The Panthers appear to have settled their most pressing preseason competition, and head coach Ron Rivera might have picked up a little French this summer.
According to Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review, Byron Bell has distanced himself from the competition, and made the left tackle job his own.
“He’s done such a good job. I’m going to say it; it’s a fait accompli,” Rivera said. “He and I will sit down and have a conversation about it. I’m going to sit down and talk with the coaches and make sure we’re all set, confident and comfortable.”
Comfortable might be a relative term, since that position was manned by the rock steady Jordan Gross for the last decade. But as shaky as Bell looked on the right (where he started the last three years), he seems more comfortable himself on the left.
“He’s done some things on the left side that he didn’t do on the right side that have been impressive,” Rivera said. “But the biggest thing we keep forgetting is, he’s a natural left-hander.
“His punch is a lot better, and his first step is a little bit better. Again that’s because he’s working off his left side. Having seen that, I have confidence that he can do the job for us.”
Now all the Panthers have to do is find a right tackle. They began looking at converted defensive tackle Nate Chandler there, but he’s struggled with a knee problem and has looked mostly like a guard in his time there. They subbed in always injured Garry Williams there last week, and Williams might end up winning that job if Chandler can’t get well and improve.