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October 25, 2011

Offensive line coming together

It didn't get a lot of attention following Sunday's win over Washington, but the Panthers didn't really miss a beat offensively without right tackle Jeff Otah.

Rookie Byron Bell gave up one of the four sacks of Cam Newton in the 33-20 victory. But otherwise the undraftred free agent from New Mexico was solid.

In fact, the overall line looks to be coming together -- no small feat considering the entire right side is different than when the Panthers started training camp.

Because the injuries happened so early in camp, it's easy to forget that Otah was the third lineman lost to a season-ending injury -- following Geoff Schwartz (hip) and Garry Williams (knee). Right guard Geoff Hangartner was signed after the Bills released him, and Bell has continued to improve after a head-turning camp.

Pairing Hangartner and Bell with three veterans (including two Pro Bowlers) in Jordan Gross, Travelle Wharton and Ryan Kalil, the Panthers feel good about their line.

"Losing those two guys (Schwartz and Williams) was a tough loss for us at the time," offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski said this week. "And Geoff and Byron have come in, and obviously with Jeff Otah being out, Byron has come in and played well. He has a lot of work to do but I think he's going to be a heck of a player."

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on October 25, 2011 at 05:11 PM | Permalink


How much, if any, would Otah count against the cap next year if cut? My apologies if he is a RFA.

Posted by: Sambo | Oct 26, 2011 9:44:09 AM

If Bell continues to improve over the balance of the season, I wouldn't miss Otah if he was released next year. How could I? He's been either inactive or on injured reserve more than he's played. He appears to be like Dan Morgan in that he's a talented football player who seems destined to be plagued by injuries.

Posted by: dbigcat | Oct 26, 2011 10:44:37 AM

people have to keep in mind that we are down 5 starters in edwards, davis, beason, otah, and schwartz. Everyteam is going to have injuries but to be down that many starters from the beginning is a huge detriment especially when you attach salary figures to those guys.

I can't find updated figures but going off of rough estimates of edwards and otah being a little over 2 million, schwartz being under a million, davis being 8 million and beason being over 10......that's got to be 25% of payroll or near it. and otah is the only one that played at all of that group. there's several other guys that missed a game or 2 but when you have 5 guys that rep 25% of your payroll that played a total of 1-2 games COMBINED....that's a huge detriment. we've done great to overcome that and you have to think we're looking great for next year. and i'm leaving david gettis out given his salary is probably the minimum.

i hope they bring back shockey, let otah go or resign him very very very cheap, resign davis cheap as a BACKUP and don't let him practice, ever. draft LB/CB/O-Line, we're looking like contenders. just by bringing back the exact same team, getting beason and gettis healthy we're looking great. we need to upgrade backup QB....david garrard and jason campbell should be great options.

Posted by: charlottean | Oct 26, 2011 12:09:34 PM

Shockey is a must, because he's brought a toughness to this team. The biggest question I have now is DT. At the end of the season Fua and McClain need to be evaluated. If they look like they're the future then draft corners and a new OT. If not, the DT situation will need to be addressed...again. (sigh)

Posted by: TP | Oct 26, 2011 12:27:54 PM

Come on, TP! This is how it goes:
1. Draft Defense early or a Outstanding RG (if Bell proves to be the future)

2. If Defense, gotta be the MOST pressing need, we won't know that until Davis and Beason are evaluated.

3. Need to address CB, DT for sure

4. RG and LG is a pressing need going forward

5. WR2 has got to be stabilized!

Posted by: DieHardCat | Oct 26, 2011 4:31:58 PM

Don't worry about being the beat writers or anything, but Otah was the FOURTH OL lost to injury. You left out 6th-round rookie Zach Williams, who would likely have gotten a shot at the RG position currently filled by Hangartner.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Oct 27, 2011 6:59:13 PM

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