The Panthers have enough issues on defense, but now they appear to be going in short-handed.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Thursday (via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer) that cornerback Chris Gamble wasn’t expected to play this week because of a shoulder injury.
That would put undersized nickel Captain Munnerlyn back in the starting lineup opposite fifth-round rookie Josh Norman, who has been routinely picked on (as Munnerlyn was before being replaced).
Middle linebacker Jon Beason was also out of practice again Thursday, and Rivera said he’d consider using rookie Luke Kuechly in the middle. Rivera’s been hesitant to move the first-rounder around too much, but the middle is his natural position anyway.
Beason’s dealing with shoulder problems as well as the inevitable after-effects of last year’s Achilles tear. He’s barely looked like himself for the first month of the season, although expecting that would have been the unrealistic part.
If there’s good news, it’s that they’re playing a Seahawks offense that ranks dead last in the league in passing offense, averaging a ghastly 130.8 per game through the air.
Of course, they’re averaging 150.8 on the ground, and the Panthers have done a good job of making old backs look young again.
The Panthers will also miss right guard Geoff Hangartner, who will be replaced by Garry Williams.