is confident newly acquired defensive end Montez Sweat can be a building block as the Bears search for more pillars.

Every decision likely feels critical right now for head coach Matt Eberflus, who is 5-21 with the Bears and 1-9 in games decided by eight or fewer points.

Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said he’ll have a plan that suits Fields in the event the team clears him for Thursday. Getsy said Bagent had a “solid game” against the Saints and has the confidence of his teammates.

“That’s the cool part about how we put this thing together at the very beginning. We felt like we put it all out there for our guys and can take this thing in a few directions,” Getsy said. “From everybody else’s perspective in that room other than the two quarterbacks, it’s not going to feel like it’s a different game plan by any means if we go one direction or another (at quarterback).”

Tight end Cole Kmet has 16 receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns in the past two games and is a player the Panthers are circling on the scouting report along with Moore, a very familiar threat.

“I just know from the tape — big-time playmaker,” Reich said of Moore, whom he never coached. “Truly one of those guys who can do it all. There’s nothing he can’t do. Really great player. Then of course, you hear about the person. He made quite an impression in this building on the type of person he was.”

Getsy said “accuracy was easy” for Young when the Bears scouted his pro day at Alabama, calling him a natural passer.

Young has experienced a rough introduction to the NFL as a rookie with two pick-6s in last week’s loss to the Colts. He also has 20-plus completions in all seven of his starts. He was sacked four times last week, and said he’s focused on “making sure I get the ball out of my hands.”

“We all take ownership in it,” Young said. “One thing I love about this team, players and coaches, we’re all looking at ways to get better and it starts with me.”

Edge rusher Brian Burns (concussion) and wide receivers DJ Chark (elbow) and Laviska Shenault Jr. (ankle) are among seven Panthers players who missed practice Tuesday. The Bears’ biggest concern outside Fields is linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, who sat out and could miss his second straight game with a knee injury.

–Field Level Media

Aug 12, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn (21) takes the field during the first quarter against the New York Jets at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers place DB Jeremy Chinn on IR, activate OL Austin Corbett

The Carolina Panthers placed three players, including defensive back Jeremy Chinn, on injured reserve Tuesday and activated right guard Austin Corbett from the physically unable to perform list.

Chinn (quadriceps), outside linebacker Yetur Gross-Matos (hamstring) and tight end Giovanni Ricci (shoulder) will be out at least four weeks after going on the IR.

Corbett has not played in a game since tearing an ACL in the 2022 regular-season finale against the New Orleans Saints. After missing all of training camp and the preseason, he has practiced for the past three weeks. The Panthers (0-6), who are coming off a bye week, have started three different players in his place: Chandler Zavala, Cade Mays and Calvin Throckmorton.

Zavala and Mays also have had to fill in at left guard for starter Brady Christensen, who was lost for the season in Week 1 due to a biceps injury.

Chinn, 25, was injured in Week 6 against the Miami Dolphins. He has 23 tackles, including two for loss, and one pass defended in starting all six games. The second-round pick (64th overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft out of Southern Illinois has spent his entire career with Carolina.

Corbett, 28, joined Carolina in 2022 and started all 17 games. The Cleveland Browns selected him in the second round (33rd overall) in the 2018 draft out of Nevada, and he also played for the Los Angeles Rams (2019-21).

Gross-Matos, 25, appeared in all six games this season and has 14 tackles, including three for loss and 2.5 sacks.

Ricci, 27, has played for Carolina since 2021 and has appeared in five games this season with one reception for 2 yards.

In other moves, the Panthers signed offensive lineman Brett Toth from the Philadelphia Eagles’ practice squad, signed linebacker Luiji Vilain from the Minnesota Vikings’ practice squad and released offensive lineman Justin McCray from their practice squad.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn (21) sacks Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Panthers S Jeremy Chinn (quad) out 6 weeks

Carolina Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn will be sidelined up to six weeks with a significant quad injury, ESPN reported Wednesday.

Chinn, who is in the final year of his contract, does not need surgery, according to the report.

The injury will likely affect his trade value, however, as the Philadelphia Eagles had reportedly shown interest.

Chinn, 25, started the first six games for the winless Panthers and recorded 23 tackles and one sack.

He played only 26 defensive snaps in Sunday’s 42-21 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

A second-round pick in 2020, Chinn has 317 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions and two fumbles returned for touchdowns in 48 career games (all starts).

