Carolina gave up seven sacks last Sunday to the Broncos’ pass-rush, forcing quarterback Cam Newton to play under duress for the majority of the afternoon.
The Panthers’ offensive line, which has been mangled by injury this season, was clearly the team’s Achilles heel last weekend.
So what did the Panthers do to shake things up?
The team signed former offensive lineman Jeremy Bridges on Wednesday to come in and perhaps stabilize some of the issues up front. Carolina’s offensive line had been holding strong, but collapsed last Sunday do to an immense amount of pressure.
In short, the Broncos clearly saw a weakness in Carolina’s pass protection and they attacked the Panthers at their weak spot.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said post-game that guard Jeff Byers had been “exposed” by the Broncos. Not many fans that watched the game would argue that observation by Rivera.
However, it has been reported that Byers will start this Sunday at right guard, though Bridges will be on the sideline if needed.
Despite all of this, the drama remains at a minimum for Carolina’s offensive linemen or at least it should be. They have a job to do and guys seem to be working hard at adapting to position changes stemming from a season ending foot injury to Pro-Bowl center Ryan Kalil.
Although, Rivera has made it clear that jobs are on the line. Bridges can easily be called upon at either guard or tackle if anyone decides to slip this Sunday.
Robert Kester, Carolina Panthers Columnist. Contact @robertkester1