While Ron Rivera was hesitant to give details on injuries today, shying away from questions about both Curtis Samuel and Daryl Williams timelines’ as they rehab their more long-term injuries, one truly only needs to look into the Panthers’ recent history to see that Trai Turner and Damiere Byrd, who haven’t practiced this week, aren’t likely to get the nod on Sunday.
If Damiere Byrd can’t go, look for Christian McCaffrey and DJ Moore to get some work on special teams – although the Panthers didn’t get a chance to return any kickoffs last week against Dallas, Byrd was a boost in the punt return game, with a 30-yard punt return leading to the team’s first touchdown.
Turner – who entered the concussion protocol earlier this week – hasn’t practiced and while it isn’t clear who would start at right guard in his stead, I’d guess that the experience of someone like Tyler Larsen might make more sense than undrafted free agent Brendan Mahon. Ron Rivera said that he likes the versatility that Amini Silatolu gives them across four positions – basically the entire offensive line save for center – so he would be a good bet to be the first backup at those positions. Rivera also said today that Chris Clark is more of a natural “left-handed player”, so if they think he’s up to speed and ready to play, don’t be shocked if he comes out at left tackle and they move Taylor Moton back to his more natural right tackle spot; however, that might be wishful thinking for a guy that attended his first practice with the team yesterday afternoon – but Clark will have some help from former teammate CJ Anderson, who played with Clark in Denver in 2013 and 2014.
“When I heard we signed him, I was happy that he’s here,” said Anderson. “He’s a hell of a football player and is going to help us a lot. He can come to me right now, since I’ve been here since May, about some of the offensive things we’re trying to catch him up to speed with, so that’s the good thing about it. With CC, when you see him on the field, he’s ready to play and be productive.”
“You would assume that anybody that’s played with Peyton Manning should be able to pick up any offense in the world.”
Whomever starts, the Panthers will be starting a new offensive line combination for the sixth consecutive game – if you include the preseason – when they battle the Falcons on Sunday. Check out the full injury report below:
|Curtis Samuel||Medical Illness||None||Rivera said he's been at the facility this week - but there's no timeline for his return yet.|