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August 30, 2013

Panthers' roster projection: Clausen cut

It's decision day at Bank of America Stadium.

Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman is meeting with the coaching staff and personnel department Friday to finalize the 53-man roster by Saturday's deadline.

Injuries have made those decisions easier at some positions and muddled the situation at others.

While wide receivers Domenik Hixon, Armanti Edwards and David Gettis missed time with hamstring injuries during the preseason, their roster spots were seemingly assured when Kealoha Pilares (knee) and Joe Adams (calf) went to injured reserve.

Former Panther Travelle Wharton was signed last week to help the offensive line, which has seen its depth depleted by nagging injuries to Amini Silatolu and Jeff Byers, and the knee and hamstring issues that sent rookie Edmund Kugbila to IR.

Gettleman's work is just beginning. The longtime personnel director for the Giants will try to find treasure on other teams' cut lists and bring in a free agent or two.

The Observer projects how the Panthers will get from 75 to 53 players. (Changes from last week's projection noted in bold.)

Quarterbacks (2)

On the roster: Cam Newton, Derek Anderson

Off: Jimmy Clausen

Ron Rivera pointed out that Clausen had to play behind an offensive line made up of a lot of third-teamers (and soon-to-be-cut players) in the second half against Pittsburgh. Still, Clausen didn't help himself: He fumbled out of bounds, tripped on a handoff and failed to lead a touchdown drive.

Running backs (5)

On: DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart (PUP list), Mike Tolbert, Richie Brockel, Kenjon Barner, Armond Smith

Off: Tauren Poole

Injured reserve: Mike Zordich

The Panthers need an extra back until Stewart comes off the PUP list. Smith is the faster of the two young backs, but too often goes down on first contact. Poole is a tough runner, but doesn't have as much special teams value as Smith.

Receivers (6)

On: Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr., Armanti Edwards, David Gettis, Domenik Hixon

Off: Taulib Ikharo, Brenton Bersin, James Shaw

IR: Joe Adams, Kealoha Pilares, R.J. Webb

As soon as one receiver gets healthy, another one tweaks his hamstring. That was the case again Thursday when Hixon caught three passes in his first exhibition action, but Gettis was held out after his hamstring grabbed during pre-game warmups.

Tight ends (3)

On: Greg Olsen, Ben Hartsock, Brandon Williams

Off: Dominique Curry, Zack Pianalto

Hartsock was in a cast this week for his plantar fasciitis, but is optimistic he'll be ready for Seattle in Week 1. Williams might be the surprise of the preseason.

Offensive linemen (9)

On: T Jordan Gross, T Byron Bell, G Garry Williams, G Amini Silatolu, C Ryan Kalil, G/C Jeff Byers, G Travelle Wharton, G Chris Scott, T Nate Chandler

Off: Garrett Chisolm, Tori Mobley, Brian Folkerts, Patrick Brown, Hayworth Hicks

IR: Edmund Kugbila, Bruce Campbell

Silatolu will have his hamstring re-evaluated Monday, but could miss the opener. The recent injuries have put a premium on swing players who can line up at two spots, although one of those utility players -- Byers -- is among the injured.

Defensive linemen (9)

On: DE Charles Johnson, DE Greg Hardy, DT Dwan Edwards, DT Star Lotulelei, DT Kawann Short, DE Frank Alexander, DE Mario Addison, DT Colin Cole, DT Sione Fua

Off: Casey Walker, Craig Roh, Wes Horton

IR: Frank Kearse, Linden Gaydosh

Alexander and Addison looked good in pass rush against the Steelers' second-team offensive line. Addison added to his value by making a tremendous play in punt coverage and forcing a safety.

Linebackers (7)

On: Jon Beason, Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, Chase Blackburn, A.J. Klein, Jordan Senn, Jason Williams

Off: Doug Hogue, Ben Jacobs

The last linebacker spot appears to be between Hogue and Williams, both of whom have ample special teams experience. The Panthers could look to keep Jacobs on the practice squad.

Defensive backs (9)

On: CB Captain Munnerlyn, CB Drayton Florence, S Charles Godfrey, S Mike Mitchell, CB Josh Thomas, CB Josh Norman, CB D.J. Moore, S Haruki Nakamura, S Colin Jones

Off: D.J. Campbell, James Dockery (injured), Melvin White, Robert Lester, Anderson Russell

Jones' roster spot was already assured because of his speed and open-field tackling skills on special teams. His two interceptions of Pittsburgh's Landry Jones only helped his cause.

Specialists (3)

On: K Graham Gano, P Brad Nortman, LS J.J. Jansen

Off: None.

Gano was 8-for-8 on field goals in the exhibitions, including two of 50 yards or longer. Nortman also had a strong preseason, averaging 49.1 yards on 16 punts.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on August 30, 2013 at 11:58 AM | Permalink


Is Webb an upgrade over Bell? Yes, says I. We need a RT so bad. I think this is accurate, but Nakamura should be cut, no speed to play ST.

Posted by: Steven | Aug 30, 2013 12:23:30 PM

I would like to keep poole, Roh, and Horton. Wish I could have saw more from Bersin, Lester, and White. I don't see the production from Fua, Cole, and Nakamura is still suspect to me IMO. Other than that I agree with the cuts.

Posted by: Taurus | Aug 30, 2013 12:49:42 PM

Clawson has been horrible since he got here...last night was one of his better efforts and and was still vey bad...I do like Horton, bet he makes it over fua

Posted by: Bull123 | Aug 30, 2013 1:16:18 PM

after last night, they may want to start anderson

Posted by: big gulps | Aug 30, 2013 1:58:44 PM

would hate to see d.j. campbell get cut....he looked deserving not only of a roster spot, but the starting spot given how many bone head plays mitchell makes. dude is a walking 15 yard penalty. moving godfrey to FS definitely didn't help his cause.

ginn is looking great thus far.....he does 2 things well: deep routes and kick returns. nothing else, but that alone has value at the level he's doing it. borderline the definition of IDEAL 4th/5th receiver.

hard to make any kind of argument FOR clausen, but he has looked A LOT better this year than he has in the past. He isn't far off from a solid career backup josh mccown style. used to be that he had absolutely no business in the league at all, i don't feel that strongly anymore.

Posted by: charlottean | Aug 30, 2013 2:00:20 PM

JIMMY!!! He tried but seeing his reps against pit was just embarrassing. Cut please!

Posted by: Panther Fan | Aug 30, 2013 2:29:40 PM

BTW... Michael Procton is ret@rded

Posted by: Steven | Aug 30, 2013 2:37:53 PM

Hartsock to IR! Plantar takes 6 months to heal! If Jake Ballard passes physical he will be signed!

Posted by: joe cool | Aug 30, 2013 4:35:39 PM

Clausen could start in Buffalo or be a good backup for the NYJ ;) It feels good to be totally set at an important position and be squabbling about the backup doesn't it? Lets hope CN stays healthy behind a below average O-Line though because frankly Derek Anderson is a stiff and the season is lost if he has to play.

Posted by: Ray | Aug 31, 2013 1:32:57 AM

below average line? with an all-pro center, multi pro bowl left tackle, solid guards (assuming health of silatolu and wharton) and bell is at the least CAPABLE.

depth is where we're below average.

Posted by: charlottean | Aug 31, 2013 2:13:54 PM

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