The secondary was the weakest part of the Panthers roster going into the season.
Now they’re without their best player, and scrambling for help.
According to Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer, it got so desperate during Sunday’s loss to Buffalo that they nearly had to move linebacker Thomas Davis to safety, which he hadn’t played since his rookie year (2005).
Free safety Charles Godfrey was lost for the season with a torn Achilles. Strong safety Quintin Mikell left with an ankle injury, and his status is uncertain, leaving them with Mike Mitchell, special teamer Colin Jones and converting cornerback D.J. Moore for the moment.
The situation is equally bad at cornerback, as starter Josh Thomas left the game with a concussion and backup Josh Norman’s now nursing a knee sprain.
If another corner had gone down in the game, they were going to have to use running back Armond Smith there. Until they make roster moves, they have undrafted rookie Melvin White along with James Dockery, who is coming off thumb surgery. Both were inactive against the Bills.
But the in-game shortage was so bad against the Bills they couldn’t even play nickel defense, using linebackers to cover slot receivers when the Bills went three-wide in the second half.
They’ll probably have to make roster moves for cover soon, but there may be no fixing a secondary that didn’t have much margin of error when everyone was well.