The Carolina Panthers‘ offensive line was starting to look like a strength after the team’s lopsided win over the Giants, but they returned to their normal plane of incompetence and against the stiff competition of Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett. No offense can run well if the line can’t block, and the Panthers’ line is having more than their fair share of difficulties. If they can’t turn their troubles around soon then the season might be forfeit, and there might be some sudden departures in the offseason as well.
Jordan Gross and Ryan Kalil have been mainstays on the line for a long time and should be there for a while longer with Pro Bowls and All-Pro selections adding to their value. But while those two can hold their weight and even pick up for some of the deficiencies of those around them, it seems everyone else on the Panthers’ line is either old, injured or borderline anonymous. The lack of talent on the Panthers’ line has been clear for a number of years now, and it has been a big reason for the multitude of Cam Newton‘s turnovers.
The Panthers tried to add some beef a few years ago by drafting Jeff Otah, but that experiment only ended in disappointment. Since then the Panthers haven’t drafted any high-profile offensive lineman, other than Amini Silatolu in 2012, though I wouldn’t necessarily call him high profile. Speaking of Silatolu, the Panthers’ starting left guard, he is now injured, leaving veteran Travelle Wharton to take his place. Hopefully Wharton can bring some of the fire he brought in his previous stint with the Panthers, because he will need to raise the production of the O-line if the Panthers are to win, and Chris Scott and Byron Bell will have to do a much better job pass protecting as well. They will have their hands full against the aggressive line of the Vikings, with Kevin Williams, Shariff Floyd and Jared Allen all looking to pad their stats.