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers tight end Ian Thomas (80) runs on to the field before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers place TE Ian Thomas (calf) on injured reserve

The Carolina Panthers placed tight end Ian Thomas on injured reserve Saturday because of a calf injury. He will miss a minimum of four weeks.

Thomas was not listed on the team’s injury report Wednesday or Thursday, but his status was changed to questionable on Friday for Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins.

In a corresponding move, the Panthers (0-5) activated tight end Stephen Sullivan (hip) from injured reserve.

Thomas, 27, has played in all five games for Carolina this season with two starts. Mainly a blocking tight end, he has two receptions for 36 yards in 87 offensive snaps. A fourth-round selection by Carolina in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Indiana, Thomas has played in 87 games (49 starts) with 113 receptions for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns.

Sulivan, 26, began the season on injured reserve. Drafted in the seventh round by Seattle in 2020 out of LSU, he played in one game for the Seahawks that season. He joined Carolina in 2021 and has two career receptions for 46 yards.

–Field Level Media

Aug 25, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) reacts with wide receiver Jonathan Mingo (15) and guard Chandler Zavala (62) after throwing a touchdown pass in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers G Chandler Zavala (neck) carted off field

Carolina Panthers rookie guard Chandler Zavala was carted off during the first quarter against the host Detroit Lions on Sunday with a neck injury.

Zavala, 24, was injured on a running play when he collided with Lions defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs. Zavala gave a thumbs-up to the crowd as the cart headed to the locker room. Cade Mays replaced him at left guard.

Zavala, a fourth-round pick by the Panthers in the 2023 draft out of North Carolina State, was taken to a Detroit hospital for further evaluation.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) runs on to the field before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings visit Carolina with both teams looking for first win

A pair of winless teams will try to begin the month of October on a positive note when the Minnesota Vikings visit the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon in Charlotte.

Despite a difficult start, Carolina (0-3) has at least one reason for optimism heading into Week 4. The Panthers expect to welcome back rookie quarterback Bryce Young after he sat out last weekend because of an ankle injury.

“Just have to make sure there’s no major setbacks, no flare-ups,” Panthers coach Frank Reich said. “If he stays on track, then I think things are headed in the right direction.”

Young, the No. 1 overall pick this spring, has 20-plus completions and a touchdown pass in each of his first two NFL starts. His injury replacement last week was Andy Dalton, who passed for 361 yards and two touchdowns in a loss against Seattle.

Although Dalton fared well, the Panthers would prefer to showcase their top rookie.

“First thing I would say is hats off to Bryce for getting himself ready to get out there today,” Reich said after Young’s first full practice of the week. “You could see the determination in his eyes. You could feel his energy and the will to be out there.”

Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell is hoping to see similar determination from his squad. Minnesota (0-3) leads the NFL in turnovers, and O’Connell said his players need to correct that problem or they will be replaced.

“I think that’s something we’re going to fix one way or the other,” O’Connell said. “Either guys are going to (fix) it or we’re going to have to put other guys in the game that will have ball security.”

One position battle to watch could be at running back, where Alexander Mattison has lost a fumble and has yet to notch a rushing touchdown. The Vikings acquired fellow running back Cam Akers last week and could increase his workload at Carolina.

The Vikings’ turnovers have overshadowed an impressive statistical start for quarterback Kirk Cousins, who enters Week 4 with a league-leading 1,075 passing yards. His top target, Justin Jefferson, leads the league with 458 receiving yards.

Miles Sanders leads the Panthers’ ground game with 139 rushing yards and a touchdown. He also has 12 catches for 68 yards out of the backfield.

Carolina’s top receiver is a familiar face to the Vikings. Veteran Adam Thielen is in his first season with the Panthers after spending his first 10 seasons in Minnesota.

Thielen ranks fourth in Vikings franchise history with 6,682 receiving yards, and he ranks third in franchise history with 55 touchdowns. In his first three games with the Panthers, he has hauled in 20 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns.

This week’s game preparation has felt strange to Thielen.

“It’s already honestly a little weird watching tape,” Thielen said. “It’s just crazy to be game planning against guys that were my teammates for a long time.”

Panthers linebacker Frankie Luvu (hip) and safety Xavier Woods (hamstring) were included on the team’s initial injury report for the game.

Several Vikings also did not participate in practice, including defensive end Marcus Davenport (ankle), cornerback Byron Murphy (hip) and safety Josh Metellus (shoulder).

–Field Level Media