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Panthers’ Banged Up Secondary Could Be Easy Target For Giants’ Eli Manning

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By Ted Fleming

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 08:  Jermaine Kearse #15 of the Seattle Seahawks scores the game-winning touchdown as Josh Norman #22 and Charles Godfrey #30 defend during pthe fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium on September 8, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Seattle won 12-7.

(credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

The Panthers have a lot more to worry about than facing a desperate Giants team on Sunday. Already saddled with an 0-2 record, the injury report ballooned to 11 names this week with the defense taking the brunt of it. The secondary is the major concern with five players either out or being game time decisions.

Earlier in the week safety Charles Godfrey was placed on injured reserve and his spot on the roster was taken by Robert Lester off the practice squad. Despite have never played in an NFL game before, he will get the start at strong safety. However, it is the rest of the group that has head coach Ron Rivera concerned.

Cornerback Drayton Florence was one of the last cuts during training camp and he was brought back to add some depth. He should see some significant playing time with Josh Thomas (concussion) and James Dockery (thumb and shoulder) likely sitting this one out. With D.J. Moore out, rookie Melvin White has the dubious honor of being the last man up here.

At safety, Quintin Mikell (ankle) is out and with Colin Jones as the only other safety on the roster, there will be a lot of players out of position just to get through this game. They will also be a very tired group with little or no rest between plays.

Hampered by a lack of a rushing attack so far, New York quarterback Eli Manning has already thrown the ball up an amazing 91 times and while head coach Tom Coughlin would like to see that number come down. Under normal circumstances, the lure of easy targets down the field could be too much to resist.

Running back Kenjon Barner will miss his third straight game so Armond Smith becomes DeAngelo Williams’ backup.

The Giants, on the other hand, are not overly concerned about injuries as much as they are their record having started the season with two straight defeats. The five banged up players are spread out on both sides of the ball and the only starter is cornerback Cory Webster.  Second-year player Jayron Hosley is next up although seven-year veteran Aaron Ross could move over from the right side to help out.

The following is the injury report issued on Friday by the National Football League for the Giants-Panthers game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013:

New York Giants 0-2:

Out

  • T David Diehl (thumb)
  • TE Adrien Robinson (foot)

Doubtful:

  • CB Corey Webster (hip)

Probable:

  • G Brandon Mosley (back)
  • QB Ryan Nassib (foot)
  • WR Hakeem Nicks (excused/personal)

Carolina Panthers 0-2:

Out:

  • RB Kenjon Barner (foot)
  • S Quintin Mikell (ankle)
  • CB D.J. Moore (knee)

Questionable:

  • CB James Dockery (thumb, shoulder)
  • DT Dwan Edwards (thigh)
  • CB Josh Thomas (concussion)

Probable:

  • LB Jon Beason (knee)
  • LB Thomas Davis (tibia)
  • TE Ben Hartsock (foot)
  • CB Josh Norman (thigh)
  • FB Mike Tolbert (knee)

For Reference: 

Out: there is no chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
Doubtful: a 25 percent chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
Questionable: a 50 percent chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
Probable: a 75 percent chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game

For more Carolina Panthers news and updates, visit Carolina Panthers Central.

Ted Fleming is a freelance writer covering all things Carolina Panthers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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