As the Panthers get their second straight crack at the league’s worst (statistical) defense, they’ll be without two key offensive parts.
Per Bill Voth of the team’s official website, the Panthers listed center Ryan Kalil, wide receiver Curtis Samuel, cornerback Daryl Worley, defensive end Daeshon Hall and linebacker Jeremy Cash as out for Sunday’s game against the Patriots.
Kalil’s been out since a neck issue cropped up just before the start of their Week Two game against the Bills. And the difference has been drastic. They allowed no sacks in the opener, and 10 in the two games since.
The second of those was against the Saints, who ranked last in the league in yards allowed before yielding that spot to New England this week.
Kalil’s role in communicating line calls may be as big a hurdle for them to overcome as the absence of tight end Greg Olsen, who will miss at least six more weeks with his broken foot. Samuel was drafted to add some vertical element to the offense after Ted Ginn left in free agency, though he’s yet to make a big impact yet.
The good news is that wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin isn’t listed on the report at all, after practicing fully. He left last week’s game with a left knee injury, but has bounced back quickly.