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October 31, 2011

Linebacker issues continue to plague Panthers

The Carolina Panthers' linebacker situation, a troubled spot through the first half of the season, isn't getting any better.

Both Thomas Williams and Jason Phillips suffered injuries Sunday against Minnesota that could keep them out of action for an extended period of time, head coach Ron Rivera said Monday.

Williams is dealing with a neck injury and Phillips has a calf injury. It was unclear, Rivera said, how long each player could be sidelined.

"It's a rough spot for us now," Rivera said.

The good news, if there is any, is that Omar Gaither was in good shape after briefly leaving Sunday's game in his first action in nearly one month.

Having lost starters Jon Beason and Thomas Davis early in the season, the Panthers have been playing linebacker by committee at times. With Williams and Phillips out against the Vikings, the starting linebackers -- James Anderson, Dan Connor and Gaither -- were called on for some special teams action.

"A little bit of double duty for our guys. It's unfortunate because of injuries at certain positions. When you're down go eight guys and you use your eighth guy, it's tough," Rivera said.

With the benefit of a bye week, Rivera said the team will evaluate its options at linebacker. Any potential roster moves would be dictated by the status of Williams and Phillips. Rivera said he planned to meet with general manager Marty Hurney about potential moves at linebacker.

The Panthers have two linebackers on the practice squad -- sixth-round pick Lawrence Wilson and waiver claim Kion Wilson, who played for Rivera at San Diego.

"We'll have to take a look at (options). This is in the preliminary stages," Rivera said.

-- Ron Green Jr.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 31, 2011 at 02:28 PM | Permalink


I got an old couch in the garage! We can put it out on the field and hope someone will trip over it!

Posted by: joe cool | Oct 31, 2011 2:50:09 PM

What ever happened to Nic Harris? Why don't we re-sign him?

Posted by: anonymous | Oct 31, 2011 3:29:35 PM

is Dan Morgan available.....he could sleep in a compression chamber to help stave off the concussions......

Posted by: what | Oct 31, 2011 3:38:37 PM

Put Sir Pir or that big cheerleader that was down near the west end zone in at linebacker....surely they would be an improvement.

Posted by: Henry I. Milfman | Oct 31, 2011 3:39:53 PM

Stick Clausen in there at LB. That would at least be entertaining!

Posted by: PhatCat | Oct 31, 2011 3:47:01 PM

Screw it, switch to the 3-4, put Hardy and Applywhite @ OLB, Connor and Anderson in the middle. Problem solved. The D can't get much worse than it is.

Posted by: Mike | Oct 31, 2011 3:57:28 PM

Does Jordan Senn have the speed to cover on passing downs?

Posted by: Nosebleed Fan | Oct 31, 2011 3:57:51 PM

Dang, no luck at that spot. What is up?

Posted by: Edward | Oct 31, 2011 5:13:29 PM

Joe Cool...your couch is likely better in pass coverage than the current crop of linebackers....and certainly tackles as well as our secondary. Franchise the La-Z-Boy!

Posted by: Original Panther Dan | Oct 31, 2011 7:38:33 PM

Should have gotten Aaron Curry when you had the chance.

Posted by: Barry | Oct 31, 2011 7:40:05 PM

Mike at 3:57 has a good idea to go 3/4 like he says why not?

Posted by: Kelso | Oct 31, 2011 8:24:48 PM

Who was it that said we got all kinds of linebacker depth in the spring? Was it the some one that said we had a whole lot of Running Back depth in 2004?

Do me a favor, the next time one of the pundits says we have a lot of depth at a position will someone please slap them?

Posted by: Zon | Oct 31, 2011 10:06:36 PM

@Joe Cool and Original Panther: The couch has good straight ahead movement, but can't move laterally well enough to play against the pass. I think it should be in there for obvious run situations only. Same with Dan Connor.

Posted by: pantherd | Oct 31, 2011 10:12:53 PM

Kelso and Mike: I don't believe they could play a 3/4. They don't have enough DT's. To play 3/4 you need three legitimate big tackles including a nose tackle to form your line. Where would Charles Johnson play?- he doesn't have the bulk to play tackle but is too big to play outside LB. And it would be wasting his talents as a pass rusher up front.

Posted by: pantherd | Oct 31, 2011 10:23:04 PM

what we NEED is a NEW OWNER and General Manager. PLEASE someone buy our team who CARES about football and the fans.

Posted by: ASHAMED | Oct 31, 2011 10:32:56 PM

Rivera, suit up! Go in there and show the pansies how it's done! Go hit somebody!

Posted by: Mike Ditka | Oct 31, 2011 10:37:57 PM

3-4 anyone? Put in our DEs at outside LBs.

Posted by: djfoams | Oct 31, 2011 10:42:43 PM


So is your theory that JR set the Panthers up to have mass casualties at the LB position?

Posted by: djfoams | Oct 31, 2011 10:44:33 PM

Julian Peterson
Pisa Tiniosamoa
Tully Banta-Cain
Lofa Tatupu
Keith Bulluck
Eric Barton
-All available as free agents

Posted by: bigspur76 | Nov 1, 2011 12:01:43 AM

I say we sign the old couch!

Posted by: Chris G. | Nov 2, 2011 8:11:26 AM

Sign Quan Sturdivant from the Arizona Cardinals.

Posted by: Deacon | Nov 4, 2011 10:32:07 AM

I say they give Jordan Senn his shot, he played L.B. for the Colts two years ago. His rookie season he led the NFL in tackles in the preseason. He busts his butt on Special Teams, he had 6 taclkes for the Panthers last season against the Falcons and i do beleive he is the fastest L.B. they have, COME ON MAN give the kid his shot.

Posted by: Roger | Nov 4, 2011 10:50:07 AM

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