Panthers Somewhat Healthy But Need More To Face Patriots
By Danny Cox
When it comes to stepping onto the field with the New England Patriots, it takes a lot to leave that same field with a win. Luck is a part of it. Pure talent is a part of it. Knowing your opponent is important. Perhaps one of the most crucial things of all is to go out there with a healthy team and have everyone playing at their best.
Luckily for the Carolina Panthers, they are looking rather healthy right now and that’s a good thing because they will need every fresh body they have to keep the win streak alive. New England has a strong team, but they are different than they’ve been in past years.
That, in itself, is scary.
There are three absences for Monday night that will be overly noticeable though, and the Panthers will have to make adjustments for them.
Linebacker Chase Blackburn has been ruled out with a foot injury and that means Jordan Senn will have to step up and start at weakside linebacker. Blackburn also filled in as backup middle linebacker behind Luke Kuechly, but that role will now be taken by Dan Connor and Jason Williams.
A.J. Klein could get some time too.
On offense, the Panthers will be missing two players that have been listed as out.
Backup tight end Ben Hartsock is not going to play on Monday due to a knee injury. Greg Olsen will be starting at tight end as usual, but now Richie Brockel will step in as backup and for two tight end sets.
Offensive guard Chris Scott is also going to be out with a knee injury and that will likely push Chris Scott into the starting lineup. Scott normally fills in at left guard, but he’ll make the switch to take Scott’s place.
Cornerback Drayton Florence is listed as questionable with a groin injury, and he will likely be a game-time decision. Florence wasn’t on the field at all for practice this week. He usually backs up Josh Thomas, but if he can’t go, Melvin White and Josh Norman will likely split playing time.
Also on defense, Dwan Edwards is listed as probable so he is expected to start at defensive tackle as his hamstring injury isn’t too bad.
Two offensive players are listed as probable, and they will most likely be on the field come Monday night. Fullback Mike Tolbert and tackle Jordan Gross missed practice on Thursday due to non-injury reasons, but were a full go on both Friday and Saturday.
The injury report for the Panthers isn’t lengthy, but some key components are missing. Others are going to have to step it up for Carolina to keep their win streak going, but it isn’t out of the question.
- LB Chase Blackburn – Foot
- TE Ben Hartsock – Knee
- OG Chris Scott – Knee
- CB Drayton Florence – Groin
- DT Dwan Edwards – Hamstring
- OT Jordan Gross – Non-Injury
- FB Mike Tolbert – Non-Injury
For more Carolina Panthers news and updates, visit Carolina Panthers Central.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.