Panthers don’t know who will play left tackle


Among the many questions and issues and transitions facing the Panthers in 2014, perhaps the most important situation comes from the fact that they have no one on the roster who has played left tackle in the NFL, given the retirement of Jordan Gross.

As a result, they still don’t know who’ll handle the fairly critical position that protects quarterback Cam Newton from getting hit by someone he may not see coming.

“We’ve not decided on a lot of positions yet,” coach Ron Rivera said, via the Associated Press. “The biggest thing we have right now is competition and guys working. . . .  We’ll see how we are once we get into training camp.”

The options are Byron Bell (pictured on the right) and converted defensive tackle Nate Chandler (pictured on the left).  They’ve been alternating on the left side and right side in OTA workouts.

Newton has opted for positive reinforcement of both players.

“Come game time, it’s no doubt in my mind that every single person will be ready to go,” Newton said.  “That is what OTAs and minicamp are designed for — to get these guys prepared, to get myself prepared.  When that ball is snapped I have full confidence in Nate Chandler and Byron Bell that they will get the job done.”

Of course, Newton isn’t spending much time actually preparing, because he’s recovering from ankle surgery.  And he refers to the joint as “Little Ankie.”  And he may eventually have to worry about “Little Hippie” and “Little Knee-Knee” and “Little Shouldie” and “Little Ribbies” and “Little Skullie” if Bell and Chandler aren’t capable of stepping up.

For more on the Panthers, here’s our own Darin Gantt, who covered the team for 14 years and who lives in Charlotte, appearing on Thursday’s edition of PFT Live.

29 responses to “Panthers don’t know who will play left tackle

  1. Is it me or the Panthers look so unprepared, at least on the offensive side. No LT, new wideouts, aging ineffective rb’s. That offense is going to be offensive.

  2. Left Tackles are expensive and we have NO CAP SPACE bed of Marty Hurney. Run Cam Run…

    Glad we have good Wide receivers though!!! LOL

  3. The minute Gross retired, I stated right here that he retired because of Dave Gettleman’s lack of ability to relate to people. Gross had already said he would play another year, which would have given the Panthers time to acquire his eventual replacement. I was shouted down, by people who said, “in Gettleman we trust”, even though they had no reason to trust him.

    In short order, 18 players off a 12-4 team where gone, without so much as a courtesy call from Gettleman to tell the players of his plans to let them go. I argued that any personnel person in any business, owes it to his employees to give them a “heads up”. He notified no one. Then he fired Steve Smith without a phone call.

    The cap issued may have forced some moves, but nothing forced him from treating his players with respect. As pointed out by Gantt, he has “people issues”and the team will suffer because of his inability to get along with people.

    If they liked Gettleman, some of those guys would play for less. After all, everybody took a pay cut last year because he asked them to. His thank you was to let them go this year.

  4. Playing a RT at LT and a ex DT at RT they really need some unknown guys to stand up or cams going to be in a lot of trouble with new receivers,oline and a aging backfield he gonna have to carry that offense.

  5. I think I’ll go to my first Panthers’ training camp this year. … Just to see who’s playing left tackle.

  6. This team had holes on it last year and were able to mask them pretty effectively. Off-season isn’t over yet; let the GM do his job and we’ll see what they put on the field in the next couple of months.

  7. Whomever is playing left tackle for the Panthers will still be a better quarterback than the Vikings have!

  8. IMO, this is the second my important position on the roster, who is going to protect your Franchise QB, the Panthers HAVE to fix this. This does not need to be and “experiment” going into the season. My guess is they pick up a serviceable LT who’s been cut during training camp.

  9. Did their GM go AWOL this off season?
    Get rid of the entire receiving corps, no Left tackle?
    They better hope the backup Quarterback is as big as a lineman too.

  10. .
    Some of the Panthers off season moves have been perplexing. However, Gettleman has a good resume. Maybe he has a long term plan not visible to the casual fan?


  11. saints defense will log 10 sacks on cam newton this season. expect multiple defensive players in the backfield vs. carolina this season. its really simple actually, send the bulk of your blitz pressure through this gaping hole in carolinas line and watch them crumble into a high school team.

  12. “Little Ankie”? “Little Ankie”?

    What kind of man calls his ankle is “Little Ankie”?

    Every time I think Newton’s starting to show the tiniest bit of maturity, he proves me wrong. Geesh.

  13. If there was ever a team who should have mortgaged a draft to move UP in Rd 1 to get a left tackle….this was the team that should have done it.

    They could have patch-worked a bunch of old WR’s for a year to get by…can’t get by with no O-line and especially left tackle. Ask Miami!!!

  14. All you armchair GM’s and football analysts crack me up. Has it occurred to you people that maybe you dont’ know everything about the game or what goes on within a franchise? We havn’t even gotten to see the finished product in action yet. Calm down people.

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